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Kahuna

Cell Phones At The Jamboree

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As a 3rd ASM, it's my job to work as the adult laison between the youth (PLC) and the rest of the adult leadership team. And from what I've seen of the boys at our troop meetings, I wouldn't trust them to decide on the issue of cell phones. At one point, when the patrols were getting their names set up, I witnessed two counts of boys using their iPhones to check their Facebook statuses. The ASPL was right there, too, and nobody did anything about it. I had to calmly ask the boy to put his device away. I would be very hesitant to trust such a body of youth to decide on a matter of this importance.

 

As for other devices, they'll all fine. Why? Because you can't use your camera to surf the web, you can't use your MP3 player to send text messages (except for iPod touches), and as such they present less of a problem. Besides, we're not banning anything at all, since we're letting the scouts take their cell phones with them, anyway, just with us watching closely with the right to take them away. (Reading the above post, I realized there are thongs we wouldn't allow: the recreational devices, like PSPs, DSs, laptops, etc. Those are obvious, I'd say, but I did not mention when when I said "They;re all fine.")

 

In any case, my contingent is fairly firm with our decision, and we don't see any reason to let the PLC decide on something we've already come to a consensus on.(This message has been edited by ReneScout)

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In any case, my contingent is fairly firm with our decision, and we don't see any reason to let the PLC decide on something we've already come to a consensus on.

 

Yah, but then if yeh didn't include da PLC, yeh haven't really come to a consensus, have you?

 

Leastways, not if yeh still believe in those pesky Methods of Scouting like Youth Leadership and Adult Relationships. ;)

 

Beavah

 

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I appreciate the new thread regarding PLC decisions. Thanks.

Having PLCs make decisions is wonderful, but let's remember something ... these Jambo troops will meet maybe 3 or 4 times to try to get themselves organized, and they may camp one night before they go to the Jamboree. They need swim quals and uniforms and health forms and payments, etc. They elect people they don't know as their leaders, and they go on a trip they didn't plan.

This is not a model troop, and this troop's youth leadership shouldn't be put in the same box as all other troops (except the others going to the Jamboree). To ask the PLC to represent their patrols and to make big decisions just isn't in the cards. Yes, there are things they can do, but overall, the program is all spelled out, and they're along for the ride. Their primary job is to be in the right place at the right time.

BDPT00

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I hear you BDT, and I can't deny that the nature of Jambo is very different from daily life in a typical troop. On the other hand, all of the boys, by definition, are at least 1st class scouts. From what little I've seen thus far, they also appear to be the ones who are most involved with scouting - cream of the crop. They know something about leadership and decision making at this point (one hopes). At least, that appears to be the case for the guys in my son's jambo troop. So far I'm fairly impressed with them.

 

So one might also think that these guys could, if asked, really step up. Of course, if not asked, most of them would probably be happy to sit back and just go for the ride, I guess.

 

Yet we are straying from the actual question at hand - cell phones, or not? So let me try to bring it back.

 

First, I am not a big fan of cell phones, other electronic distractions, or being constantly, instantly, connected to everything. I actively discourage my own child from behaving that way and missing out on real life as a result. He has a cell phone, but seldom carries it. In fact, the bigger problem is on the rare occasion when I *want* him to have the phone and he forgets, or doesn't turn it on.

 

But most of the guys his age probably have them. As a group they are adept at using them even when they're not supposed to. So much so, that many school districts in my neck of the woods have given up blanket confiscation and instead moved toward a "responsible use" policy - at least for the upper grades. Not to mention that I hear from teachers about how upset parents become when their little darling's cell phone gets taken away by a teacher, and how much grief teachers get for doing this. (To which my response was, "if my kid is using his cell during class, feel free to take it, certainly let me know, and believe me, it won't happen twice." evidently that's unusual.)

 

Etiquette and manners are never out of vogue, and that applies to youth with cell phones, too. Maybe that's where our focus ought to be. And, in fact, I've noticed that a lot of kids do learn to use these things in moderation and sometimes will even police each other. Not too long ago I witnessed one 15 year old tell a 13 year old (in a tone of disgust and disbelief) that if he couldn't turn off the darn phone while they ate dinner together, there was something seriously wrong with him. The 13 year old turned it off. That wasn't a scouting event, but the dynamic was pretty similar.

