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MichaelOA

Electronics, what do you think?

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MichaelOA -

 

Our experience mirrors that described by asm 411. We too had a problem with Scouts texting on camping trips, talking on the cell at inappropriate times, and standing in formation and participating in activities whilst plugged into an mp3 or ipod.

 

We discussed at length in PLC, and the Scouts decided that things were out of control and came up with a no-see'um policy. Scouts can bring 'em, but they are not to be seen at any Troop activity. If you've got to listen, do it in your tent. Before summer camp, the SPL adn ASPL made a big deal out of not bring cell phones, and told the Troop that they were not bringing theirs. The rest of the Troop followed their example, and we have not had any problems since.

 

 

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Why does a 12 year old need a cell phone? I guess that is a decision best left to the boy and his parents.

 

In my case I give my 12 year old much more freedom than many other parents. You see it's all about teaching responsibility. By giving him freedom and letting him make choices and decisions, he learns how to take care of himself. A cell phone is no more and no less than a tool. His does not have internet access or any of the other cool stuff. He mostly uses it as a clock and an alarm. It reminds him where he needs to be. If he needs to reach me for some reason, or I need to reach him, we can do that. Again, it is a tool.

 

I have a real problem with adults (particularly Scout leaders) who use the old fashioned "because I'm the adult" school of thought. It is just plain lazy. It is soooo easy to say, "no electronics, because I say you don't need them". All that does is teach boys to sneak around and find ways around the rules. Or telling them to "use them only in their tents". Kind of like "don't ask, don't tell".

 

As a parent, I'll decide what tools my son needs. Not his teachers, not other Scout leaders. But I also take responsibility to teach him appropriate use. Manners came long before the cell phone.

 

As a Scout leader, I am not afraid of my boys having electronics. If we are running a good program they will be busy and not use them. If there is a miscreant, we will have a Scoutmaster Conference at which he will have a lesson on manners. Just like anything else.

 

For years we have encouraged boys to bring a book to read during quiet time. Well, times change. If today a boy wants to listen to music duirng his quiet time, who cares? As long as he does not disturb anyone else. We need to remember that the game belongs to the boys, and for it to be a success, they need to make the rules.

 

Ken

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Yup. Don't allow them at all. I allow them ONLY on trips of longer than 1hr to an activity or campout. Other than that, they can use their imagination, review thier books with each other, etc. Once we arrive at either a gate to a camp, a dirt road turn off that leads directly into a camp, etc, all electronics get turned off, even the vehicle radio. This allows the boys, and myself, some time to get camponized prior to shutting off the engine and getting out. It makes for a smoother transition to a camping mindset.

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"no electronics, because I say you don't need them"

 

Why does s 12 year old need a cell phone during a Troop meeting? Or on a campout? And the answer "so we will know when to pick him up" is and excuse not a reason. A 12 year old does not need a cell phone.

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Thanks for the responses, I appreciate it and it seems for some to be a very contreversial subject. We have for example a scout who I think is around 12 now he's had a cell phone with UNLIMITED texting since the day I met him. He may be the exception but so far it hasn't caused an issue, but actually helped more. I feel the same way as some of you here "why does he really need the cellphone?" well I've decided maybe the family has some personal reason for why he needs it that I don't know about and honestly don't need to know about.

 

I've decided I will take this to my PLC members and show them perks, and cons of this system and see where it goes, I appreciate the advice given by you guys, showing me why I should, and just as much (if not more.) why I shouldn't. Either way, I feel taking it to a PLC will be best, as the patrol leaders will be the ones helping me with this the most, and know their patrol best.

 

In response to Crew21_Adv

"MichaelOA,

 

Greetings!

 

Alot of youth are plugged into electronics. But timing is everything. Here are just a few of my thoughts.

 

At least for cell phones, during a recent NYLT the admin office held the cellphones and electronic games until graduation. We noticed that most of the youth did not wear watches, but used their cell phone to tell time and also as an alarm clock. I don't know if that is a good excuse for all of them, but our NYLT will have to list electronic travel clock in our future list to bring to NYLT.

