Below is a compilation of pieces from campers in the Storytelling Chugensive:
“How Going Tech Free Has Opened My Eyes”
By Robin F., Olim
I am an Olim camper at Crane Lake and this summer, before camp, I went to the Poconos for a 3-day trip with my school. Throughout the trip, I noticed that the mountains were pretty and the rivers flowed effortlessly, however my classmates couldn’t focus on anything but the fact that there was no WiFi. They asked me how I was able to survive for 7 weeks at Crane Lake without my phone or any type of technology. As this is my 6th summer at CLC, I already knew how to adjust, but this pre-camp experience opened my eyes to how media was affecting everyone around me.
I simply hadn’t thought about it until my trip to the Poconos: where I live, not many people went to sleep away camps, and, if they did, it was for no longer than 2-weeks. I admit that there were times when logging out of Snapchat and Instagram for the summer was a bittersweet goodbye, but this moment of “sadness” meant nothing after crossing into Massachusetts. I was excited to be with my best friends so it never mattered that I wasn’t going to have any “connection” to the outside world – the only people I needed were right in front of me.
Going to camp and not feeling like I had to worry about Instagram likes or what was going on in other people’s lives via their Insta and Snap stories is one of the best feelings in the world. It showed me that I didn’t need social media. Furthermore, the people who I needed to talk to on the phone at home were camp friends. Now, they’re by my side! They are my loving support systems, my best memories, and my lifetime friends. It is a privilege that I get to leave behind me everything from home and enter a bubble where I can live in the moment and enjoy every minute with my summer family.
“What Would Camp Be Like With Media?”
By Jenna L., Becky A., & Theo S., Lower Chaverim
At Crane Lake Camp we do not have devices. But, honestly, that’s just the way we like it. Driving through the red gates means the instant realization that we do not need phones to communicate with others. Actually, our mouths work pretty well. If we had phones in front of our faces all day, we wouldn’t be able to create the amazing memories that we cherish today. The reason the three of us are as close as we are is likely because we are a device free camp. It also allows us to build better connections with the camp community.
During storytelling chugensive, we were interested in imagining a camp world that had phones. After some brainstorming we came to a few conclusions:
- We would be too busy with outside drama like the newest development with the Kardashians.
- Having phones would pull people away from participating in activities and bunk bonding time.
- Constantly checking social media sites would keep us up late during the night and we’d lose sleep.
On the contrary, the environment we live in now has flashlights instead of LEDs, books instead of Youtube, and 15-30 minutes a night for reading books and writing letters. See, we can still connect to family members and friends outside of the bubble – just not with unnecessary, even harmful, media.
“Growing up here as a camper, I always wanted to have my phone. But, in retrospect, I’m so glad I didn’t. The tech free environment at camp allowed me to connect with the community in a way that I didn’t think I would have been able to if I was distracted by my phone. I now recognize that my summers have been a great opportunity to unplug and get away from home drama and fully immerse myself in Crane Lake life.” – Machon camper