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BOTD 08-07-2015 I Thought I said 'No Electronics' - A Dimitri Production

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Bransom Postmaster
A Dimitri Production

You have been a Boy Scout leader for many years, holding several positions through the years from Assistant Scoutmaster to Scoutmaster to Committee Chairman and back to Assistant Scoutmaster when you married and inherited your boys.  One of the constants you have maintained through the years is the demand that the scouts do not bring electronic devices to any outings with the Troop.  This has largely been obeyed through the years though some of the fellows "moan and groan" about it.

This year's Summer Camp has been exceptionally wet and stormy to the point of the staff having many of the Merit Badge Classes held in the cabins instead of the outdoor areas they normally use.

On Wednesday (which is also family night at camp) it is an especially soggy day.  The camp staff has opened up the big cabin as a haven for boys who are 'between classes' and want a dry place to congregate.  You walk in and are chatting with the other scoutmasters when one of them start complaining about "kids who do nothing but play on their computers when they have free time".  You quickly agree with that assessment saying, "I don't allow it in MY troop and never have!", with a bit of self pride.

Imagine your shocked surprise as he points to your son:

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While the other families are bar-b-q'ing food tonight, are you going to be bar-b-q'ing something else?

Can you dig it?


It's pouring rain. Would it really be better to stare at the walls?

Honestly, I think "free time" is meant to be just that--free. If "playing on his computer" is interfering with his other duties, either as camper or CIT, that's another matter, but that isn't the impression I have from the scenario.

Either way, in this scenario and location, at worst I'm going to have a word with Ryan--no punishment.


Uh oh!!  I wanted to see how his "Bransom Dads/Scoutmasters" deal with the situation.  I had always forbidden electronics, be it radios or I-pods or computers/smart phones as technology has advanced through the years.  The kids under my 'command' have largely respected the edict through the years I've played "fearless leader".  I (since the early 80's) had strenuously pointed out that rainy weather/down time was an opportunity to chat with each other/the younger guys and to perhaps share your knowledge or get to know someone better and "sticking earphones on won't accomplish that task"!

I was quite shocked (and a little p****d off) to see Ryan flaunt my rule at summer camp and by the way, why does crap ALWAYS happen on family day?!?  

I'll clue folks in later on how we dealt with Ry's bit of flaunting my rules AFTER everyone else has chimed in.  For the record, I've probably been a 'meanie' again!


Um... I've seen how attached to their electronics modern kids are and I'm having a hard time understanding how you manage to rope them into attending any overnight function without their pacifiers in the year 2015 and all...

I'm inclined to overlook this one as long as they're not neglecting their responsibilities...

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I'm going to go with yes his booty will be getting barbecued .... No electronics means for everyone and has been a rule .... I agree with Dimitri if it went how I think it went.... Lol

Hugs kal


Editor Extraordinaire
I appreciate Dimitri's desire to encourage the scouts to use rainy days for getting to know others, but that sort of socializing is something to dread for introverts. I would have hated it and found entertainment in a book. I would also have thought that a valid reason for not bringing electronics is because of the hell that gets raised if they go missing or get ruined. I'll have a word with Ryan, but I'm not going ballistic on him. He broke the rule, but do I really have to spoil Family Day?



I can see the point of the edict and it would probably be fie if the weather was decent and the kids could get outside to do things. However, if confined the temptation must be very much greater. For me it would be rather like being banned from reading a book - we just aren't all sociable creatures.

That said though it is our son who has broken your rule
and that does put it in a somewhat different category.


Problem I see is that I as scoutmaster have no contingency for engaging the kids on days such as this. I agree with the edict but unless I want a load of stir crazy teen boys I need to have an alternative. Impounding Ryans gizmo and keeping with me for a day or two after the trip will be sufficient punishment. Boys can read if they want a little downtime or play board games or cards, no gambling though.
May be some of the olders can teach some of the youngers chess


Only yesterday a group of three teenage girls walked past me in the street all happily chatting away - - on their phones.

Perhaps we wrinkly dinosaurs need to realise that in this electronic era, for youngsters, face to face communication is dead in the water. Sad

PS. There may be some hope yet, at least they were chatting instead of texting.


While I won't yet share HOW I dealt with the Ry guy just yet, suffice it to say that I am MORE than ok with a book/board games or whatever when we have foul weather, which is more often than not for us.  The running gag for the last 35 or so years with us has been, "How do you know it's raining? Troop ---- is camping!"  

