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Please Bring Your Electronic Devices

June 12, 2015

I’m thinking about making a rule that you managers are not allowed to bring your laptops to my team meetings.


Because you spend your entire time staring at them instead of paying attention to the meeting!

Yes, and that’s a good thing.

My manager didn’t think so at first, but we convinced him. 

As many of you know I’ve been camping with my sons and their scout troop this week. (Actually, they’re 15 so it’s a Varsity Scout Team, but you’d only care about that if you were involved in scouting, and I’m going to go back to the story now. . .)

I grew up in the 70’s and 80’s. I remember when the first Walkman came out. How cool was that? You could take your music with you. Sure, you put on the headphones and basically tuned out the world, but you could bring your tunes! It wasn’t very much longer before Gameboy came out and now you could sit and play video games while listening to music and completely blocking out those around you no matter where you went. 

We had a strict rule on campouts. 


Later, when I became a leader, it was my turn to confiscate MP3 players, and iPods and then cellphones. 

On the trip this week, I realized something. “No electronic devices” is a bad rule. It should be banished to the place that “situps are good for you” and “eat your broccoli” rules got banished to. 

On our campout and trip there was definitely a place for electronic devices. 


We were way out of cell phone range. We were in central Colorado surrounded by soaring majestic 14,000 foot peaks, and graced by raging rivers. Do you know what you take away when you take away someone’s cell phone? 

Their camera. We wanted boys to make memories, so it only makes sense to give them access to their #1 memory making tool. Besides none of them had watches anymore, and we wanted them to be on time. 


Our group got lost in a canyon that had one entrance and one exit. The problem was, it was 16 miles long. The guy with the map kept saying, “I think it’s just another couple miles.” It wasn’t. It was at least 5 miles and not knowing where we were caused some serious issues with water access and rest. Sure would have been nice to have a GPS unit. 


When the group got lost in the canyon they were able to text a leader who didn’t go on the hike and change the pickup time from 1:00PM to 9:00AM. We also texted pictures to the nervous moms.


This was a church sponsored event. We started and ended the day with daily devotionals and scripture reading. Many of the boys brought books, but several, (including me) read off their phones. 


We were rafting one of the most exciting rivers in the country. It was a once in a lifetime trip for some of the boys. All together we captured the trip on three separate GoPro cameras. The video will be spliced together and included in our end of the year presentation. 

Tools. That’s really what our electronic devices are. At least it’s what they should be. Scouting is changing. As scout leaders we also need to change. None of the boys seemed overly obsessed with their device. We didn’t have to pry it out of their hands when it was time to go raft, or eat, or hike. Each of the devices was important and useful, and even necessary. 

Of course, there was also this writer guy who insisted on bringing his iPad. . .and keyboard. 

At their best, devices help us accomplish more. And that’s what my manager figured out about his team meeting. Each manager was responsible for a different area. When I was delivering my update on the email system, the guy in charge of directory was taking care of emails from his team. When it was his turn to report to the manager, I ignored him and jumped into my email stream. 

Technology is part of our lives. Those who are best adjusted simply use the right tool for the job, be it a camera, GPS, ebook or some writer and his iPad. 

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday at 7:00 AM Mountain Time. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren. 

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(c) 2015 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved 

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