A screen-free summer
At the entrance to camp, we have a big sign that reads: “At camp, we unplug so we can really connect.” That’s our highest aspiration for the campers and the foundation of our policy regarding devices. Please read on for the most common questions about electronics in camp, along with some related questions about communicating with your campers this summer.
So cell phones should stay home, right?
Right! Camp is a place where kids don’t use their cell phones. The friendships that develop when kids unplug are a major reason your campers will have such a joyful, transformative, and magical experience this summer. As noted a couple years ago in the New York Times, “Camp is a sacred space to unplug and be able to learn independence and social skills. . . . It’s really important to put devices down and practice the art of face-to-face communication.” So please, make sure the phones stay home.
Can my camper bring a phone without a SIM card to use as a camera or music player?
No. All phones should stay at home. We do not allow any phones in camp, even those without SIM cards.
Wait, but aren’t kids allowed to call home?
They are! Starting from the fourth day of camp, campers can call home using our camp phones. A bit closer to camp, we’ll send instructions about scheduling calls using our online system.
Are calls home a good idea?
That depends who you ask. Many of our families choose not to schedule calls while their kids are at camp. Hearing a parent’s voice sometimes takes kids out of camp’s happy, self-contained community and creates moments of sadness that wouldn’t otherwise occur. We prefer letters!
We know there are no cell phones in camp, but what about other devices?
Any device with a screen should stay home. Camp is a screen-free environment. Some campers bring MP3 players for music, but only those without screens. When in doubt, please err on the side of leaving the device at home.
Do campers walk around camp with their music players?
NOOOO. Music devices are not allowed to leave the cabins and can only be used during very specific times of the day (during a rest period after lunch and for about 15 minutes after lights out).
I know you post daily pictures on CampInTouch, but are cameras allowed?
We do post hundreds of pictures every night! You’ll have access to all those pictures and campers can see them when they come home. We do not allow campers to bring cameras to camp.
Hmm, that all makes sense… But back to the phone calls. Our family decided against them. Now what??
Now you’re just like most parents in camp! Most campers never call home over the summer. There’s too much amazing stuff happening on their grand adventure. They’re learning new cooking and fitness skills, making amazing friendships, and experiencing a joyful Jewish environment. With so much stuff going on, who has time to call home??
Sigh… Do you think they’ll write?
Yes! We require that campers write home at least twice a week, and we strongly encourage parents to write letters to camp as often as possible. In fact, now is a very good time to draft a couple letters that will arrive before your kids do. Campers love getting mail on the first day of camp… And remember, you can always send emails through CampInTouch too. Our mailing address at camp is:
31 Barry Watson Way
PO Box 253
Lakewood, PA 18439
As always, please let us know if you have any questions at all as you get ready for camp. We’re here to help!