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Cell Phones at Summer Camp

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Good gosh , KF5WT don't you think your post was a little over the top?

why does 251 need to explain anything to you???


A troop is not going to be 'in trouble' for telling scouts 'no' and if the adults are prepared, what is the point of 45 cell phones?? we don't take along 45 comprehensive first aid kits????


OGE and others-(me included) don't like long lists of "DON'TS" but be real have you attended BSA training...half of it seems to be what we can't do... and as for telling someones son what he can and can't take..why not? It's most camps' policy and we say don't frequently...no food in tents, no candles in tents, no sheath knives, no kitchen sinks...


First, Our Troop also discourages cell phones...and Games (we allow CD players on long rides but they go in the packs when we hit camp...(and if a boy listens at night with his 'ears' on, no fuss is in order). We generally have 5 to six adults on each activity and our SPL and ASPL carry phones...for 'official' business...


Electronic games and entertainment HAVE NO PLACE at summer camp nor on any outdoors scouting event...as to the boys being able to wisely use their 'toys' or the fallacy that an exciting program will trump a gameboy...it is just not true for many many young lads...(its a maturity thing) those games and players etc. seem to feed a 'reinforcement loop' in these guy's brains and tend to trump any new skill that requires work and/or supplies anything less than immediate gratification. My youngest would rather play videos than breathe (or eat)...the only trump card for him is fishing...


In our family, I have a house rule that when I am on a Scouting trip and he does not want to attend...it is his choice after all, he is limited to two hours of TV and or Video per day (this is 'Mom enforced' and she is a teacher who hates electronics)...he generally 'tags along' rather than be trapped at home with Mom and without his video 'fix'.


Scouting is about outdoors adventure and leadership and character building...there is nothing being 'built' by "grand theft-auto"...nor is leadership being taught by HALO 2 there is no adventure in calling home to be tucked in...or more the case with older scouts to whisper sweet nothings in her ear....



homesickness...my observations: the scouts cell phone feeds home sickness not 'helps' it and that is a two way street...Moms and Dads can get the 'fever' (as can girl friends). In our troop We would rather the Adults or the (SPL and the adults)handle the 'cutting the cord' (no pun intended) issues face to face with the scout....ever wonder about why so many stories circulate about the pay phones at camp being broke???


and PS we don't inspect packs either, after all a scout is trustworthy and obedient right?



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In response to KF5WT's question, all of our leaders have a cell phone with them however, we have had many problems with kids using their cell phones to call home and then the parents come get them and then we dont know where they went because in one case the parents never told us. I mean, i know that the scouts bring them on campouts with them and i realize that they are needed for emerengcy situartions and i am ok with that we just dont want the kids chatting on their phones but as long as they are off and in their packs, i dont care if they have them... I hope that answers your quesitons...

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  • 3 weeks later...

First, we aren't talking about video games, action figures, toys, etc. These aren't in the same league with BSA-recommended safety and emergency preparedness devices, which Naional specifically says a cell phone is. And note that the Field Guide is written to SCOUTS, not to LEADERS ONLY.


If there are procedural issues, such as homesick boys leaving camp without notice, or heartsick Scouts calling their girlfriends at all hours of the morning, these can be solved with rules and procedures. A total possession ban is out of the question.


You can't ban tiolet tissue because a couple of boys TP'd the Scoutmaster's tent.


You can't ban antibacterial soap because a couple of 12-year-olds can't behave themselves at the sink.


You can't ban sunscreen because one boy smeared it all over his bunkmate in the middle of the night.


If we don't agree with something that comes down from National, there is a procedure for redress. We can get parents and volunteers to write letters and take their objections to committees. We can't just take it upon ourselves to UN-EQUIP our boys contraty to National recommendations.



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you and my eldest son debate in the same fashion quoting text (or mis- quoting)without including discriptive adjectives, adverbs, etc. or context that may undermine your position...specifically the fieldbook page 78...


so lets haul that old dawg out and shoot it.


There is no list on that page, it is a general section on having a trek Emergency Responce Plan...and (forgive me for the length) it says... "wireless telephones CAN be a convenient means for groups to contact emergency responce personnel, but phones are useless if they malfunction, the batteries are exhausted or distance and terrain prevent clear reception of signals."

"Frivolous use of wireless phones can seriously diminish solitude, INDEPENDENCE, and challenge in the outdoors. IF you carry a portable telephone, STOW IT DEEP in your pack and bring it out ONLY for EMERGENCY CALLS."


I would point out that the words CAN and IF are not WILL and MUST

so much for NATIONAL recommendations...everyboy needs a cell phone like we need boom boxes installed on top of every pack!(hey, someone call Kelty ...I have an idea for them!)


Cells phones are like unit first aid kits ...not every boy needs a battlefield surgical unit stowed in his pack.

If the unit has a few phones going along, personal phones are just not called for particularly for summer camp.


National does NOT say they should carry a phone just that it can be a tool. Rather it recommends not counting on the cell phone for emergencies...and planning accordingly.

So rather than making a bunch of phone 'use' rules...leaders can "just say no!"


Think I've sent enough rounds down the tube for today....

(This message has been edited by anarchist)

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Anarchist- Im behind yu on this. Cell Phones, Game Boys and other electronics have no place at summer camp off the bus. (Well, ok, we let our guys listen to their CD walkmans after lights out) especially backpacking trips.


Like, as it seems, everyone else, we had a case of homesickness calling home on Cell Phones, and had to remove all cell phones from the troop. Cell phones now are no longer aloud on any trips. The SPL or his staff sees one, he takes it away and gives it back to mom and dad when we return.

