Sunday Snippet: The Value of Unplugging At WeHaKee!
With our first group of campers arriving next week, it is a good time to revisit our technology policies at WeHaKee and how we embrace and escape technology at camp.
One of the primary roles of the Camp WeHaKee experience is to provide girls and young women the opportunity to appreciate nature and the environment and its relationship with God’s creation. Therefore, consistent with our mission to support a positive community of individuals who share and grow together, Camp WeHaKee chooses to limit the use of electronic devices and other technology yet embraces such technology when it engages campers and staff together in community life and enhances the welcoming environment that is WeHaKee.
When girls come to Camp WeHaKee they and their parents are making a leap of faith, temporarily transferring their primary care from the parents to Camp WeHaKee and our counselors. This is one of the most significant growth-producing, yet very challenging aspects of camp. As girls learn to trust other caring adults, they grow and learn to face and overcome their own challenges. We believe this emerging independence is one of the greatest benefits of Camp WeHaKee and is an important way each girl develops greater self-confidence and resilience. A camper having ready phone and/or internet access essentially means she has not made this transition. And, it prevents Camp WeHaKee staff from identifying and assisting with problems that campers may have adjusting to the camp community. As a result, Camp WeHaKee has a fundamental concern with campers having ready access to phones, cell phones, email, IM or other internet communications at camp, and that is trust.
If parents have concerns, anxieties or simply questions about their daughter’s adjustment at camp, parents are always welcome to contact the WeHaKee Directors at anytime. The Directors or staff will contact parents immediately if a child is experiencing a challenge in their adjustment to camp. Parents are also encouraged to talk with their daughters before they leave for camp to tell them that there will be people at camp that they can reach out to, including their counselors, a trusted activity leader, the camp nurse or doctor or even the Directors.
EMAIL & INTERNET BASED COMMUNICATIONS
Campers’ use of computers and the internet is possible for camp program enrichment that is guided and supervised by the camp program staff. However, except in extreme cases of emergency as deemed by the Directors, campers do not have access to email, social networking or other forms of internet based communications while attending Camp WeHaKee. We do offer parent the opportunity to send emails to their daughters through a special service provided through our online registration service. When these messages arrive at Camp WeHaKee, they are printed and distributed with the day’s mail in the campers’ mail boxes.
TELEPHONES & CELL PHONES
Telephone and cell phone communications are a necessary part of providing a safe community. Telephone use (including cell phones) is limited to staff or volunteers who are conducting camp business, or by staff when on scheduled time off. Staff, volunteer or guest use of personal cell phones should not occur within the sight or auditory range of the campers. Camp WeHaKee works to ensure telephone accessibility for all staff, volunteers and guests recognizing the challenges inherent in operating in a remote location such as camp.
Except in extreme cases of emergency as deemed by the Directors, campers do not have access to telephones or cell phones while attending Camp WeHaKee.
PERSONAL & INDIVIDUAL ELECTRONIC DEVICES
The use of personal or individual electronic devices (such as Ipods, Mp3 players, etc.) is discouraged as they can often distract from the sense of community and belonging found at Camp WeHaKee. Although we recognize that during the long trips to and from camp, the limited use of these devices may provide variety for the campers; staff have planned adequate games and interactions for such trips.
Campers may use personal or individual electronic devices only during long bus/camp vehicle rides with the permission of the vehicle chaperones. Other times may be permissible as deemed by the Directors. Such exceptions should still be in cases that cause little or no distraction from the sense of community and belonging. Camp WeHaKee reserves the right to limit or prohibit the use of personal or individual electronic devices at anytime particularly when it is determined to be detrimental to the positive community environment.
Content or media used with personal or individual electronic devices that is deemed offensive (including vulgar language or images) or threatening in any manner is strictly prohibited and may result in the confiscation of the content, media and/or device by the Directors. Those engaging in the use of offensive or threatening content/media may be subject to consequences including the immediate removal from camp or camp related activities.
Campers are not allowed to use or be in the possession of personal or individual electronic devices that are capable of connecting with a cellular network while at camp or participating in camp sponsored trips or events.
CAMERAS, VIDEO RECORDERS AND OTHER IMAGE CAPTURING DEVICES
Camp WeHaKee does utilize cameras and video recorders to record images of camp participants, events, activities and facilities for community sharing as well as archival and promotional use. Camp staff and campers (with guided & supervised direction) may have the opportunity to use WeHaKee equipment for such purposes.
The use of cameras, camcorders and other personal image capturing devices is welcomed as a way for each participant to record experiences while attending Camp WeHaKee. Campers, staff, volunteers & guests are asked to use such equipment in a positive and respectful manner while at camp or participating in camp related events.
However, certain guidelines and restrictions apply while at Camp WeHaKee or participating in camp related activities:
- Cameras, video recorders or any other type of image capturing devices may be used throughout camp, during camp related activities as well as inside cabins when all persons inside the cabin are fully and appropriately dressed. All camp community members will respect the wishes of others if requested that photos, videos or other images not be taken of them or other camp community members.
- Photos, video or other images of camp community members in revealing, compromising, embarrassing or other inappropriate poses, positions or situations are not permitted. Cameras, video recorders or any other type of image capturing devices are strictly prohibited in restrooms and/or shower houses at anytime (including the taking of pictures or video from outside these facilities of images within through windows, doors or other openings).
- Use of photos, video or other images of Camp WeHaKee or its participants should not be placed on non-Camp WeHaKee officially sanctioned websites, social networking sites (such as Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, etc.) or other non-approved locations at anytime.
- Use of photos, video or other images of Camp WeHaKee participants that are used to intentionally embarrass, threaten, or harm (emotionally, physically or and otherwise) others is strictly prohibited.
Campers are not allowed to use or be in the possession of personal computers such as laptops, iPads tablet or other types of personal computers while at camp or participating in camp sponsored trips or events.
It has been our experience that although most of our campers have ready access to a variety of tech devices in their day to day life, they adapt quickly as they unplug from the constant stream data. As a result, they enhance their social skills and abilities to positively relate to each other. And parents consistently report that upon their return home, their daughters incorporate more non-screen time as they return to their daily lives.
As you prepare for your daughter’s departure for WeHaKee this summer, here is a recent New York Times article that might help you and her approach the prospect of limited technology: Phone-Sick at Camp.
Thanks for reading and have a great week!