Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Chippewa29

Cell Phone at Summer Camp

Recommended Posts

This topic caught my attention. After the new youth protection video showing cell phone camera abuse, I pretty much assumed that cell phones were out. Our council camps have had a long history of banning personal electronics so I didn't worry about developing a troop policy. So just today I reviewed the leader guides for this year. There is no cell phone rule. Only one camp retained the music machine ban. Cameras have always been OK.

 

Now I have to rethink my policy. Two things are at odds. As a parent I was very upset when our local Junior High school refused to allow students access to any phone. The logic went something like this. The office phone is for us so students can't use it. We turn the pay phone off in the first 2 months of school every year after 2 idiots call 911 for no reason. So as a parent, I think kids should have access to communication with their parents. As a Scout Master, I don't want parents calling every day, homesickness is only half the story. Last year I had 3 kids who were so home sick on Friday afternoon that they just had to call home. Arrangements were made. 3 sets of parents showed up and three kids went home. To this day I believe that the whole point of that exercise was to get out of helping take down camp. Officially I can't say that. I have planed two changes this year to prevent a replay. First tent inspections will be double checked by an adult. Second we will be under the stars Friday night, with most of the packing done.

 

This years camp has great cell coverage. I like the idea of using the Scoutmasters phone as the contact. Things get broken at camp, I'll probably use that as the basis of my strong recommendation against phones and electronics.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
This topic caught my attention. After the new youth protection video showing cell phone camera abuse, I pretty much assumed that cell phones were out. Our council camps have had a long history of banning personal electronics so I didn't worry about developing a troop policy. So just today I reviewed the leader guides for this year. There is no cell phone rule. Only one camp retained the music machine ban. Cameras have always been OK.

 

Now I have to rethink my policy. Two things are at odds. As a parent I was very upset when our local Junior High school refused to allow students access to any phone. The logic went something like this. The office phone is for us so students can't use it. We turn the pay phone off in the first 2 months of school every year after 2 idiots call 911 for no reason. So as a parent, I think kids should have access to communication with their parents. As a Scout Master, I don't want parents calling every day, homesickness is only half the story. Last year I had 3 kids who were so home sick on Friday afternoon that they just had to call home. Arrangements were made. 3 sets of parents showed up and three kids went home. To this day I believe that the whole point of that exercise was to get out of helping take down camp. Officially I can't say that. I have planed two changes this year to prevent a replay. First tent inspections will be double checked by an adult. Second we will be under the stars Friday night, with most of the packing done.

 

This years camp has great cell coverage. I like the idea of using the Scoutmasters phone as the contact. Things get broken at camp, I'll probably use that as the basis of my strong recommendation against phones and electronics.

Why the heck can't you say anything, officially or otherwise. That would have been the first dang I said, and told the parents they needed to be back Saturday morning to help pack out.

 

Similar situation a couple years ago. One Scout had an annual family vacation for which he had to leave at lunch Friday. Arrangements had been made months in advance. His buddies figured this out and four of them -- the max which would fit in the car -- called home for permission to leave early. They were really upset when I told them the only way they could leave would be for a parent to personally sign them out. "But you can call my mom and she'll give you permission over the phone!" Yep, I can ---- but I won't. "WHY NOT??" Because the only reason you're leaving is to get out of helping pack up tomorrow morning. That was the end of the conversation.

 

And by the way, "I'll help clean up early and do my share before I leave" is baloney. It never works.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
This topic caught my attention. After the new youth protection video showing cell phone camera abuse, I pretty much assumed that cell phones were out. Our council camps have had a long history of banning personal electronics so I didn't worry about developing a troop policy. So just today I reviewed the leader guides for this year. There is no cell phone rule. Only one camp retained the music machine ban. Cameras have always been OK.

 

Now I have to rethink my policy. Two things are at odds. As a parent I was very upset when our local Junior High school refused to allow students access to any phone. The logic went something like this. The office phone is for us so students can't use it. We turn the pay phone off in the first 2 months of school every year after 2 idiots call 911 for no reason. So as a parent, I think kids should have access to communication with their parents. As a Scout Master, I don't want parents calling every day, homesickness is only half the story. Last year I had 3 kids who were so home sick on Friday afternoon that they just had to call home. Arrangements were made. 3 sets of parents showed up and three kids went home. To this day I believe that the whole point of that exercise was to get out of helping take down camp. Officially I can't say that. I have planed two changes this year to prevent a replay. First tent inspections will be double checked by an adult. Second we will be under the stars Friday night, with most of the packing done.

 

This years camp has great cell coverage. I like the idea of using the Scoutmasters phone as the contact. Things get broken at camp, I'll probably use that as the basis of my strong recommendation against phones and electronics.

Twocub,

 

Seems like that would be a ding to scout spirit. This will be my first year at scout camp, how hard is it to pack up? I can't imagine it is all that different than a two day. Unless they make you haul all your gear 500 yards, I have heard of those boot camps.

 

The camp we are going to this year has a camper release form. Unless that form is signed by a parent a parent or ambulance is the only way they get to leave. :).

