Scouts and Scouters love great conversations.
We love the in-person ones: sitting around the campfire or sharing ideas at roundtables.
We love the virtual ones: exchanging stories and thoughts via email or text message, on Instagram or Facebook.
Those digital conversations don’t have to end when you’re driving, but they do need to pause.
And now AT&T, whose “It Can Wait” campaign started the effort to end texting and driving, has created an ingenious, simple way to pause those precious conversations without offending the other person.
Use #X to put your handheld life on hold until you reach your destination. Two simple characters could make all the difference.
If you send a friend, family member or fellow Scouter #X (pronounced “hashtag X”) via text or email, you’re letting them know you won’t be responding for a bit.
If you post #X on Twitter or Facebook, you’re telling the world you’re making the right choice and putting your phone down to just drive.
No text is worth a life, not even one.
Ways to remind yourself and others
- Make a conversation about #X the topic of a future Scoutmaster’s minute. Or have your senior patrol leader or another driving-age Scout give his personal story about how — and why — he avoids texting while driving.
- Hold a car wash with your troop or crew, and make #X the focus of the event. After all, with a car wash you’re exclusively reaching members of the target audience.
- Make fun, creative #X signs with your Venturers or Scouts to put in front of their houses or your unit meeting place to spread the word that texting and driving don’t mix.
- Draw #X in dust on your car window (sure beats the played-out “Wash Me”).
- Use a sticky label or tape on car keys, a key fob or a steering wheel to make a #X that reminds you (or your teenage drivers) to use #X before driving.
- Change your phone’s wallpaper to feature the #X for a reminder you’ll see at the right time.
- Create a calendar where you put an X over each day you don’t text and drive. It’s a fun way for kids/Scouts who aren’t yet of driving age to participate and see that Mom and Dad are avoiding the habit.
Resources for you
- Download this #X toolkit (PDF) from AT&T for more great ideas.
- Visit AT&T’s “It Can Wait” website for videos, celebrity testimonials and to take the “It Can Wait” pledge.
- Incorporate #X and “It Can Wait” into your Traffic Safety merit badge instruction.
- The Transportation section of the BSA’s Guide to Safe Scouting includes important safety tips to remember when driving Scouts around.
Speaking of Traffic Safety merit badge, the resources section has been updated with a link to AT&T’s “It Can Wait” campaign. The link will be included in the Traffic Safety merit badge pamphlet when it’s time to print a new edition in a year or so.
How have you reminded Scouts not to text and drive?
Has your troop, team, post, ship or crew tried something unique to prevent texting and driving?
If so, the BSA wants to know. Please include:
- What did you do? Be as specific as possible.
- What’s your unit number?
- What council are you in?
- What city is your unit based out of?
- What made the effort effective?
- What are you most proud of about it?