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Troop Smartphone Policy

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Young scouts with homesickness is always an issue.  Their having phones is just another version.  They key is on-boarding the scouts into the troop. To be honest, it's also one reason I have not bought my youngest a phone yet.  He will get one soon, but he's 14.  

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We had more guys homesick when they had access to their phones than when they didn't. In fact, the further away we go and less access to phones, the fewer cases we had. Go figure.

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We had more guys homesick when they had access to their phones than when they didn't. In fact, the further away we go and less access to phones, the fewer cases we had. Go figure.

 

Normal.   :)  It's less about missing home and more about a coping mechanism.  If they know they can get out of an uncomfortable situation by acting less mature or acting like they need help, they will.  

Edited by fred johnson
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Young scouts with homesickness is always an issue.  Their having phones is just another version.  They key is on-boarding the scouts into the troop. To be honest, it's also one reason I have not bought my youngest a phone yet.  He will get one soon, but he's 14.  

 

We had more guys homesick when they had access to their phones than when they didn't. In fact, the further away we go and less access to phones, the fewer cases we had. Go figure.

 

 

Normal.   :)  It's less about missing home and more about a coping mechanism.  If they know they can get out of an uncomfortable situation by acting less mature or acting like they need help, they will.  

 

Even with on-boarding there can be challenges. 3AM Scout and Mom both went though the troop's orientation, and ignored it. 3AM is one of the Scouts who was forced into the troop by mom, so he had no vested interest to stay at camp where "it's hot, sticky, and no video games. The food is horrible.This place sucks." And mom is so overprotective, it's ridiculous. And yes, 3AM knows how to manipulate mom to get out of situations he doesn't like.

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We had more guys homesick when they had access to their phones than when they didn't. In fact, the further away we go and less access to phones, the fewer cases we had. Go figure.

It's cut both ways for us. A couple of examples:

 

When our troop restricted cell use, one first-year was feeling homesick and an ASM (or JASM, can't quite remember) loaned the kid his phone, which just made things worse. Begged mom to come get him on Friday. But, there were things going on with the parents that didn't help. He eventually quit scouts. Reminded me of when I was PL/SPL and a buddy joined us in a similar situation the SM eventually walked him down to the trading post and lined up at the pay phone to call his mom. Also, that was the last of his scouting career.

 

The next year or so, a bunch of first-years insisted on setting up their dome tent. It got flooded in the night. They were afraid to wake anyone up about it, so one of them called Mom at 4am, who asked them why they didn't wake the SM. She then called the SM, who gladly got up and gave them a hand. Then he made them call mom the next day, and she made them apologize. That lot stuck it out for the rest of camp and a few years more.

 

I've directed the troop to sites in valleys with zero reception, and boys would hike up to the ridge to get reception whenever one guy couldn't stand not hearing from his girlfriend. On the flip side, they put in probably an extra hiking mile. (Double that for my dog. He'd run up to them. I'd whistle him back. Repeat.) That boy got a good ribbing from the SM and about the ball and chain.

 

So, the strict policy spares a lot of shenanigans. I have mixed results regarding homesickness. I certainly haven't seen troop life made that much easier with them banned vs. with them kept. As I mentioned before, what those things are doing to boys outside of meetings and campouts is my bigger concern.

 

I will note this: family cell plans can cost the equivalent in camp fees over what a parent would be paying to feed their kid anyway. Same for cable. Just some suggestions you could throw out to parents who balk at the costs of things.

Edited by qwazse

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It's not a premise, it's years of observation.

 

Yes of course the goal is the scouts holding each other accountable for their choices. in fact that is the expectation. I can understand the PLC taking away choices because, like the adults, its easier not holding scouts accountable. But scouts and adults learn to adapt as they mature with the program. Just be careful the adults allow the scouts to adapt as they mature.

 

Barry

 

It's still a premise because it's an argument you are putting forward. Yes, it is based on observation, as is anyone else's.

 

Let's not pretend to allow phone usage is some how more enlightened that not allowing them. One could make the same argument for other things allowed or prohibited by BSA. The point is that the Scouts themselves came up with the idea having tried other options. Why did they do that? Because some folks can't or won't abide by the policy. To imply that Scouts will adapt as the mature is not always correct. In fact, often it isn't; especially with as ubiquitous as technology has become. Many feel entitled to have their phones 24/7.

 

Let's put it this way, if your argument were correct that people comply as they mature we would not need speed limits, doggie bag or no phones in movie theater rules. Those things exist because many "mature" people simply feel the rules don't apply to them or simply don't care. And that's a larger portion of the population that you think.

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Interesting tales of woe.  On the other hand, kiddo whose parents had a prayer circle (to determine if he was going) while we were loading for his first year of camp got homesick.  His PL loaned his cell to call home each night prior to taps.    Kid had a blast at summer camp, first time away from home.   I found out about the calls about night three.    PL said it was under control.  Who was I to argue. 

 

He joined a Ship a year ago when he aged out of Boy Scouts.   

 

RichardB

 

PS:   What would the response here be if "National" banned cell phones?   

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The next year or so, a bunch of first-years insisted on setting up their dome tent. It got flooded in the night. They were afraid to wake anyone up about it, so one of them called Mom at 4am, who asked them why they didn't wake the SM. She then called the SM, who gladly got up and gave them a hand. Then he made them call mom the next day, and she made them apologize. That lot stuck it out for the rest of camp and a few years more.

 

LOL. That's too funny. I guess if they didn't have the phone they would have either 1) solved it themselves or 2) woken up the SM or their SPL.

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It's still a premise because it's an argument you are putting forward. Yes, it is based on observation, as is anyone else's.

