It’s that time of the year—when kids are sent off to Summer Camp, en masse. For many of us, this is the first taste we get of sleeping in tents and sleeping bags, spending more hours outdoors than indoors, waking up to the sun, and more recently, unplugging from games, tablets, and phones.
One of the most endearing traits of Camp is that nothing really changes that much. Pictures from this year don’t really look THAT different from pictures 50 years ago. And it’s not just pictures, it’s true for experiences too. From backpacking to swimming to war games to singing, there is hope in the world that kids can be entertained in ways that don’t involve a glowing screen.
More impressive are the intense friendships, traditions, memories that keeps people coming back for more, year after year. Don’t believe it? Listen to Notes on Camp , on This American Life. Prepare to be blown away by the intensity of excitement from kids.
Maybe it’s the lack of distractions or time in the wilderness or being a part of a tribe or the personal growth that comes from being on your own for a little while—but either way, there’s a corollary lesson to real life here. As adults, we rarely think that same “camp time” is necessary for our physical and emotional well being. Few of us, if any, take a few weeks out of our summer to go to camp. Yet the tide is turning (photo credit below to Scott Sporleder, NYT).
Perhaps evidence shows contrary; that our sense of community /appreciation / friendships are intensified and magnified through the lens of the Great Outdoors. And in the age of getting more for your money and time, this might be the strongest argument of all to get outside.