Every season parents call to voice their concern that their children want to bring their iPhones, smart phones, ipads, iPods, kindles or laptop computers to camp.
Not only are cell phones and other electronics expensive and can get stolen or lost, but also their usage can interfere with and even sabotage a child’s overall experience at camp. A camper that spends so much time immersed in technology or communications may do so at the expense of getting to know fellow campers and counselors. Summer camp offers a great opportunity to learn about and navigate social situations while not being constantly connected to and immersed within a digital/virtual world.
For those children who are at camp for more than one session, some parents have requested that their campers have personal access to WIFI to keep up with school work due in the fall. In the past, we have tried to accommodate those requests but found that personal WIFI holds too much temptation and campers would be found checking emails and texting, using instagram etc. while walking to activities, during classes or evening performances. All of this is counter productive to French Woods and camp life and cannot be tolerated. Perhaps most importantly, a cell phone represents a tether to one’s parents and friends from home and may serve as an impediment for a child to learn how to solve problems on their own in what might otherwise be a structured and supportive environment for growth and independence.
While even administration’s personal cell phones do not work on camp, we understand that there are a few spots where cell service comes through. Moreover, with an IP address – ill-begotten or not, the phone or laptop or ipad becomes a vehicle for all sorts of online communication, instant messaging, and viewing. We enforce a no cell phone usage, no WIFI policy at camp. We do have a solution that will address both the needs and wants of the children and parents and French Woods.
In summer 2016, we still will have computers on the bunk porches and in the case of junior lodges in the common rooms. Those computers will allow two things – email in and out and signing up for activities at camp. Second, with permission, a camper can use the program office or head counselor office WIFI, including after activity hours, to do school related projects/homework/research. We do have a classroom available for sign-up during the day for campers in high school where campers can access WIFI and approved sites for doing research for French Woods activities, school homework, SAT/ACT study, etc.… Additionally, we understand that your children might be more comfortable having their own music close by and suggest an inexpensive MP-3 player. We will arrange to download any music from shows that directors have asked the campers to learn. If you choose to have them bring their cell phone or iPod for this reason, make sure they understand it stays on airplane mode, no IP address and that their wallpaper is a photo of their name.
To reiterate, we are, as strongly as possible, asking you to have your children leave this equipment at home. FRENCH WOODS CANNOT AND WILL NOT BE RESPONSIBLE, FOR ANY REASON, FOR THE LOSS OR DAMAGE TO YOUR CHILDREN’S ELECTRONIC EQUIPMENT including but not limited to cell phones, laptops, tablets, kindles, cords and chargers etc.
We all are looking forward to a fun-filled, safe, and productive summer without any of the worries. We appreciate your cooperation.