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In today’s world, we are surrounded by technology that completely encompasses our daily lives. Many of us have become removed from traditional conversation, which has only been exacerbated by the pandemic. Our phones are always in reach and we have developed a pavlovian response to the pings and beeps on our various devices. I know I have even seen my own kids texting people who are in the same room or sitting with friends and each looking at their own device instead of interacting with each other. These days, our children are more likely to be distracted with ipads or computer games instead of story books. That’s why Camp without smartphones is so important!

When campers arrive at Camp they are completely cut off from the social media world; and as a result they engage only in face-to-face interaction. This also eliminates any of the peer-related pressure many kids, teens especially, encounter from the competitive and sometimes cruel interactions on social media. Instead of emojis on their phones they have real smiles and joy on their faces, for example, when they are reunited with friends they haven’t seen in 10 months or when their team wins a hard fought Blue/White event

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By eliminating smartphones at ADK and living together in a beautiful rustic space for weeks at a time it forces kids out of their comfort zone and almost always results in their gaining a whole new appreciation for their surroundings. And they can’t help but fall in love with this place, with no screen in sight to distract from the beauty of the peninsula.

Campers who may be more introverted are better able to come out of their shells and our social butterflies are able to live in the moment more completely. Campers learn to express themselves directly and in person. They learn to appreciate what they have around them. And through this process, they grow into a better version of themselves.