Unplugged – Camp Can Help

Happy New Year one and all! It’s the time for reflection on the past year and a looking ahead to the next. For many, it is a time to make resolutions… exercise more, lose weight, and the one I have most heard this year, is “unplug more”. I’ve been thinking about what it means to unplug, and found myself remembering when “unplugged” was not in our everyday vocabulary. Now I am not OLD but I am older, and I remember well how different life was 10, 20, 30 and 40 years ago. Perhaps you remember some of these things too…

Waiting your turn for the home phone to call your “besties” and hearing the dreaded busy signal (no call-waiting) or no answer and no voicemail. Now we connect to anyone or multiple people in any place and at any time.

Taking pen to little scraps of paper in school to write notes to my best buds and figuring out all sorts of tricky ways to pass them. No texting, snapchatting, Instagram, etc.

Waiting with great anticipation for next week’s episode of my favorite TV show instead of binge watching a whole season in one weekend.

Talking with friends face to face, playing games, listening to music together, goofing around, and just generally, “being”.

Being in nature, whether a walk on the beach, a hike in the woods, or a paddle on a lake, and the “music” was the waves, wind, and bird calls.

“Plugging in” is not bad – it’s wonderful to be able to connect with friends and family so easily and I do enjoy some binge watching, but it can dominate us unless we intentionally keep things in balance. Camp can be an enforced and welcome balancing force. As a director, I do need to be “plugged in” at times each day, but it’s just as important for me to leave the screen and go out and play and talk with girls and counselors in our beautiful natural environment. Unplugging is just one of the gifts of camp but it is one that girls benefit from so much and most of them end up loving the experience. Catherine Steiner Adair, a Maine camp alumna, a researcher, writer and leader in the field of girl’s development has written extensively about technology and the value of unplugging for girls and families in today’s world. It’s well worth a read.