 

I guess, even with the unusual nature of a jambo contingent, I'd want to at least have this two way, honest and open, conversation with the boys, rather than imposing it upon them. You might end up with the same, or a very similar, policy, but it will have more legitimacy if they have an honest voice in making it. Then it will be easier to abide by.

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"On the other hand, all of the boys, by definition, are at least 1st class scouts. From what little I've seen thus far, they also appear to be the ones who are most involved with scouting - cream of the crop."

 

*** I'm tracking on what you're saying, but I don't agree with your opening paragraph. The ones who go to the Jamboree are the ones who produce the cash. "Cream of the crop" is a pretty big stretch.

BDPT00

 

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I admit to having not read the whole thread. I have to agree with BDPT00's last statement about "cream of the crop". I was an ASM for the 2005 Jambo and am an ASM for the 2010 Jambo. If you are 12 years old, a First Class Scout and can get your SM's signature, cash talks. Don't get me wrong, we had some outstanding scouts in 2005. We also had slugs who wouldn't lift a finger to do any work without an adult standing over them and had to be made to cooperate in the most minimal of ways. We periodically had kids that would ignore the buddy system while touring DC and throw us in a panic trying to hunt them down. I should say that the bad stuff was few and far between.....but it was there. There was more than one kid that the adult leaders talking among themselves were glad the kid was not in their home troop.

 

Can we send them home? Technically yes.....but what a pain that process would be. You end up grinning and bearing it.

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Fair enough, I am sure there are some in every bunch. Still, I would hate for the few pains in the rear to dictate policy for everyone. If we did that on a regular basis then no troop would ever allow the boys to decide - or do - much of anything.

 

Honestly, I really think that if you have some thoughtful, solid fellows in the group, you could engage in a serious conversation about personal electronics and come to a decision that would include the primary participants (the boys) in the process, while still addressing the reasonable concerns that adult leaders have.

 

 

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I went twice; going again this time; cell phones really, if they have reception, are a great way to go; waiting in line for the pay phones was terrible...my verizon worked well in '05; had cingular in '01 and that didn't work well...urge your boys to put names/subcamp troop #s on their devices; be careful with them; and perhaps, have insurance on them too...and be honest that if they find lost items,that they act like scouts and turn the things in...and alert parents, that you as a leader, are NOT responsible for their sons' belongings...

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I went twice; going again this time; cell phones really, if they have reception, are a great way to go; waiting in line for the pay phones was terrible...my verizon worked well in '05; had cingular in '01 and that didn't work well...urge your boys to put names/subcamp troop #s on their devices; be careful with them; and perhaps, have insurance on them too...and be honest that if they find lost items,that they act like scouts and turn the things in...and alert parents, that you as a leader, are NOT responsible for their sons' belongings...

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Sorry to disagree with most here, but "my cell phone is my camera" makes perfect sense to me. Some phones these days take better-quality photos than some cheaper cameras. My cell phone is also my primary telephone line (no landline), my watch, my alarm clock and my Rolodex (though it takes a lousy photo). I'd be lost in the modern world without it.

 

As mmhardy points out, these Scouts are (or should be!) the older, advanced ones. They're your senior leaders, your OA members, your Eagle candidates - not your Tenderfoot homesick newbies. If a situation arises that's caused or facilitated by cell phone use (disconnection from the Jambo, cyberbullying, sexting, etc.), then deal with it, but blanket rules and bans are just silly ... about as silly as bans on knives with blades over a certain length.

 

Think of a cell phone as a tool, and encourage responsible use. That's the way to go. As a general rule, the more adults try to micromanage because of some made-up concern, the less respect they get from their Scouts. Treat them like the older Scouts they are, and they'll do just fine.

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Got to agree with BDPT00, the boys from our council are "cash crops" and not necessarily "cream of the crop".

 

Our Jamboree troop just made the decision- no cell phones allowed.

Glad to see it.

 

Cell phone as a camera? Please. My multi-tool has pliers and a screwdriver, but airport secuirty still sees it as a knife.

 

CMM

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