Re: Whose program is it?
Settummanque, the blackeagle (WALTOML@WKUVX1.BITNET)
Wed, 12 May 1993 17:32:58 CDT
Troye Kauffman <AEZTROY@UICVMC.BITNET> writes:
> In response to:
> > ...our troop banned electronic equipment such as games, tape players,
> >etc., some years back because we (the troop committee) felt that they were
> >not conducive to the kind of program we felt we wanted to offer.
> I think that this fragment of Nathan's note reveals a very significant point:
> The troop committee is defining a program, and offering it to the boys.
> The following question to that troop committee and others who determine
> the boys' program, is without malice or anger - it is a humble and honest one:
> Has anybody on that troop committee been to Woodbadge? And if so, did they
> teach them something different from what was made very clear to me? That is:
> 1. The adults do not develop or define the program, the boys do.
> 2. As adult leaders our job is to:
> a. Train and encourage the boys to develop their own program
> b. Make sure that the program they develop is safe, productive, and
> does not violate the Scout oath and law or any official BSA policy.
> The role of the troop committee is to provide support for the boys' program,
> and to ensure that it meets safety and policy guidelines.
> If Kathy or someone else can find where it is written in official BSA policy
> that electronic leisure devices are not allowed at BSA functions, it
> would be a great service to all of us, and would remove any controversy
> from this topic.
I don't know if Kathie has had any success with this, but I cannot
find a single reference (other than local Council camping
policies..i.e. for a particular encampment or event, there will be NO
ELECTRONIC devices allowed except those approved by the camp chief)
that states this. Even the "Guide to Safe Scouting" is silent on this
one. I believe that this was left to each unit to decide upon is
quite simple: technology has advanced so fast and the things that
Scouts can "cart" out with them so plentiful that the policymakers
(and remember folks, many of these people haven't been camping at a
BSA camp in AGES, let alone at all!!) really don't know the
environmental impact upon their usage.
The way that I have been able to resolve this in my units is rather
simple but met the need of both those "that *had* to have their
Nitendo" and those that "are there for the program": An "enviromental
Yes, folks, this code went home and is announced in advance to the
Troop. It was devised by the Patrol Leaders' Council of Troop 102,
Alpine District, Transatlantic Council after coming back from a fall
camporee where they were NOT allowed to bring boomboxes or other
devices and when they got there, EVERYONE ELSE (even the staff!) had
at least one in their campsite.
The code determines whether or not electronic devices would be
permitted and how/when they would be used. Here's the criteria:
(remember folks....I am just copying this from the notes I made from
their chicken scratchings from a blackboard...and this required a LOT
of maturity on their part!!)
For each YES, add .5 to the final score:
Is this a PATROL activity?
Is this a TROOP activity?
(Our District has a policy of "no electronics")
Will this activity involve girls?
Will this activity involve staying around the Scout Rooms?
Is this a OVERNIGHT activity?
Will there be Scouts from the "host nation" (Germany) present?
Will there be NO ADVANCEMENT WORK done during the event?
Is this a summer activity?
Is this a 50-Miler activity? (all of my European units had two summer
camps..the traditional one in summer and a camp during school
spring break. This helped those that had to leave over the summer
for the States and got everyone "psyched" for summer camp and
Will there be NO HIKING during this event?
For each number, multiply by .1 to get the score and add it to the
How many Scouts have signed and payed for this event?
How many Scouts are wanting to go but have not payed yet?
How many hours will it take to get to the location?
(if it is at the Scout Rooms, do not add anything)
For each number, subtract .25 from the total
How many Scout leaders (Scouters) have payed for this event?
If this event is a Council event, subtract .5 from the total.
If the total equals 8.0 or above, then ALL electronic items will be
allowed as long as they are played at a low level or played with
headphones or earphones.
If the total equals 5.0 to 7.9, then ONLY electronic games (pacman
just came out, and they said "packman") and radios that DO NOT have
tape players attached are allowed, and they MUST be played after
program hours or while in the tent areas. They also must have
headphones or earphones.
If the total equals 4.9 or less, then NO electronic games, radios or
other items EXCEPT for ONE radio per Patrol (which cannot have a tape
player with it) will be allowed. This will be played ONLY in the
Troop area and only after and before program hours.
Now, if you are like me and played around with the math a bit, one can
easily see that unless the event
> As much as I dislike having to met EVERY one of those criteria,
EVERY Scout in the Troop (we had 28 registered, with 24 attending) and
EVERY Scouter (we had 14 adults registered) attend) there would be
very few 8.0 + campouts or events (even though I "fudged" a little and
gave them at least ONE "Blowout" campout where they would be able to
bring their tape decks to a campout on the southside of the airfield,
away from anyone else and whereby I HAD to listen (had no other
choice!) to Bon-Jovi over and over and over and over.....
I personally feel that if the Troop has enough confidence in the youth
leadership then they can make those decisions and make them looking at
ALL sides of the situation. For example, one of the discussions I
remembered having with them centered around who would be responsible
if a tape deck was left out and got rained on or damaged due to a game
or some other misfortune. "The person that brought it" was the answer.
This solved for me the "nagging" question about making Scout A pay for
Scout B's box because Scout A broke the antenna or left it out or had
it stolen. Another discussion we had was about the idea that not
everyone *likes* Bon-Jovi (or today, rap music). How do we handle the
person that *demands* that everyone gets to hear what he brought? The
answer was simple, at least to them: The Patrol Leader gets to
approve all of the music brought by the Patrol. The Scoutmaster would
have "veto" power over any music that he feels could be offensive to
parents, Scouting or to the host nation. If a Scout brings and plays
any other music other than what the Patrol agreed upon, that Scout
would be asked to hand over his box, the tape and when returning to
home, would be told NOT to bring a tape player again. In the words of
my Senior Patrol Leader, Arnat Vale, "If you can't follow the rules,
we don't want ya".
There were only two Scouts in 102, four Scouts in Troop 225, and one
Scout in Team 8 that were told not to bring their tape decks
anymore...and I returned to a very upset parent (after she played the
tape), a tape that I took from a Patrol during a "inside campout"
which I felt was really dirty. She agreed, and I never saw Patrick
again in a Scouting setting.
I feel the same that Troye does on this one...let the youth leadership
decide on this. Your District and Council will decide this for you as
far as multi-unit encampments are concerned. However, I feel that
music is one of this age' ways of interacting and getting to know each
other. Let them (with a lot of guidance from you and your Troop
Committee) decide on what's approviate and not...and let them also
take responsibility for their actions when music or loud noises
NOTHING, and I do mean NOTHING, will shape and make a 13 or 14 year
old think hard and fast when a policeman comes and after taking names,
gives them the "riot act" because someone complained about the music!
(this is what caused the entire PLC to make a policy, write it down
and give it out to all of the Scouts. We lost three Scouts to the
other Troop because of it; but we also go on campouts where we can
hear the birds, see the animals, and watch the wind and rain come up
over the mountains....all WITHOUT Bon-Jovi or Metallica's narration.
Mike L. Walton
( Settummanque, the blackeagle... ) )
((MAJ) Mike L. Walton (among other "endearing" names) ( )
( AIS/MR Recreation/Leisure Specialist, Lifeskills Inc. ___)_ )
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