>"Every time I read these threads, I wonder how Boy Scouts got to be 100 years old without electronics."
Jim and Joe: I'm with you. And not because I'm some Luddite who thinks synthetic bags and nylon tents were a bad idea. (Although my rule as a 17-year-old JASM and 18-year-old ASM was to remove one battery from all electronics. You brought, you carry it - it's useless now - and I'll return that one battery when we return to the school parking lot.)
But what are the over-arching goals of scouting, ideally? Independence, leadership, and new experiences.
I'm thinking a letter to all parents is in order.
- Around town, parents mostly cook the meals. On Scouting trips, boys cook their own food.
- At home if you're cold, you turn up the thermostat. On a camping trip, you put on a sweater or start a fire or get into your sleeping bag.
- Around town, in 2011, kids check in with their parents, electronically, several times day. On a Scout trip, they don't call or tweet or Facebook for a whole two days. And the parents act like any parent would have in 1997 - no news is good news.
If you want Scouting trips to look just like the rest of their life, why go on Scouting trips?!?
Absolutely no Spot "OK" messages. Even with high functioning, more sophisicated people back home, no news somehow gets morphed into bad news. I've seen it happen. With helicopter parents, it would be a nightmare. So if someone brings a SPOT (I bring mine a lot of places), no parent can know about it or at least no one should offer to send "OK" signals.
Sat Phone? Because one valley doesn't have a 5 bars of cell signal? No, use the money to bring the grubby poor kid to a week of summer camp on a scholarship. Because you're pushing their limits on a remote trip and you want to increase the safety for overweight fathers who come along? Yeah, maybe. But NO daily updates. It's for broken bones (between your shoulders and your knees), core body temps above 104F or below 93F, heart attacks, and strokes.
My infant son died 14 miles from home while I was home with his toddler brother. If I'd known what was happening, I couldn't have effected the outcome. Everyone on the scene did everything they could.
Would the electronics change the outcome? No? Don't use them. Yes? Fine.
Are the electronics only to reassure neurotic parents? They'll just find new things to be neurotic about. Lay down the rules and let them spend their own money on a really good therapist. Have the Troop spend its money on better gear for kids/families who want that experience of being a little independent.