Cell Phones at Summer Camp in Ohio?

This year, campers may bring their cell phones along with them to Summer Camp at Pleasant Hill Outdoor Camp in Ohio. While it sounds counter-intuitive, risky, or maybe even a little crazy, this is a strategic move to help campers learn how to responsibly navigate the realities of their world. Technology, like it or not, is a significant part of that world.

Parents are encouraged to call the camp office to discuss the policy, and to read the following letter regarding the policy from the camp director:

Why Cell Phones?

When I bought my first cell phone in college fifteen years ago, my parents said, “That is the worst purchase you will ever make.” During a recent visit home, I watched my mom (now a grandma) practicing Spanish on her touch screen Smartphone. It seems her opinion has shifted just a bit.

Cell phones, like it or not, are here to stay. They are significant in daily work and social interactions. In many ways they are at the center of life. For our kids, this has potential both for good and bad.

In the past ten years of my camping career, camps have focused on banning cell phones. Most camp leader pages discuss searching bags for electronics, or catching campers who bring two phones… one to turn in and one to keep for when no one’s looking.

At Pleasant Hill Outdoor Camp, we believe it is time for a new conversation.

What does it look like to manage mobile devices responsibly AND have a great time pursuing Christ with a dynamic community in His amazing creation? In our opinion, we can continue banning cell phones, or we can learn to use them properly… as tools to connect more easily with each other and with God.

Of course, there are HUGE concerns with cell phones at camp. We do not underestimate those concerns, and we make the following commitments to you:

1.    To say no if you say no: If you encourage your child to leave their phone (your phone) at home, we back you fully.

2.    To keep phones out of private places: No phones in cabins or bathrooms…. Period.

3.    To provide alert and aware counseling staff: Our team continues to adhere to a strict “no phones while on duty” policy.

4.    To make learning environments interactive: We want campers to view technology as a tool not a temptation.

5.    To educate and coach: Guidance for every camper relating to appropriate phone use.

6.    To revoke phone privileges: Removing phones from campers who will not abide by appropriate use standards.

7.    To Unplug: At least one full day each week is completely “Phone-Free” from wake up to sleep, because unplugging completely is incredibly important.

If you have any questions, thoughts, or comments about this new policy, please contact me. I would LOVE to hear from you and talk through any questions. 419-938-3715

In Christ,

 

Mark Gray

Executive Director