Flow Disruption

During a recent lunch with an experienced camp director, I listened to the most cogent argument I’ve heard about prohibiting staff from carrying mobile devices. The argument has three layers. Fairness If you ask camp staff what they think of allowing campers to have cell phones (most of which are mobile devices with e-mail, text, social networking, and full Internet access), they almost all respond “That’s a terrible idea!” And if you ask them why, the answer is equally emphatic …


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3 comments on “Flow Disruption

  1. John F. Whiteley on said:

    While I agree with not allowing campers to use electronic devices (that is the rule at my Boy Scout camp) and I can see the logic in not allowing direct contact staff using mobile devices, what about the senior staff (such as the Camp Director, Program Director, and Safety/Medical Officer)? We often have to contact each other, sometimes on an emergency basis, and cell phones seem to work better than radios in our rugged terrain.

  2. David Root on said:

    @John Whitely… as a teacher, I once had the vice-principal escort a visitor (a consulting engineer) into my class. While there, the visitor’s phone rang. He excused himself and stepped out into the hall to take the call.

    The class erupted in indignation, and the v-p responded “There are rules for students, and rules for adults.” It didn’t satisfy them, especially since there is a sign at each entrance prohibiting the use of cell phones in classrooms.

    I recognize that this visitor’s work life depends on his phone, but surely he could have let calls go to voice mail while he was at the school.

    Similarly, senior staff should be setting the example. If they are in the Office (or their tent?) then perhaps they could justify taking a “business” call. But when they are amongst the campers the cell phone is off limits. You pay for voice mail, why not use it?

    Using a cell phone in an emergency situation should be allowed, but otherwise the policy applies to everyone.

  3. Cathy Allain on said:

    We started collecting phones 2 summers ago. Staff members can only have them during their “off times” and are not allowed to use them in camper areas. It has allowed them to focus on the campers and also they sleep much better at night!

    We use a shoe organizer labeled with names and have staff members assigned to “cell phone duty” to issue and collect the phones at busy times!

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