A new trend at camp, WMC staff have been talking to the tops of kids’ heads more and more. With their faces pointed down they’re missing out on an entire world of camp above and around them. An exaggeration of course, but not by much. Having a phone near by is like trying to ignore a new mosquito bite. Even if you’re not scratching, you will do so subconsciously and that itch is always there. Comparing mosquito bites to cell phones, that’s a new one.
For those returning to camp, you know that for year’s we’ve had a policy stating “no electronics at camp.” We used to allow campers an hour each day to have their cell phones during Camp Sore. However, if the phones did manage to get checked in, they are often not returned after the first camp store and become a distraction during the week and at night in the cabins.
Being a summer camp, it’s our job to help kids connect with nature and each other. We want to build lasting skills and forge lifelong memories. This IS doable even if they aren’t saved on Instagram. and to be good role models in doing such. As part of that initiative, we are no longer allowing phones, laptops, tablets, ipads and other electronics at camp. If a camper would like a picture taken they can ask a counselor, bring a digital camera/disposable camera, or use the camp camera we will have passed around during the week.
We strongly believe this will enhance the Camp White Experience and provide a stronger community and a needed break from the devices that we all, myself included, rely on so heavily each day.
Please read the letter below adapted from another Camp that describes our position and plan with cell phones. If you have questions or concerns let us know.
Cell Phone, WIFI and Small Electronics Camp Policy – (Adapted from French Woods Festival of the Performing Arts) http://frenchwoods.com/cell-wi-fi-electronics-policy.htm
“Every season parents call to voice their concern that their children want to bring their iPhones, smart phones, ipads, iPods, kindles or laptop computers to camp.
Not only are cell phones and other electronics expensive and can get stolen or lost, but also their usage can interfere with and even sabotage a child’s overall experience at camp – as well as others. A camper that spends so much time immersed in technology or communications may do so at the expense of getting to know fellow campers and counselors. Summer camp offers a great opportunity to learn about and navigate social situations while not being constantly connected to and immersed within a digital/virtual world.
In the past, we have tried to accommodate those requests but found that personal WIFI holds too much temptation and campers would be found checking emails and texting, using instagram etc. while walking to activities, during classes or evening performances. All of this is counter productive to camp life and cannot be tolerated. Perhaps most importantly, a cell phone represents a tether to one’s parents and friends from home and may serve as an impediment for a child to learn how to solve problems on their own in what might otherwise be a structured and supportive environment for growth and independence.
The phone or laptop or ipad becomes a vehicle for all sorts of online communication, instant messaging, and viewing. Counselors monitor interpersonal social interaction at camp to prevent bullying and so forth. However, online bullying can occur and staff would have no way of monitoring the potential negative effects that could be brought into the camp world from the digital world.
This year, we enforce a no cell phone usage, no WIFI policy at camp. We will have laptops in the main office to be used for e-mailing in and out of camp. With permission, a camper can use the program office WIFI, including after activity hours, to do school related projects/homework/research, SAT/ACT study, etc. Additionally, we understand that your children might be more comfortable having their own music close by and suggest an inexpensive MP-3 player.
To reiterate, we are, as strongly as possible, asking you to have your children leave this equipment at home. WHITE MEMORIAL CAMP CANNOT AND WILL NOT BE RESPONSIBLE, FOR ANY REASON, FOR THE LOSS OR DAMAGE TO YOUR CHILDREN’S ELECTRONIC EQUIPMENT including but not limited to cell phones, laptops, tablets, kindles, cords and chargers etc.
We all are looking forward to a fun-filled, safe, and productive summer without any of the worries. We appreciate your cooperation.”
We hope you’ll join us in unplugging from daily routines in hopes of reconnecting with the simple things. Disconnect to Reconnect at Camp 2017. This may bring up questions about communicating with your camper or Homesickness. Stay tuned for the next post for answers to help with this!