Your Camper, Reconnecting to the E-Grid for Visiting Day
I spend a lot of time thinking about how parents and campers communicate with each other. We just got back from visiting day yesterday, which put a whole new spin on parent/camper communication…
Ah, summer camp… the ideal opportunity to make new friends, develop new skills, and grow – all in a more natural environment removed from the electronic stresses of modern life such as Facebook, texting, and cell phones.
Sounds idyllic, doesn’t it? Your child, tucked away in a nature preserve, airing out their brain for the summer. Gaining a new appreciation for nature. Living a more relaxed existence.
Alas, you can take the electronics away from the kid, but you can’t take the electronics out of the kid. It’s a lesson that we relearn each year when we drive up to our kids’ sleepaway camp and take our kids to a nearby town for visiting day. Yes, sometimes I do wonder just who is doing the visiting.
Physically, parents visit their kids of course. They’re walking along, sharing an occasional thought here and there with each other. They’re catching up on the latest news. In person, parents are hearing all about their kids’ new friends, activities, counselors etc. And their kids are hearing the latest news from home (as if there was any).
But something else is happening as well. Electronically, it seems like campers spend much of the time visiting with their friends via Facebook, cell phone calls, and text messages – and whatever else they can do on a smart phone. In other words, our kids are having an e-visiting day. And it’s virtual too since those friends aren’t at camp.
Kind of makes me think that this whole visiting day thing would be a lot less time-consuming if the camp just leased a hundred laptops, hooked them up to the ‘net and let our campers go wild for a day with texting, Facebooking, and Skyping their friends. And us, if they had any extra time.
I suppose that another approach would be to tell our kids that summer is a time to disconnect from electronics in order to focus on personal growth, friendships and nature. Which would mean no cell phones at any time from the start of camp until the end of camp. Including visiting day. If I had it to do all over again, that’s what I would say. Definitely.
Sorry, gotta run so I can post today’s pictures on Facebook and write my next email.