Connectivity at Camp
Updated: Jan 17, 2021
These days technology makes it so easy to keep in contact with anyone and everyone around you. We FaceTime just to say hey or Snapchat maps to show where we are, you post what you do onto your story or else it did not happen or even post memes in a group chat so they know you have not dropped off the face of the earth. All of these things we now class as normal day to day tasks, we do them without even realising. But what happens when we go to camp – what is the deal with Wi-Fi? Wait, can I even have my phone with me?
Do not worry! These questions are all valid as being connected is the norm, however many summer camps were created before the mobile phone and the concept of being connected definitely has a different meaning at camp. So with that being said, what does that mean about their views and policies about mobile phones?
Each and every camp has a slightly different policy concerning phones and you should definitely ask them if you have any questions - remember no question is too small or silly. Even whilst I have been working over the past six years at summer camp, they have evolved their policy from no phone whatsoever, to only using it privately, out of sight of campers and - in plain language - not using it as a phone. They have had to change with technology because a phone is not just a phone anymore; it is your camera, it is your music device, it is your alarm clock.
The main question I hear is: ‘How do you get in contact with home?’ Camp is very understanding that you want to communicate with friends and family at home. My camp has an area with Wi-Fi and computer so if you need to print you can, if you need to check university exam results you can. If you want to call home, FaceTime, check social media, you can do all of this within this designated area.
Even though camp has extended these amenities to you, there may be times when you can and cannot use them, because at the end of the day, it is a job, you are not at a resort. Plus another thing to consider is where geographically your camp is located. The reality could be that the internet connection is not going to be as good as in a city. Loading times may be longer and picture quality may be more pixelated, this is just the nature of the lifestyle.
Something else to consider is connecting with friends and family in a different way, like mail? Getting mail at camp is exciting and sometimes surprising. Yes, it is not the quickest way to communicate but it is experiencing something different. Why not consider writing a letter or postcard, it could brighten someone’s day back home to be hearing from you unexpectedly.
Another question I hear is: ‘Should I get a Canadian phone plan?’ This one will require you to do personal research as the answer differs per person. Firstly, I would research your own phone plan at home and see if they have their own overseas plan. This could be your cheapest option as phone plans in Canada are still relatively expensive in comparison to other countries. I would ask yourself if you really need to make calls, texts and have data whilst in Canada or if you can be happy connecting to Wi-Fi everywhere you go - because in Canada there is Wi-Fi everywhere; hostels, restaurants, stores, malls etc. This should help you figure out your answer.
Many people enjoy summer camp because of the memories they personally create at camp, or the people that they connect with. The key at summer camp is to disconnect from the digital devices to reconnect to human connection. Connect with the art of conversation, to be outside, to grow real relationships and to live in the moment. All of these fundamentals work together to create a sense of community and a place of belonging - the same things we look for from social media.
Having a break from technology - living off the grid - can offer the opportunity to experience daily life in a simpler way. Camp life builds from those face to face interactions and living close to nature - both which are becoming a rarity in today’s world.
This new adventure that you are embarking on, you want to completely immerse yourself in the experience, embrace the new places that you will visit and the people you will meet. How can you do that if you are constantly craving for the ping of a notification or your face glued to a screen. Because before you know it, your summer will fly by and how will you want to remember it?