Saturday, June 18, 2016

Why we don't allow cell phones at camp

Many parents are apprehensive when they hear that we don't allow campers to have cell phones with them at Somerset Beach youth camps. We understand that phones have become the norm, and knowing that your child doesn't have the ability to instantly connect with you might be hard, so we wanted to explain a little bit about why we think it's best to leave the phones at home.

Leaving cell phones behind promotes friendships between campers.
Camp is about learning to look people in the eye and laugh and cry together, without using emojis or abbreviations. Without cell phones, campers learn to carry on conversations and navigate friendships. They won't be staring down at their phones . . . they'll be looking up at the people around them.

The stress associated with damage and theft is greatly reduced.
If campers don't have phones with them, there's no risk of losing them or having them stolen. This is the same reason we collect money and have it stored in their Trading Post account.

It gives campers a break from technology.
Have you ever put your phone down for a day? If not, try it. It's freeing. Our kids need that, too.

Campers are allowed to fully embrace the new friendships and connections they're making and not focus on what might be going on at home.
We believe that camp is an opportunity for campers to experience a world beyond their every day home life. The allows kids to develop independence and a stronger sense of self. They make new friends, problem solve and mature as the week progresses. Knowing that parents are only a phone call away sometimes puts a damper on these things. With few exceptions, homesick campers adjust much more quickly to camp life when they don't have the option to call home whenever they'd like.
We can be sure that campers aren't exposed to inappropriate online media or material.
If your child has a phone at camp, counselors can't track what he or she is looking at or listening to.

Prohibiting cell phones eliminates the risk that campers will contact strangers or continue prohibited relationships.
When a camper has a cell phone in his or her possession, they have full control of who they can contact. They can call anyone they'd like without permission of parent or counselor.

We feel cell phones interfere with what we're trying to achieve at camp. If we learn that a camper has accidentally packed a cell phone, we will take it and keep it in a safe place until pick up on the last day of camp.

Parents, we need your support and help to make sure campers know that cell phones should stay at home. Please discuss this policy with your camper. You should know that if you have a concern about how your child is doing while they are here, you're always welcome to call our email us.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

As staff training draws to a close . . .

Sandy feet. Ice cream from the Trading Post. A quick dip in the lake. Many Jesus moments. These are the moments I looked forward to as a child about to attend Somerset Beach's summer camp.
Growing up attending camp has been something that has significantly impacted my life. From the new friends made to the delicious food served at every meal, I knew this was the place for me. While approaching my freshman year of college, I needed a summer job. Something more than just McDonald's or Burger King. God opened up a door and boy did I jump through it. Now the tables have turned and I have the opportunity to change lives of many campers.
As the youngest staff member, I began to become intensely nervous about this new job. I knew it was the perfect fit for me but I still was worried about what camp would actually be like. Would I be accepted? Would I look dumb because I have less life experience? On my first night, freshly graduated from high school that previous afternoon, I embraced a whole group of new people. As each of our personalities began to unravel I quickly learned that these were the types of friendships my parents have always talked about. These people will become my family for the summer and God could not have picked more perfect people for me to be able to bond with. We quickly began to dive into group building activities and within 24 hours we were closer than close. Now sharing secrets and telling deep stories, each moment became more and more special.
With staff training drawing to a close, I am so so exited to impact the lives of other children and not only share in fun experiences but share the love of Christ with them. Somerset Beach Campground is by far one of my favorite places on earth. Not only is there a constant environment of fun but the presence of God is continuous and full. I am so blessed that Jesus opened up this opportunity and I can not wait to see what this summer holds.

This was written by one of our new staff members, Grace Archer. Grace is from Spring Arbor, MI and will attend Indiana Wesleyan University in the fall.