 

I am not going to inform them of the ambulance option. They just get a bright idea. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
This topic caught my attention. After the new youth protection video showing cell phone camera abuse, I pretty much assumed that cell phones were out. Our council camps have had a long history of banning personal electronics so I didn't worry about developing a troop policy. So just today I reviewed the leader guides for this year. There is no cell phone rule. Only one camp retained the music machine ban. Cameras have always been OK.

 

Now I have to rethink my policy. Two things are at odds. As a parent I was very upset when our local Junior High school refused to allow students access to any phone. The logic went something like this. The office phone is for us so students can't use it. We turn the pay phone off in the first 2 months of school every year after 2 idiots call 911 for no reason. So as a parent, I think kids should have access to communication with their parents. As a Scout Master, I don't want parents calling every day, homesickness is only half the story. Last year I had 3 kids who were so home sick on Friday afternoon that they just had to call home. Arrangements were made. 3 sets of parents showed up and three kids went home. To this day I believe that the whole point of that exercise was to get out of helping take down camp. Officially I can't say that. I have planed two changes this year to prevent a replay. First tent inspections will be double checked by an adult. Second we will be under the stars Friday night, with most of the packing done.

 

This years camp has great cell coverage. I like the idea of using the Scoutmasters phone as the contact. Things get broken at camp, I'll probably use that as the basis of my strong recommendation against phones and electronics.

I wanted to add some follow up. The last night under the stars was a limited success. The boys who slept out enjoyed it. But the tent was not cleaned and down on Friday. So we really didn't have any time savings. The more I think of it Friday is full of fun stuff to do and If they will go participate in it that is the better course. I was at another event where scouts were ordered to sleep without tents. They did not have pads or tarps . It was a bad decision on the part of the semi adult who decided. So if you want to try it plan for it. As to home sickness and wanting to leave early we had no trouble.

 

TAM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

this is very true, many kids in TORRANCE rough it, and go it alone. what this does, according to many professionals here in TORRANCE, it builds character and toughness. which is why many of our children go to these campsites with an an open mind, and leave with a sense of accomplishment and a feeling of independence. our children in TORRANCE succeed in the classroom, because they believe they can achieve anything. hopefully those parents of other kids in other cities can learn the same thing we learn here in TORRANCE.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just wanted to add a couple of bad experiences to having cell phones at camp....

 

1. A girl scout (age 14) once got a call from her mother on a weekend camp, on the Saturday night, completely hysterical and rather drunk, saying that her Grandad had been rushed to hospital and she needed her home to 'help her cope'. This resulted in the girl in question also being completely hysterical, packing her stuff and being driven home by one of the scout leaders (a good 2 hour's drive away) to find, once home that her mother had stopped being hysterical, was more drunk that she was before, and the girl having to deal with the Grandad situation herself (as it turns out was ok in the end), as her mother was useless - so having to deal with/look after her mother.

Surely in this situation, the girl would've been better at camp, enjoying herself and finding out what had happened when she got back the next day?

 

 

2. A boy scout (about 13) texted his girlfriend so much while he was on camp, that he ran up a massive bill (of which led him to having his phone confiscated by his parents) but of which was blamed on the scout leaders for 'letting him' text his girlfriend so much.... the problem was he usually did this out of the sight of leaders, so we weren't aware of this problem.

 

3. One boy scout (age 12) broke his v.expensive IPHONE on camp (by dropping it in the river) - Scout leaders got blamed by parents and were asked to use scout funds to replace it! (thankfully, eventually after a leader/parent chat the parents finally admitted they shouldn't have let him take it on camp - well DOH!)

 

So, due to the instances that happened (all within 2-3 years) we ban mobiles from camp - unless with parental permission slip - signed - that any damage is not our responsibility. and on camp we ask that all boys hand their phones in (we have to trust that they do this) and keep in a lock box (then given out on a limited basis - say 1 hour a day before bedtime) - hopefully most problems are then solved.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Gill -- don't know what to say about #1. The cell phone is the least of the issues in that story.

 

#2 and #3 are covered by our troop's appropriate use policy and training. I'd have a difficult time not laughing in the face of parents in #2. No, check that, I would make a point to laugh in the face of parent's #2.

 

For #3 our policy specifically states that the troop is not responsible for loss or damage to any personal electronics for any reason, including instances where the device was confiscated by troop leaders and the loss or damage occurs while it was in our possession. Think that sounds harsh? Leave your phone at home or stay home with it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Many things have been said, but not much time has been spent on three essential items: 1. Scouts go to week long camps to become independent, and have association with non-parent adult role models. 2. Scouting at it's best takes place in wilderness settings to remove the distractions of every day life. 3. When all the gadgets and gizmo's are turned off youth hear and see the real world around them. Not to get overly spiritual, but God has spoke to me many times, and in many ways, none of them involved a cell phone...

 

On this past weekend's camp out a fellow leader, busy texting and checking weather on his phone, asked me where my phone was. I replied" "in my jeep, back where we entered the property". In shock he asked if I thought my phone was dead. My response: "I certainly hope so" ... he put away his phone :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We had a policy of leave the electronics in the vehicle in the Troop at one time. We gave up on that about two years ago. Haven't had any major problems, just a few minor irritations (mainly Scouts calling home to complain). If the scouts are involved in what we are doing, they don't want to look at the cell phone. A lot of our older scouts like to listen to music on their phones at night (using earbuds).

