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PETAL_MS_SCOUTER

Cell Phones at Summer Camp

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"What's wrong with enjoying the surroundings, fishing or just relaxing in nature?"

 

Nothing at all Ed, nothing at all

 

Now thats my idea of camp, however, to expect a multitude of scouts almost 2 score years younger than I to have the same opinions on relaxation may be expecting a bit much.

 

Any device, electronic or mechanical, or whatever can either be a detriment or a boon, depends on its use. Don't interfere with my enjoyment and I won't interfere with yours, as long as its not illegal, immoral or fattening

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I think we need to get away from long lists of rules and restrictions it goes against the founding principles of the Scouting movement.

 

So the Scout Law was not framed as a list Of DON'T'S. Prohibition generally invites evasion since it challenges the- spirit inherent in every red-blooded boy (or man). The boy is not governed by DON'T, but is led on by DO. The Scout Law, therefore, was devised as a guide to his actions rather than as repressive of his faults. It merely states what is good form and expected of a Scout. - Baden Powell

 

I dont understand the need for some Scout Leaders to control the boys. That is far from the purposes of scouting. Scouting was started and is based around telling the boys what they can do and what they should do then provide opportunities to learn for themselves. What is the big deal if a boy brings a cell phone to camp? Whose business is it if he wants to talk to his family, Ill tell you whose, his and his familys business. I dont see that forbidding them from talking to their families are controlling the opportunities to do so helps a boy overcome homesickness,

 

We should help set goals for the boys as to what they should accomplish at camp, and then help them accomplish those goals. We should talk to them about the great opportunity to be in nature away from distractions. Give them other things to chose from other than video games and the like. If you want them to look at the stars instead of a Gameboy you need to show them why, teach them, and spark their interest. Not make arbitrary rules forbidding electronics that isnt in the Spirit of Scouting that I believe Baden-Powell started.

 

So lets follow the example of the father of the scouting movement lets not Govern by Dont let us lead by Do.

 

That is the Scouting I believe in.

 

JohnSned

 

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Well said John,

If I were a few (OK maybe a lot!!) Years younger I would want to sign up for the troop in which you serve.

Eamonn.

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A phone call is the last thing I want to engage in while camping (OK one of the last things, being consumed by a bear is a pretty big one too). Luckily, it isn't much of an issue, essentially no cell reception most of our destinations so the boys don't bother. Plus, as with the games and CD players, they mostly don't want to take the risk.

 

Fat Old Guy, aren't you concerned they may take root and sprout new ones?(This message has been edited by packsaddle)

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Eamonn,

 

Thank you for you post, those were very kind words. I was lucky to have a Scoutmaster that gave me a great example when I was a scout. I am just trying to follow in his footsteps.

 

He had the most cleaver ways of making us learn. He made his expectations clear, let us do our best (make our own decisions) then reviewed how we did, with his skillful way of asking questions he lead us to where he wanted us to be.

 

His methods were so subtle that I had no clue how much influence he had over me and how much I changed because of him until I became a leader and reflected by on my days as a scout, now it is clear what he was doing, back then I had no idea. I thought they were all my ideas, I thought I did it myself. I guess I did do it with his almost imperceptible guidance.

 

If kids are being significantly distracted by electronic gizmos I would first evaluate, do the boys understand the purpose of the activity and what are the expectations we have of them, what they should accomplish. Then I would evaluate the program, I think it is either not understood, not challenging, not fun, or not what they want to do.

 

If the games or gizmos are more interesting than the program it is not the gizmos fault. Taking the gizmo away wont make the program fun or interesting. My goal is to keep them sufficiently interested, motivated and occupied that they wont need a gizmo. I have no rule against electronic devices, if I see them I need to change my approach.

I am not saying let the boys do what they want but I think spending significant time playing games is pretty clear non-verbal communication.

 

My two cents,

 

JohnSned

 

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John,

While this is a little bit off topic. Something that you brought up in your last post does I think need to be drawn out and looked at.

As you may know I have been involved in Wood Badge Training for some little while.

In the old Boy Scout course a lot of time was spent on Reflections. It took me a little time to work out where this is in the new course. It is there and a big deal is made of the fact that Feed Back Is A Gift. The Scoutmaster and Assistant Scoutmaster Specific course does touch on reflections.

During the time I was a Scoutmaster (11 years.) I found reflections to be one of the most useful tools in my toolbox. The idea of some quite time where we reflected on an activity or something that had or maybe hadn't worked well gave everyone an insight on what had happened and how people were feeling.

I for one would stack the reflection process up against any list of bylaws or troop rules any-day of the week.

Eamonn.

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Eamonn,

 

You said "I for one would stack the reflection process up against any list of bylaws or troop rules any-day of the week."

 

I couldn't agree with you more!

 

I am going to be Course Director this fall I will make sure that reflection doesn't get overlooked.

 

Thanks,

 

JohnSned

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The 2004 BSA Field Book (page 78) lists a cell phone as a basic emergency preparedness tool. Ban them at your own peril and risk of lawsuit. You can't BAN a safety device that BSA RECOMMENDS and expect to be held harmless when some emergency comes up. The guide also warns that frivolous use of cell phones can exhaust battery power which might be needed in a real emregency.