I had always disliked seeing healthy, should be active boys, plugged in and zoned out instead of partaking of either interaction with each other or somehow expanding what few brains most teen age guys have.  When I was a Scout (cue eye roll here), I was grateful to escape the monotony of farm living and get away from Alex for a couple of days where I could be a normal boy and not walk on eggshells for fear of 'igniting' him.  I was and still am quite capable of escaping into a good book for hours at a time if left to my own devices and have NO crisis whatsoever if the boys do so as well.  I simply don't want to see them 'hole up' on media!

Now, not to be a terminal hypocrite, I keep my phone ON and charged at all times "for emergency use" and try not to let the guys see me using it.


I wouldn't spank any of the other Scouts in this situation, so I'm not going to spank my son. On the other hand, I will be confiscating the item. When we get home, I'll let him come to me to discuss how to get it back.

(On the other hand, considering the weather, it sounds like he did a better job than I did to 'be prepared'.)

"In the end, it's just a story. But if you ask me, it's all true."

Pi Beta

RIP 9 Jan 47 - 17 June 17
Unfairly, perhaps, but because he is no son, yes he is in deep trouble - both losing his electronics for the duration and losing his trousers while I emphisise that when I say no electronics I mean just that.

I can't afford not to take action against him if I'm ever going to be able to enforce this ruling again.

Y Lee Coyote

No electronic, eh?  Good idea to get back to nature.

But it can be pretty extreme.  Let see -- the first things to go must be computers of all sort -- laptop, tablets and smart phones.  A few other things must go also such as digital cameras, radios (both walky-talky and portables) and TV's and music holders.  Anything with ear buds probably.

Oh, what's that thing on your wrist -- get rid of that watch also, pronto if it has a battery rather than a spring.

Now get back to your tent. <<Takes out flash light [torch] >> Put that LED light in the bag too -- only incandescent, carbide and kerosene lights please.

Certainly don't want any GPS things when the boys go out with paper (no digital ones) maps to show their map reading skills.

Perhaps the campsite's land line POTS telephone might stay -- just for emergencies of course.

I think that hearing aids can stay as they prosthetics like eye glasses and pace makers and we don't want to run afoul of the ADA regulations.

Now, please state your rule a lot more carefully.  I hope that you can manage to treat e-books fairly since they are functionally the same as print books.



Ya know what, Y?  I haven't YET encountered the Kindle/E-book situation and that one will probably 'slide' for me.

I am actually about to polish my "Horrible Hypocrite Award" as I tell you what happened to Ryan at Summer Camp, as I type this from my smart phone in a tent in Gettysburg with the troop! Shocked

I'll freely admit that I was a tad annoyed that it was MY son violating the 'no electronics' rule (which was, from my perspective anyway, really a no electronic entertainment rule).  Before everyone had fallen into the zombiedom of staring at their 'devices' (GREAT pic Stevie!!) I didn't want the kids wasting time out here with what they normally do at home!  

My fellow Scoutmaster's commentary kind of pushed one of those "hot buttons" for me; there were several guys 'tuned in an turned off' in the cabin and when I sounded off with no small amount of pride regarding their ban in my Unit I was floored to see Ryan.  Now, remember it was at a Summer Camp just 3 years ago that I discovered what a miserable home life this kid had and that resulted ultimately in his adoption.

I snuck over VERY quietly and started to removed his earbuds and he, thinking it was another scout, started to push my hands away.  It was then that realized who was standing there and I swear he jumped about a half mile into the air! Razz   "DAD!!!!  I-I-I was just......"  
I told him that I could see quite well what he was 'just' and to please put the thing away and we'd discuss it later.

Since it was family night Lyn came up to the camp with Darren, thus affording me an opportunity to take my errant son on a little hike to a VERY remote portion of the camp, talking with him all the while.  He was quite apologetic and readily accepted 'any consequence' I had in mind.  We talked about obedience, trustworthiness and how being in a leadership role (Assistant Senior Patrol Leader) he needed to set the example.  By this time he was quite ready to go over my lap for a bit.  He's still kind of small and as big as I am, it was no trouble at all.  I warmed him up a little and after tears and hugs we went back to the campsite to enjoy a few burgers and dogs; it had dried up barely enough to allow us to cook on an open fire and not have to huddle under the canopies.

As usual, his Bransom dads are much nicer about this. Now, I'm going to walk our campsite and make sure the kids are settled in before I drop off. Much as I enjoy doing this tour, it is an awful lot of walking in a short period and I'm thinking this one will be my last Pickett's Charge with the Troop; both Jeff and Ryan will age out next year. Ryan just before Summer Camp and Jeff in August. They are both hot on their Eagle projects and while I was annoyed as could be with him, I am also quite proud of both of them.

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