News

Jun 04, 2014

We've landed on the moon, so why not camp?

In my role as a camp director I’m often asked to talk about the current generation. There are so many different directions that conversation can go. There is so much positive about this generation and yet there is so much pressure and so many influences in the lives of this generation. I think there are two images that really give us a better picture into the lives of this generation and really into the path we are taking as a world.

 The first image is actually a Sprint commercial. It starts out with a teenage girl coming down the stairs, getting the car keys, and heading out the front door. The entire way you hear sounds from her phone that signifies her getting Twitter, Facebook, e-mail, and text messages.  She is talking on the phone and all around her you see the texts, hear the voices, and all that bombards this young girl constantly. It all follows her as she goes out the front door, down the sidewalk, and across the street. It is overwhelming. It is so overwhelming that she is almost run over by a car due to the distraction. Fortunately she makes it across and gets into the car. Once she starts the car and begins to move there is silence and all the text falls. Sprint was advertising a new app that helps make driving a safer experience; however the message is clear. We are always connected. We cannot get away. There are constant messages, voices, and influences coming at us throughout the day. 

The second image is a little older. In July of 1969 Neil Armstrong became the first man to ever walk on the moon. He stated, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind”. It was a pivotal point in human history. The world was watching and listening as Neil stepped onto the moon. Prior to this point in history we had never been so connected; however in many ways at no point in his life had Neil been more alone stepping out into the unknown. 

Today’s generation has power. If they choose to connect with someone on the other side of the world they can do it in an instant on their computer, phone, tablet, etc.; however studies show us that at no time in history have people ever felt more alone. We have sacrificed our real connections for ones that are digital and fleeting. It doesn’t have to be this way. We can have both; however it takes effort to separate from the constant noise in our lives. 

There is a lot of power in a camp experience. One of the reasons for that is we get away from our daily routines and all the noise that bombards us 24/7. Another reason camp is a powerful experience is that we get to make connections with people. We get to make new friends. Not only do we make these friends but we are challenged together. We encourage one another, laugh with one another, and conquer obstacles with one another. We find a place and a group of people with whom we can be real and share. Camp is freeing. It is a fresh start. 

The crazy thing is this just begins to scratch the surface about why camp is an important choice for today’s children and youth. A mommy blogger who also happens to study the brain recently blogged about how a camp experience is good for brain development. There is also the fact that campers are open to the positive adult role models, the impact of being in nature, the impact of temporary community, and much more. Camp is a powerful experience; however more importantly camp is an investment in the present and future of our children. 

If you are a parent or grandparent take some time to research what type of camp experience might be best for the young people in your lives. Ask others about their camp experiences. Take this opportunity to invest in the life of this generation. It is an investment that will pay great dividends. It will also help this powerful, connected generation to know they are not alone!

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