How’s this for a hot (cell phone) button topic – do you think cell phones belong at camp? For many, this may elicit an immediate, visceral reaction of ‘No way!’ Camp, after all, is a place to experience the great outdoors and not the ‘great indoors’; it’s a place where adventure awaits, where girls and women can challenge themselves and get their nature on. (Oh and roast marshmallows – let’s not forget the marshmallows!)
So where do cell phones fit with the camp experience? Some girls – and Guiders for that matter – may be just as likely to pack their cell phone as a necessity as they would toothpaste, sun block or a water bottle. Girls in 2011 might just be hard-wired with the expectation that they’ll be able to text their friends or parents with updates. And certainly a Guider or two has whipped out their cell phone at camp to check in with home (or get to the next level of Angry Birds).
So how do cell phones fit with the 2011 camp experience?
Girls in the digital generation are looking for an interactive experience. They’re used to collaborating – whether it’s on Facebook or texting incessantly – and often feel the need to know what’s happening RIGHT NOW and not miss out for even a second.
Is banning cell phones at camp the way to go? Or will that only turn off girls and Guiders from signing up for camp? (Recently, the Toronto District School Board, reversing an earlier decision, decided to allow cell phones in classrooms under certain conditions.) Maybe the key is offering a camp experience that is truly collaborative and that allows girls to always be a part of the action.
Should camps only allow cell phones to be used during down time? Or does that just go against the whole point of camp – developing independence, a stronger sense of self and making new friends.
Which brings us back to our opening question – do cell phones belong at camp? Tell us what you think.
By Mary, GGC staff
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