There are so many great things about summer camp – I could write volumes, but right now I’d like to concentrate on one that the previous generation couldn’t have even dreamt of, a summer as a technology break. Let me be clear though.. I am only referring to the devices that have become our new best friend, the smart phone.
When my children were coming into their teens (all Yavneh alum), each one got a phone at an earlier age. They asked earlier and we seemed to find the justification for why it would be important for them. No doubt, even as adults many of us are just as attached to our phones as our kids. The only real difference is that we had enough time in our lives without them to develop the face-to-face communication skills so necessary to thrive.
This is where camp comes in. Don’t misunderstand; at Yavneh we LOVE our technology. How would parents feel if they didn’t see MANY pictures of their kids posted online constantly? How about the blogs the unit heads write twice a week? The weekly update videos? All enabled by staff with technology. Our programs are also enhanced by technology. Birkat Hamazon (Prayers after meals) is projected on the wall to help people follow along. As a very musical camp, having the words of songs projected enables the campers to be more involved in learning and seeing.
It’s the constant head down non face-to-face communications – it’s amazing seeing kids able to look each other in the eye and focus on both their verbal and non verbal communication skills. Our kids spend 10 months tethered to their devices in a way that they feel unshackled when they come to camp. Over and over I hear from campers how much they enjoy being tech free for the summer.
Just another benefit of summer camp we couldn’t have envisioned a generation ago. Dor l’dor Yavneh!