 

(The Department of Homeland Security also lists a cell phone as a basic emergency preparedness tool.)

 

Better yet, the guide mentions on page 436 that FRS radios and the Amateur Radio Service should be utilized during emregency operations. I recommend the latter because Amateur Radio can get through when nothing else will.

 

James Alderman, KF5WT

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While I am not for banning things and think that a Scout can be trusted to use these devices at the right times, without having to have a 32 page document.

Cells Phones are handy but I hope that we still teach first aid and emergency preparedness as well as "Cell Phone 101"

Eamonn.

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In our no electronics policy it clearly states NO CELL PHONES, PAGERS or anything of the sort. Being as i am the spl, i do see the scouts using them and when i do, i go over take them and talk to whom ever is on the line ( usually parents) i tell them that the phone is in the scoutmasters posession till the trip home. The parents never make a fuss because they know the rules!

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Electronic items are a fact of life today. They are not, in and of themselves bad. Common sense, courtesy, and in some cases, laws, policies, rules, regulations, etc should apply in their use. I believe that as with all things, it is probably better to help coach those people who use them to do so appropriately.

 

The outright banning of these items is probably as out of place as banning any other personal items. There should be very good and mission related reasons for banning anything. (We already have the Scout Oath and Law). Confiscation of them from the user by Scouts and Scouters is probably not a very good idea in many cases either. First, the person confiscating the item assumes full responsibility for it. And confiscation could be considered harassment and even theft. The only time I have taken an item from a Scout was in the interest of safety when use of the item was inappropriate and actually created a safey hazard (It was a knife). After appropriate coaching and training, the knife was returned to the Scout.

 

Cell phones can be and are a great safety tool. I can think of no real purpose in outright banning them other than just to ban them. Better to establish guidelines for their use in Scouting rather than to ban them.

 

Years ago, we did not have camp stoves, lanterns, troop trailers, GPS devices, etc - but I have never seen them outright banned. Times are changing and we can either make those changes work, or work against them. About anything can be inappropriately used - knives, stoves, lanterns, even cell phones.

 

Better to create a trusting environment than one of rules upon rules upon rules that state what we don't trust our Scouts with.

 

 

 

 

 

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Wow. I am so glad that Idaho has lousy cell phone coverage :-) especially where the Summer Camps are located. In fact, the camp we went to last year didn't even have telephone service; the staff communicated via radios between each other and with county EMS.

 

I would let new scout parents know that these devices should be left at home. And if they get lost or ruined, that they will not be reimbursed by the troop for the loss, although they can get a "Gee that's too bad!" and a sympathetic hug.

 

jack messick

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I agree that a lost or ruined cell phone is not the responsibility of anyone other than the owner. -Much the same as a Scout sock.

If there is no coverage for cell phone use, that is a fact. I have informed the Scouts attending the Jamboree that there is no way of recharging their cell phones and they would do better to take a phone card. I am sure that some of them will take their phone and it more than lightly will work for a few days. The choice is theirs.

We have at our Council camp a pay phone, outside of one of the buildings. Scouts can use it without any interference from the camp staff. It has been there for a very long time.

Many Years ago when OJ and I went up for resident Cub Camp, the Cub Scout camp director informed all the Cub Scouts that the phone didn't work. The Cub Scouts went passed the phone several times a day. The phone worked just fine. A little Lad seen a Boy Scout on the phone. The word spread quickly. The word wasn't that the phoned worked. The word from the little Lads was that the Cub Camp Director told lies!!

Not the message I would want people to take home about me.

Eamonn.

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To Troop 251 Scout, PLEASE answer a question for us all. You said in your previous post:

 

"In our no-electronics policy it clearly states NO CELL PHONES, PAGERS or anything of the sort..."

 

Please explain to us all why you willfully violate the Field Book, which comes from our National level.

 

National says that cell phones are recommended part of every Scout's emergency risk management plan. But not only do you violate National, you force all those under you to do so as well.

 

And I hope your "anything of the sort" doesn't include GPS and Amateur Radio units because those two items are specifically recommened as well--the latter is even a MERIT BADGE.

 

There is a way to keep order and insure that the outdoor experience remains rugged and pristine, free from undue distractions. The manual specifically says that wirelsss phones should be used only during emergencies to preserve pattery life. That's the way it's supposed to be done. Then if an emregency arises, you have the means to summon help--by the book.

 

However, banning emergency preparedness tools which National recommends will not only get your unit in heap big trouble when an emergency arises, it will also get BSA sued--a suit which we will positively lose.

 

PLEASE explain to us why you are doing this.

 

 

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I suspect that these troops are like ours, every adult has their cell phone, so we've got plenty of options in case of emergency. The point is to get the kids to focus on the outdoors and get away from the games and distractions from home. Personally, I believe these devices actually create more homesickness for younger scouts. It reminds them of the "comforts" of home and what they are missing.

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