 

I've found that you can allay some of the parent's fears (if you have cell service) by posting pictures to the troop facebook page. It makes them realize the boys are having fun and are safe, which is the concern of most parents.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Gill -- don't know what to say about #1. The cell phone is the least of the issues in that story.

 

#2 and #3 are covered by our troop's appropriate use policy and training. I'd have a difficult time not laughing in the face of parents in #2. No, check that, I would make a point to laugh in the face of parent's #2.

 

For #3 our policy specifically states that the troop is not responsible for loss or damage to any personal electronics for any reason, including instances where the device was confiscated by troop leaders and the loss or damage occurs while it was in our possession. Think that sounds harsh? Leave your phone at home or stay home with it.

I like that. As IH I am going to discuss that with my COR. As a general rule we don't allow electronics outside the vehicles, but at the last cabin campout a few older scouts had them and they tried to tell us the SM was more lax on cabin campouts. SM was not there, just me and SM In Training.

 

I can't recall if it was this thread or another one but I was a bit surprised when Kudu came out in favor of allowing them even on the trail. Many of the trails around here are shared use with horses and mountain bikers. Even without earbuds they can sneak up on really fast.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Our Troop policy is no electronics, period. But this rule hardly gets enforced. On the monthly outings, there aren't usually electronics (phones, mp3 players, etc.), but if they are brought, they tend to stay in backpacks, pockets, or tents. At Summer Camp, this rule is neglected even more, most Scouts will bring their phones. But it hasn't been a problem while I've been in the Troop. I have been to Summer Camp three years in a row (2011-2013) and not once have I brought a phone. This year I will, but I'll be there for 5 weeks with a week of NYLT stuck in the middle, because I'll be serving on Staff.

Bottom line, it depends. Some Scouts can't handle a week alone (it's only a week, they should be fine...). I think first year scouts should not be allowed to have cell phones in order to avoid/prevent or keep from worsening homesickness, from calling their parents during camp. But 2nd, 3rd, etc., year Scouts could bring a phone if they want.

In the end, it's the parents' decision.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Our Troop policy is no electronics, period. But this rule hardly gets enforced. On the monthly outings, there aren't usually electronics (phones, mp3 players, etc.), but if they are brought, they tend to stay in backpacks, pockets, or tents. At Summer Camp, this rule is neglected even more, most Scouts will bring their phones. But it hasn't been a problem while I've been in the Troop. I have been to Summer Camp three years in a row (2011-2013) and not once have I brought a phone. This year I will, but I'll be there for 5 weeks with a week of NYLT stuck in the middle, because I'll be serving on Staff.

Bottom line, it depends. Some Scouts can't handle a week alone (it's only a week, they should be fine...). I think first year scouts should not be allowed to have cell phones in order to avoid/prevent or keep from worsening homesickness, from calling their parents during camp. But 2nd, 3rd, etc., year Scouts could bring a phone if they want.

In the end, it's the parents' decision.

Yet your troop policy is making 'criminals' out of all these guys. Please see 18th Amendment.

 

What your troop is settling into is what our troop's "appropriate use" policy states. If everyone is comfortable with the behavior, the policy should change to meet the behavior.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My take is that phones should not be allowed at summer camp by the boys. Adult leaders, as has been said before, have other responsibilities that require them to be in contact with the world beyond the camp boundaries. My reasoning is pretty simple- we are attempting to make confident, mature men out of the Scouts in our care. We live in a time when helicopter parents and bulldozer parents are creating a generation of soft and relatively helpless kids. The more we can get them to stop relying on Mom or Dad to fix everything and make every decision for them, the better we can do our jobs. The by-product of that is that they will have a better appreciation of being unplugged from the grid sometimes. They will enjoy the natural world, and will hopefully strive to help save it so that their children can enjoy it too. So, a no cellphone policy is really us as leaders paying it forward.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Our Troop policy is no electronics, period. But this rule hardly gets enforced. On the monthly outings, there aren't usually electronics (phones, mp3 players, etc.), but if they are brought, they tend to stay in backpacks, pockets, or tents. At Summer Camp, this rule is neglected even more, most Scouts will bring their phones. But it hasn't been a problem while I've been in the Troop. I have been to Summer Camp three years in a row (2011-2013) and not once have I brought a phone. This year I will, but I'll be there for 5 weeks with a week of NYLT stuck in the middle, because I'll be serving on Staff.

Bottom line, it depends. Some Scouts can't handle a week alone (it's only a week, they should be fine...). I think first year scouts should not be allowed to have cell phones in order to avoid/prevent or keep from worsening homesickness, from calling their parents during camp. But 2nd, 3rd, etc., year Scouts could bring a phone if they want.

In the end, it's the parents' decision.

The policy is more like "all electronics are discouraged."

The Troop can talk all they want, but in the end, it's the parents' decision.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×