 

Regarding your troop. If there is an "after the boring part of the meeting", then your PLC is not doing their job. Also, there should not be a game time, but an interpatrol activity, to re-inforce the Scouting skill just being taught-learned.

 

A troop meeting should be full of Scouting skills and events, from start to finish. Your fellow Scouts can make phone calls after the meeting. If not, they are losing out and doing themselves a disservice.

 

Scouting Forever and Venture On!

Crew21 Adv"

 

I think it all depends on how you run your meeting sir, I don't believe national ever sent out a specific way the meeting must be run, and no other way is allowed. Our troop does have inter patrol activity, scouting skills, for example we have them do knot based competitions, where each patrol is given certain knots, each person can only do one. At the end your knot compilation is used to finish an objective like say lifting a chair with one end of the rope without any of the knots coming apart. We have discussion with the scoutmaster where we will talk about an upcoming event, or one that just past. After the meeting is finished I see nothing wrong with letting them go out and play basketball, or tag, or tug o war.

 

Michael Griffin

Southern Sierra Council

T105 - SPL

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I used to be against them, but I don't know if I care any more. There seem to be only three issues that I've noticed. When they listen to music through speakers that bother others. This could be ear plugs with the volume turned up. Few things more annoying than a tinny Greenday song. Makes the mosquito buzz seem pleasant. The second issue is the scout calling home to complain or when homesick. Most of the new scouts were homesickness is an issue don't have a phone anyway, but older scouts whining about their patrol's menu do bug me. Finally, they loose the devices and start accusing other scouts of taking them.

 

For the most part the scout understands when he should not be using it. If they are using it when they shouldn't it takes very little to remind them. If they are bothering others or being a distraction then they are told to stop. If they are complaining then I ask to speak to the parent and suggest that they ignore their pet for the duration of the trip. The scouts know that I expect them not to bring anything on a campout that they cannot afford to replace. If they lose a phone/iPod it is their fault for bringing it and not leaving it secured in a vehicle.

 

I understand that NOAC used Twitter to keep people up to date about changes. Seems reasonable to me. I wouldn't have a problem with the SPL texting his PLC to come to a meeting, that it was time to get ready for an activity or to answer a question.

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I'm glad this keeps coming up. Baden Powell would have used cell phones at Mafeking if he had them. He was a real innovative guy and into the technology of his day to gain an advantage. I also like cell phones and radios because I can better track my boys with them. They are both invaluable at summer camp and outings where boys are scattered all over the place. I solve the "inappropriate use" problem by issuing a "Cell Phone Chit"...just like a Totin Chip or Firem Chip. It comes with rules and training and is a "contract" between me and the boy. I haven't had a single incident since I started issuing the CPC and it saves a ton of time and agony over who has hidden cell phones, etc. It's like many things. When it quits being "cool" to sneak around with one and show your buds then it quits being a big deal. If you want a copy of my cell phone chit send me an email.

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Not long ago, our PLC took this issue up at their monthly meeting. On their own, they implemented a "distraction box." One of the PLC members was assigned to build the box, and he showed up with a foil-wrapped shoe box with some hand-made labeling. Next time someone at troop meeting was texting or talking to a non-parent, they kindly asked the "offender" to put it in the box until the meeting was over.

 

After a few weeks with the distraction box, the behavior faded away and so has the box. Although once in a while if a Scout is acting up, another Scout will lament that there isn't a distraction box big enough for the Scout. (Nobody is really going to put anyone else in a box).

 

It was neat to see the PLC address and resolve the problem on their own. Michael, I recommend working with your SPL to get the issue on your next PLC agenda. I would be interested to see what they implement.

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I am most certainly a supporter of no electronics rules. I don't care if your phone has GPS, is your only timepiece and serves in an emergancy as a flashlight substitute. I don't want to see it.

 

Still, I had to bite my tongue at the last troop meeting. Someone asked the question how high the summit of Half Dome was. No one knew, but one former Scout pulled out his iPhone and had the answer in under a minute.

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