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Scouter Rick

Boy Scout Troop 750
(Henrietta, New York)
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Personal Electronics at Scout Events

Phones and personal game systems are great for keeping people busy during long car trips. However, they can also serve as unwelcome distractions. 

Troop 750 generally permits personal electronics at Scout events, with a few guidelines.

"Take only pictures, leave only footprints" defines us as Scouts. The phones so many of us carry double as our cameras. Ernest Thompson Seton was the president of the committee that founded the Boy Scouts of America here in the United States and an avid artist. Seton would love to know that so many Scouts have cameras with them as we explore the outdoors. Our phones are our breakfast timers, our notepads, our calendars. They are integral tools of 21st century life. To deny use of phones would be synonymous to denying use of modern tents, cook gear, and clothing.

Please familiarize yourself with this information:

Any Scout who possesses a personal electronic device shall be solely responsible for its care. The troop shall not be responsible for theft, loss or damage to personal electronic devices brought to scouting activities by a Scout.

The Guide to Safe Scouting and the BSA's Youth Protection training both address responsible use of phones. Scouts are not permitted to use their phones in latrines, changing areas, or washrooms. Scouts are not permitted to post pictures of people on Social Media sites without appropriate permission.

Scout use of personal electronic devices that disrupts a scouting activity, impacts another's experience, or creates safety concerns may result in confiscation of the personal electronic device.

At most scouting events, there is limited or no access to outlets for charging electronic devices. It is the responsibility of the Scout to make sure that they conserve battery power in their devices. If charging areas or outlets are present, all rules regarding their use must be followed. Scouts should not bring a charger to a weekly troop meeting.

Homesickness must be addressed in a discussion about phones. While it may seem counter-intuitive, texts and calls between Scouts and parents really do make homesickness worse. One goal of camping is to foster independence, and this doesn't work well when Scouts and parents are in constant communication. Please keep this in mind before you call or text or reply to your Scout while we are away at camp.

Some summer camps do not allow Scouts to bring along personal electronic devices. These restrictions would override Troop policy. If we are at a camp that does not permit Scouts to have personal electronic devices, the devices will be safely secured in vehicles.