Here at TIC, we have a strict “no phones” policy during the camp day. Over the years, quite a few people have said to us, “But you’re a Technology camp! Why don’t you let the kids or staff use their phones?”
The answer to this question is actually in the question itself. We’re a Technology CAMP. We’re a summer camp, y’all!
Technology learning is half of our day, but the way in which we foster growth in technology skills is very intentionally dependent on interaction, clear communication, collaboration, and hands-on experience. Knowing how to code is awesome, but how effectively will people be at being able to use that skill if they don’t also have practice developing healthy social skills? Also, people (especially kids) are not skill-robots put on this earth to master whatever hot new skills will land them whatever job happens to be on the rise at a particular given time. They are human beings that deserve to have opportunities to learn how to have a well-rounded, healthy, happy, fulfilling life where they have the confidence to follow their passions, connect with others, and always know they are enough.
When our campers and staff leave their activities to go to lunch or other less-structured time, we want them to continue building the interactive skills that they are developing during the Technology and Athletics portions of the day. There’s a lot of speculation and hype around how cell phones are making younger generations incapable of real human connection. We think that the rise of technology and social media has actually fostered a lot of wonderful connection and communication that is not necessarily better or worse, it’s just different. That being said, our entire program design is based around balance, and now that technology-based communication is becoming more of the “norm,” we’re doing work to offset that. Camp is an inherently social environment so we want our kids and staff to focus on in-person communication while they are with us. It’s not that we think cell phones are bad, it’s that they can be used any time of day where as you can only do things like pie your counselor in the face, be a contestant in blindfolded dodgeball (it’s completely safe, we promise), create your own club for Choice period, play human foosball, build a robot that makes chocolate milk, invent an athletics game on a whim that is played for years and years, vote to decide which director has to sing a Frozen song in front of the entire camp, or be encouraged to make your weirdest, most quirky ideas a reality… AT CAMP.
We’re here. We’re together. Let’s make the most of it.