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While most of us dislike cell phones (thank god where we camp they are useless) you cannot confiscate them. That according to the law is theft, even if you give it back. At the most the legal and proper thing to do is to instruct them to put it away and not use it. If a parent gives one to his child, taking it away is theft, plain and simple.

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I can't believe that a troop would actually confiscate something like a cell phone. Its not that big of a deal. Who gives you the right to decide if/when a scout calls home or his girldfriend. Are you telling me that you don't have any adults in the troop who call home to speak to their wives from time to time? If i was in a troop and they even tried to take my phone, I wouldnt allow it. Although I think that if this is a troop rule and i dont agree to follow it I would have to find a new troop. Just because your old and didnt have cell phones "back in the day" doesnt mean that you have to be completely against change. Times have changed, get over it.



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first back to the original post-

it was about phones at summer camp- many (most) summer camps say to scouts "leave phones at home" -so "A scout is obedient" sould apply here.


Second on all Treks, the Trek leader is the final arbitter (sp) if he says, "no scout phones" -again "a Scout is obedient" and "Trustworthy".


then as to 'confiscate' being theft sorry that is not true nor correct. In that the the SM or ASM is acting within the bounds of "Locus Parentus" sort of 'local parents'; when Mom and Dad are not around its hard to make a case of 'acting mom'(ie scount master) 'stealing' from junior...


finally, gosh, most scouts and families read troop poilicies (or should) before signing up. If you do not like the policy you can or should just go elsewhere. To decide that you are going to break or ignor the unit's policy 'cause you don't agree with it... is not trustworthy, loyal, obedient, nor brave. Want junior to call home give him a phone card.

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nld & CPS, Read Anarchist's post. He summarized it well.


nld - If a scout brings something against the rules (switchblade, offensive material, cigarettes, etc.), do you think the SM doesn't have the right to confiscate it? He most certainly does. While those items are more serious, we are talking about things that are against the rules. If a troop or summer camp rules cell phones as prohibited, then that is the rules. Live by it, or go somewhere else.


CPS - Stow the attitude son. You sound quite disrespectful to those that have been around for a few years longer than you.

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A few points:


First, we aren't talking about toys, action figures, porn magazines, or illegal switchboade knives. We are only talking about bona fide, BSA recommended emergency preparedness tools--the things National says the well prepared Scout SHOULD have, not items that National says he SHOULD NOT have.


Second, Let's assume you go against BSA preparedness recommendations and ban individual Scouts from possessing cell phones, and you seize one from a Scout. Is it theft? Very likely, because you don't have the authority to take what BSA says the well prepared Scout should have, be it the cell phone, whistle, first aid kit, signal mirror, or whatever.


This action would go against YOUR bosses (National) and the Scout's bosses (his parents) who are ultimately repsonsible for his upbringing and who chose to equip him with one additional emergency preparedness tool.


Also, if you take possession of something that isn't yours, you are then financially liafle for it because it's in your custody. If the phone is stolen or lost, or if the finder runs up $1000 worth of calls to Nigeria, you are liable because you wrongfully took it from its legitimate owner in the first place, and then you didn't exercise care to protect it.


Now if you seize something that BSA prohibits, that's another matter.


Third, note that the Field Manual shows a picture of a SCOUT using a cell phone--not the adult leader. These are recommendations for individual Scouts, not just leaders.


Fourth, consider what will happen if you ban cell phones and something goes wrong, such as a Scout getting lost? Since you went against National and sent your boys out LESS PREPARED that they should have been, do you think we will be sued? Absolutely, and we will lose.


A lawyer would hold up that page from the Field Manual, and pages from other BSA books where cell phones are mentioned as preparedness tools, and our case would be sunk.


Worse yet, there is such a thing as "criminally negligent homicide" which means that your wrongful or negligent actions resulted in somebody's death. And THAT carries prison time.


(By the way, I have seen the subject covered in several other BSA publicaions, most notably the backpacking manuals. Just look up "cell phones" in the index.)


I might remind everyone of the Scout who vanished in Utah during the fall of 2004. As far as I know, his body has never been found. With a cell phone it's possible that the boy could have summoned help. Fortunately, most modern cell phones contain imbedded GPS receivers which report the caller's lat/long to 911 operators.


It is important to educate boys on the proper use of cell phones, just like they should be familiar with their other tools. If they are in a weak signal area, they must get up higher, even if they have to climb a tree. And of course, phones should remain off until needed to avoid wasting battery power.


To sum it all up, the key is to educate boys on the proper use of cell phones and other technologies (like the GPS and PLT). Misuse of any tools makes them less useful during a real emergency. Banning them entirely can be dangerous or deadly, and get us sued for sure, and possibly arrested. It's absolutely out of the question.



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again partial 'factoids and mis-quotes' as well as fear tactics and histrionocs...


the observations are there (here?) Check them out, and make your own decision...We make (made) ours...


still, I have not heard from Kelty...and I already used my son's CD player and back pack for a proto type...now where is his cell phone?????

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OUr rule is that the only thing a scout may bring to camp that requires a battery is a flashlight.

Since cell phones require batteries they are on the banned list. There are at least 2 cell phones at camp with adults. If something happens then parents can reach one of us. Kids simply don't need phones at camp. To much other stuff going on.

If a scout does bring one any way an adult takes it and keeps it until we return home from camp at that point it is returned to the parent and they are told that it does not come back to camp.



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