The Biggest Benefit of All?

camper in pink holding tortiose

There have been plenty of predictions over the years of the demise of summer camp. It is a uniquely American tradition after all, and lots of things have come up over those same years to compete for a child’s time. I remember attending a conference in the late eighties where some of my peers actually felt threatened by the handful of “computer camps” that had recently sprung up. Can you imagine? Computer camp? Kids come out of the womb these days with both thumbs twitching, just waiting to get a touchscreen in their hands. Our parents have been around screens so long that most of you are reading this on your phone or tablet, according to our web designer who checked out our analytics.

Little did we know back then that camp would be one of the few places twenty years later where the culture IS to unplug, and that parents would value this almost above all for choosing this amazing opportunity for their girls. After all, it is almost impossible to engage in a real conversation when you are distracted by attempts to keep up with a handful of rapid-fire virtual ones at the same time. Without real conversations, you lack real community…and that’s what camp is all about. Even so, technology has crept in to our midst, hardly noticed by most in this day of pervasive gadgets. We like our gadgets, but the internet is a little creepy, and at camp, we have been slow and careful adopters. We upgraded internet to 100MB speeds this year, and it is really interesting to walk downstairs in Curtis where our staff hang out when they have a period off. Each consumes different media on her own device.

Camp still has a DVD player hooked up to the old TV, and there is a Redbox at the Sav-Mor a half mile from camp. Laurie prefers to hold her movie before she watches it, and Gardner is a chip off the old block. Together, they make good lab rats when we consider any technology upgrade. We do love sharing images with you of girls having the time of their lives. Camp is such a visual place, and the photos provide a great point of context for real conversations to help campers verbalize her growth when she gets home. A word of caution though…wait til she gets home! Avoid the temptation to comment on pictures you see in your letters and emails to her. “It looks like you had a good time on the Tarzan swing today. Maybe if you held the rope a little higher, you’d get more air”! Voyeuristic for sure…maybe even a little Orwellian…(Big Brother is watching).

Wow! What a day! I can’t remember a more perfect camp day. Our weather station reports a high of  82 and a low of 53. Campers attended “Tree Day” activities for the first time…Pine Days are MWF and Tree Days are TThS. Activity staff seemed in the groove today. There was a lot less chatter on the radios, which is always a good thing. Speaking of technology, we were awarded our own radio frequency by the FCC after a bunch of paperwork and the fees that always go with it…all in an effort to keep up with campers more quickly if they are late to their activities. Trips hiking enjoyed Pisgah trails near Daniels Ridge, culminating in a dip at Little Sliding Rock in the Davidson near Cove Creek. I watched Cabin 1 on the high ropes course and Beanstalk today…they were all harnessed up with regular and chest harnesses…and so fun to watch with big toothy grins as they made their way through the elements. It was a day to evangelize sunscreen. “Sunscreen and flossing,” I say. “If I had to do it all over again, I’d start em both a lot earlier.”

Tonight’s evening program was a chance for cabin bonding. Cabin Adventure is a night for each group to choose an activity to enjoy with their counselor. Food themes are popular, even when there is an alternate activity, it usually ends with something sweet. Ice cream making, s’more and cookie baking. Tie-dying…swimming. Spa Night. Frisbees and games. It is a lot of fun, and such a beautiful evening to end a great day. Our CITs went out to our own Hannah Ford Farm with a big roll of butcher paper and paints to work on Surprise Day decorations. Pictures will be posted in tomorrow’s gallery. Be sure to look at today’s llama pictures. A hoot!

Unplug in our honor and enjoy your evening!