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.

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