Over the past year, we’ve shared several blogs that help explain our no electronics policy at camp. You can find some those blogs here and here. Our policy is that all cell phones and electronics should be left at home, and cell phones will no longer be allowed on the bus ride up. Any phones found at camp will not be saved for the end of the session, but rather packaged up carefully and shipped home. There are many reasons for this policy, which we have discussed in past emails and blogs. Kids need to be able to connect with each other and cannot do so while facedown in a screen. Kids need to learn how solve problems and can’t do that while texting you to solve them for them. Phones in koogees cause nothing but problems. Kids need to have time to disconnect to be able to be present in the world around them. Quite simply, they need a break.
This is our policy, but in order for it to be successful, we need parent support. Most of our parents help their child follow the no-phone rule and ensure their son’s phone stays at home. But all it takes is one child bringing his phone to camp to ruin the camp and koogee experience for everyone else. We need your help with this to make sure protect the Deerhorn Experience from the many problems cell phones cause.
But don’t take our word for it. We asked parents and the answer was a resounding “YES!” Last fall, we sent out a Survey Monkey that included the question “How strongly do you agree with our no cell phone policy?” Zero was strongly disagree and 100 was strongly agree. The final result was 96%, showing us that families really do support our no phone policy. We’d like to share some of their comments with you. These are just a few of the many supportive comments we received about our policy.
“Best thing camp has instilled in these kids. We are very happy with no electronics!! And even our son likes the break.”
“It is very hard on others when the rule is “NO Cell Phones” and some campers sneak them in. It makes everyone want to sneak it in the next year. Besides… my kids come back way better, kinder, and more engaged in the world around them when they have been able to immerse themselves in camp and get away from the hometown shenaigans. Having a phone would make kids more homesick too! It’s a bad idea for so many reasons.”
“It is a rare and special time away from the distraction of their phones. And I know if there is ever an emergency, Camp staff is reachable and responsive.”
“Honestly, if cell phones become optional I know Deerhorn would fail our family to some degree. We would choose not to send one but my son would be affected by their presence and by a changed culture for potential friendships and the nature of the basis of those friendships.”
“So simple it barely requires an explanation.”
“In my constant battle to have my kids engage in LESS screen time, I love this rule imposed by someone ELSE! Please keep it.”
“Camp is one of the last remaining places where we can send our son to enjoy summer and be outdoors. I like the idea of an ‘electronic free zone.'”
“I feel summer camp is the perfect time and place to put all electronics away and BE PRESENT!!”
“We do not feel our kids need any screen or phone time while at camp. This one place that you should count on for that. Thank you for doing that.”
“It’s a great time to disconnect from electronics! They don’t need it. Camp is a great place to learn to be independent from their parents and to learn to advocate for themselves. I think it is harder for the parents!”
“One of the great things about camp is no technology. We literally would not send him if tech was allowed.”
“As parents, we believe strongly — from experience — that the cell phones/iPads are SO addictive, that campers would skip activities, even meals (or show up late), etc.; and the very essence of Deerhorn — the brotherhood and bonding that occurs there — would be subordinated as an unintended consequence. Camp Deerhorn is only weeks, not months, of the year. It’s not “too long” to be away from electronics. As parents, we try to give deference to our kids’ priorities on so many things; this is one instance where going against their wishes is actually considered one of the benefits of paying for summer camp (and worth the price of missing them dearly while they’re gone).”
“If there was not a no-cell-phone policy, we would not send our son to Deerhorn. The opportunity to spend all or part of the summer away from temptations of screens is among the primary draws to a multi-week sleep away summer camp.”
“Being given the time to unplug from devices is crucial for the heathy development of young boys. Making authentic friendships and learning more about oneself as one grows is important. There is plenty of time during the rest of the year to utilize apps, phones, internet etc. This is a precious gift of time and space these boys are given. They may not realize it now but will be grateful later in life. It is also important for parents to be given the chance to let our boys be independent of us, all in a safe and well-guided environment like Deerhorn.”
“No electronics is a HUGE reason we love Deerhorn. Please do NOT change this rule. It would be a big letdown for us as parents.”
“I LOVE that my son is unplugged for 5 weeks!! enjoying the world through authentic means, talking face to face with others, learning and growing!!!!”
“Learning to become comfortable without devices is increasingly important for kids who have not known a world without them. Please don’t change your policy.”
“One of the many things I love about Deerhorn is the opportunity for my boys to be away from electronics for a time period. While I certainly understand that kids communicate differently today than in the past (via text, snap chat, etc.) I think an opportunity to communicate with others without a device is critical and Deerhorn provides them that opportunity in a safe and fun environment. To me, lifting the no cell phone policy would fundamentally alter one of the things that makes the experience so special and I hope that this doesn’t change.”