After our leadership planning and brainstorming sessions of the weekend, we have gotten down to the “nitty gritty” with camp preparation. The Parent Handbooks are on their way to all camper families and the Ship’s Store and activity sign-up forms are up and running on the website! We can’t wait to see what activities that campers will be signing up for this summer!
In addition to making activity improvements and creating new ideas for evening programs, each year we review ways to make camp better and more positive for each camper and community member. Sometimes that involves facilities improvements such as this year’s renovations to the Pineview and Hillbrook shower houses or redesigning the dining hall to make breathing room and to allow for…..a salad bar!!
Other times improvements are focused on the culture and tone in camp. Several years ago we added Rise and Shine to the daily schedule- a time for the community to come together for devotionals, songs and announcements. Since then Rise-n-Shine has set the tone for the day. Throughout this past fall our year round team and camp counselors had discussions about technology and music in camp. We’ve always called Illahee a community that is Rated ‘G’ and while the real world doesn’t follow that standard, our camp’s heavenly world does. When counselors select music, movies, or general topics for skits and conversation, we ask them to run it through their “personal filter” to see if it meets the Illahee standard. Increasingly we have found that to be especially difficult in the area of music.
Our technology policy has long included leaving cell phones, laptops and other wireless devices at home. This year we have broadened our “unplugged” policy to include iPods. While music continues to be a wonderful, large part of the camp community, we want it to enhance camp. Some of the most popular and “catchy” tunes aren’t appropriate for the camp setting and community. Counselors will provide music for the entire cabin to enjoy from an extensive and approved playlists, and we will have lots of music throughout camp with playlists that all can appreciate. Camp will provide iPods for activity areas and community events.
We have found that with the increase in “screen time” through the internet and our access to it through our phones, TV’s , computer monitors, and iPods, that campers, counselors and even we adults are more de-sensitized to media, images and graphic song lyrics. Things that were once shocking– now often go by unnoticed. We are sure that many parents have had similar experiences listening to a catchy tune on the car radio while driving carpool, and then noticed the messages later when singing along.
Camp Illahee offers a respite from technology- many campers admit that they enjoy the break from texting and Facebook that camp allows and they value the focus on face to face relationships and living in the present. The heavenly world is a unique community and we know that parents and long time campers value that aspect of Illahee. We hope also that the camp experience will provide the perspective and chance to discern these influences when out in the real world and away from the camp haven.
Our counselors have been at work making preparations for a great summer and a time to broaden musical interests and horizons in a way that is “hip” and wholesome. Between now and summer we will be unveiling episodes of Illahee Radio 192.1. Take a peak at our first episode right now!