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Gameboys, Walkmans and the like

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We don't ban electronic devices, but I a share some of the concerns regarding their use on campouts. For the most part the kids use them during travel, which as far as I'm concerned is OK. The electronics sometimes will come out late in the evening or as posted earlier on days when there is really bad weather for long periods. So do the cards, cribbage and other games. I can't say the devices have been abused in out Troop.


When I drive I will listen to C & W, Folk or Classic Rock. We do have some scouts who have developed a taste for alternative country and blue grass who I'm happy to have ride with me and share CD's. On the ride back this weekend, we listened to Sunday Morning Country Oldies. Hank Williams, Patsy Cline, Earl Scruggs, Johnny Cash, Jim Reeves, Jerry Reed, great tunes.


There is one scout I constantly need to remind to turn down the volume on his personal CD player because he doesn't like the music we play in my vehicle. That's my son. He tends to listen to pre-adolescent rock, which I find difficult tolerate for long periods.


Speaking of British bands doing Country & Western. Ringo Starr did a version of "Act Naturally", an old country classic. Rod Stewart did a version of "What Made Milwaulkee Famous, Has Mad a Loser Out of Me", and Tom Jones I believe has done a couple, although don't know the titles.



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oh come on, I think you can give FOG a break...


It is not the adults job to give the youth something to do. While it is often a good idea to provide some ideas, it is up to the youth to act on them. That is one of the elements of being boy run.


As adult leaders or job is to set up the buffet, explain the options, maybe make a few suggestions, and then get out of the way and let the boys eat. We don't spoon feed them.


A couple of years ago I was asked to help organize and lead the planning process for the next years troop calendar. I talked some about things we had done in the past and let them make some choices about the general form of troops activities. When they decided they wanted to take a big summer road trip, I gave them a few suggestions that I had discussed with some of the other adult leaders (to determine what was possible that summer). The boys narrowed it down to two options and asked me to explain each one in greater detail. So I pulled the itteneraries from the last trip to each of those locations and gave them a detailed description of the activities for each trip. They chose to go to Canada. They nearly duplicated the trip I had taken a few years before. They made some changes based on what they liked to do. Other changes were needed for logistical purposes.


The adults gave them some suggestions and advice, the boys made the decision, then they youth and adults worked together to make it happen.



Another example from a different point of view...

At summer camp the SM brought along a nerf football, a couple of frisbees, and a giant rubber ball. During free time he would offer these to the Scouts. He didn't force anyone to go play frisbee golf, or kick ball. He just offered them the opportunity.


If your units outings consist of the adults telling the kids "we're going to the state park this weekend" and then when you get there the adults tell the kids "we are going on a hike", I don't think I would want to join that unit.


(No, I don't really think anyone here does that. I do think everyone has a tendancy to take an extreme interpretation of the comments of certain members of this forum.)


Oh, and what is so bad about a game of five card or blackjack? If there is no betting going on I don't really see the problem. Perhaps you would be more in favor of rummey, or bridge? Perhaps only skills based games are ok. So lets go play frisbee golf. Oh, but wait, there is an element of chance because the winds may change. I guess we can't do that either.


Sorry, I am having some fun at others expense, but I think I may have made a point.

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You'd be surprised at some of the commutes I've made. In '99 and '00, I commuted weekly from Oklahoma to Vermont to work on a project for 10 months. I had a 4 hour lay over each way in Chicago. So like I said, we won't be joining your troop.


But you dodged my question. Rather than ensuring your boys have created a planned program that keeps them busy having fun and learning, do they just pitch a tent and spend the weekend playing Gameboys and listening to music thru headphones?

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I'm still wondering about a SM "putting a stop to" use of gameboys, etc. Isn't that a decision for the boys who run the troop to make? Certainly the adults can provide all the good reasons the troop should decide to leave these devices at home, but isn't this for the PLC to decide?

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Being a music ed major that never taught in public school, I have all kinds of music. I don't mind listening to music the scouts bring, but I also like to throw other kinds of music at them. We've listened to R. Carlos' native flute, The Scottish Rogues' pipes and Blood, Sweat and Tears. If the scouts get annoying, there's always the best of Rush Limbaugh on Sunday evening!! PS. I'm holding off from ZZ's "Tube Snake Boogie"



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So, I was at this campout at Hawk Mountian Scout Reservation, it was winter and we were in a cabin next to the dining hall. At about 8:30pm the leaders noticed it was very quiet so we went to check on the boys. The were all huddled around a table listening to the musical group "Rhomstein" A german heavy metal band, and the three scouts who took German in school were trying to translate the songs. All the kids were paying attention and watching as bits and pieces of the songs were written down. One of the translators, a fairly new kid was radiant, the whole troop was listening to what he said and the other two were agreeing with him. Sometimes unlikley things make for a special moment.

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Good example OGE. But I would submit that is the exception & not the norm.


The reason we don't allow Gameboys, Walkmans & the like is we feel the guys can use these at home anytime they want. We want them to enjoy the outdoors.


Ed Mori

1 Peter 4:10

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I have been talking to some of the Scoutmasters in the District. It seems that about half do allow Gameboys on campouts and Summer camp. A little more then half allow Walkman.

I asked about playing cards at camp and most said that while they don't have a rule one way or the other on card games. Many have had problems with card games.

The big problem was that most of the games were played by the older Scouts who would play until the small hours of the morning and be over tired for the next day.

A few said that some of the card games got out of control and led to gambling and un-Scout like activities.

It really didn't do much for interaction as the card players were the older Scouts who did not allow the younger Scouts into the game.

Many of the Scoutmasters said that at summer camp they ended up having a hard time getting the older scouts out of the tent to do anything. The Scouts were too busy playing cards.

It would seem to me that Card Games can cause as many problems as a Gameboy or Walkman.

I don't think that there needs to be a rule about banning card games.


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not allowed to bring on any camp out-- the boys know this an so does the parants-- if found at camp we take it away and they get it back when mom or dad picks them up once we get back-- I guess the scouts thinks it's kind of a game to see if they get caught

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As long as no one else can hear them except for the user I have no problem. I do not want electronic devices to interfere with my enjoyment of the outdoors or from others enjoying the outdoors. but if a scout wants to spoil his own opportunities that's up to him.


I have had scouts regret missing animals that we saw and sounds that we heard because they had their heads down or headsets on. After that they choose to only have them in their tents at night and often don't use them at all. We have also had a few destroyed by weather, that quickly puts and end to their owners bring them back.


It just hasn't been an issue.


We are there to guide and teach, not control their every move. You have to give Scouts the opportunity to make their own decisions.

Take a deep breath...now relax....it's just not that big a deal.


Bob White




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