 

Let's not pretend to allow phone usage is some how more enlightened that not allowing them. One could make the same argument for other things allowed or prohibited by BSA. The point is that the Scouts themselves came up with the idea having tried other options. Why did they do that? Because some folks can't or won't abide by the policy. To imply that Scouts will adapt as the mature is not always correct. In fact, often it isn't; especially with as ubiquitous as technology has become. Many feel entitled to have their phones 24/7.

 

Your post is still written as if maturity doesn't happen. Instead of debating my experiences with your experiences, you should be asking why scouts' and troops mature differently.

 

The simple answer is they aren't given the expectation to mature. Scouts can only grow when they are given the room to learn from their decisions AND have a bases to compare their decisions against. In general that basest is the scout law. But more specifically it's the adults interpretation of the law, which is the expectation.

 

The reason many troops don't continue maturing is because the adults aren't maturing. They have taken a stand on an expectation. All units do it to some degree. The adults simply don't consider other expectations, so growth and maturity stop.

 

For a troop to remove the boundaries that prevent Scout growth, the adults have to grow and mature faster than the scouts. Expectations of a mature program are dynamic. Expectations (maturity) keep changing to continue challenging the scouts decision processes. It's very hard work for adults in a mature patrol method program. Not everyone is up for the challenge. And sadly sometimes it's just pride. Some adults like being in charge, so they don't allow growth and creativity that doesn't come from them. The best scoutmasters are very humble in their nature.

 

Barry

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Your post is still written as if maturity doesn't happen. Instead of debating my experiences with your experiences, you should be asking why scouts' and troops mature differently.

 

The simple answer is they aren't given the expectation to mature. Scouts can only grow when they are given the room to learn from their decisions AND have a bases to compare their decisions against. In general that basest is the scout law. But more specifically it's the adults interpretation of the law, which is the expectation.

 

Sorry, but we've tried all that. They mature in other areas just fine. But some kids just won't put up the devices. When they don't it leads to others wondering why they have to abide by the rules. You act as if there's only one road to maturity. My guys are no more or less mature than anyone else's. They just got tired of a few guys breaking the rules. Their approach was to eliminate the temptation. Guess what? I works. And no, it doesn't make them any less mature than your method.

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I had an older scout patrol use the cell phone to call home and leave an outing early leaving the younger boys to clean up camp.  The older boy PL was finishing up on his Eagle and was scheduling his EBOR.  It was unfortunate for him the council required a "glowing" recommendation from the SM.  Well, he made his choice, and I made mine.  This recommendation is not required according to the National requirements, so I just sat on it.  The scout had plenty of time to Eagle, but eventually we talked about how his choices applied to his leadership and he was given a chance to prove this recent choice was an anomaly and not the norm.  One moment of electronic indiscretion, turned into 6 months of hard word to prove to the SM he was worthy of a "glowing" recommendation for Eagle.

 

Regardless of the rules, or lack thereof, teaching moments are always there.  The scout Eagled and at his ECOH, I was presented with his Mentor Pin.  Something must have soaked in.

 

Once word got around about cellphone usage, they became a rarity in the troop and no rule on cellphone usage was ever necessary.  People learn better from their mistakes, but only if learning is part of the process.

Edited by Stosh
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Sorry, but we've tried all that. They mature in other areas just fine. But some kids just won't put up the devices. When they don't it leads to others wondering why they have to abide by the rules. You act as if there's only one road to maturity. My guys are no more or less mature than anyone else's. They just got tired of a few guys breaking the rules. Their approach was to eliminate the temptation. Guess what? I works. And no, it doesn't make them any less mature than your method.

Ok, I understand. But if I may, you sound pretty firm and limiting in your expectation.

 

Scouts mimic their adults.

 

Barry

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I had an older scout patrol use the cell phone to call home and leave an outing early leaving the younger boys to clean up camp.  The older boy PL was finishing up on his Eagle and was scheduling his EBOR.  It was unfortunate for him the council required a "glowing" recommendation from the SM.  Well, he made his choice, and I made mine.  This recommendation is not required according to the National requirements, so I just sat on it.  The scout had plenty of time to Eagle, but eventually we talked about how his choices applied to his leadership and he was given a chance to prove this recent choice was an anomaly and not the norm.  One moment of electronic indiscretion, turned into 6 months of hard word to prove to the SM he was worthy of a "glowing" recommendation for Eagle.

 

Regardless of the rules, or lack thereof, teaching moments are always there.  The scout Eagled and at his ECOH, I was presented with his Mentor Pin.  Something must have soaked in.

 

Once word got around about cellphone usage, they became a rarity in the troop and no rule on cellphone usage was ever necessary.  People learn better from their mistakes, but only if learning is part of the process.

 

It sounds like the problem was not really that the Scout used a cell phone, but that he cut out early and left his patrol members in the lurch.  The cell phone was just how he arranged for a ride.  If he had arranged for the ride in advance and didn't even have the phone, it would have been the same problem.  Right?

 

I also have a question about this part: "This recommendation is not required according to the National requirements, so I just sat on it."  Would you have written the letter if it WAS required by National?  

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Ok, I understand. But if I may, you sound pretty firm and limiting in your expectation.

 

Scouts mimic their adults.

 

Barry

 

ROFL, actually I am mimicking my Scouts.

 

My expectations are the same as my Scouts. Scouts comply with rules and expectations, whether its on the rifle range, in camp, in an ax yard, dinning hall or during a MB class. When they don't there are consequences. This has been something our PLC has used long before I showed up.

 

Can't use your knife or ax properly, lose the privilege and get re-earn Totin' Chip. Don't follow ranges rules, you don't get to go to the range. Bust up a MB class constantly, expect to be sent home.

 

The Scouts who don't follow the rules learn pretty fast from those who do.

 

@@RememberSchiff, our school district allows phone usage pretty liberally, though a few campuses don't.

Edited by Col. Flagg
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