In 1978, I was ten years old and I played outside A LOT. From hide and seek in the neighborhood to various types of ball games in the yard, recess at school, creek play, and goofing off in the woods in my grandma’s backyard, to of course CYO Camp. I was outside most of the time. I also watched TV, played pong, Atari, Barbie dolls, board games, and read books inside. When I reminisce about being a kid in the 70’s and 80’s, I fondly remember how it felt being outside and how being outside was just as “normal” as being inside.
The woods were my favorite. Being in the woods and among the trees felt peaceful and adventurous all at the same time. Just the other day when I was hiking around the snow-covered trails at camp, I felt the same way. These days, maybe more than others, that outside feeling is stronger probably because it is less frequent. Much like many people I do not go outside like I did when I was a kid or even as much as I did when my own kids were growing up. I am guilty of too many screens too many days. COVID-19 has not helped. My teens, who are in high school, are in the same boat. School and most of their pastimes involve a screen.
Articles speaking to the trouble with screens are popping up in several of the sites and blogs I visit regularly and they are proposing intentional time outdoors as an answer. It is so simple, but we are so human and do not always do what is simple or best for us.
One blog that I came across proposes that summer camp could be a significant antidote of our times. I don’t disagree. You may already now this about me, but I am a big believer in summer camp. If you would like to read the whole blog, you can check it out here:
This is the part I want to share:
“In 2020, 70 percent of camps didn’t open, many due to government restrictions, others by choice. The camps that did open showed great resiliency and creativity in adapting and flourishing within their new parameters, doing it better than most schools. While some families and staff chose to postpone their camp attendance until 2021 — most didn’t want to miss out, even in the midst of a pandemic, despite apprehensions. What were these people, crazy? Absolutely not. They strongly believed that the benefits outweighed the perceived risk. This June, after two compromised school years and everything that’s gone along with it, our children’s need for the benefits of summer camp will be crucially important:
We had a depressed young camper last summer who hadn’t left his apartment nor gotten fully dressed in months. By his third day of camp, his parents thanked us for “returning his childhood to him.” For many kids, camp is a more important social-emotional antidote than the actual vaccine.”
As you can see, the author, Andy Pritkin, does not just speak to being in nature as the antidote to screens or the pandemic because at summer camp there is so much more. Being in nature is the foundation that we stand on to make everything else, connections, relationships, resiliency, physical and mental health benefits, and learning, happen.
Yes, many camps opened last summer and ran summer programs that were successful despite the pandemic and many did not. CYO Camp, as you may know, ran only one week before closing. It was the best decision at the time.
Fast forward to 2021. This year will be different. We are planning eight weeks of summer camp for all the reasons lifted in the blog. Summer camp will look a bit different due to COVID-19, but it will still offer kids the same fun, faith filled, adventures it has in the past only now it is COVID-19 safe. Our practices will include mask wearing, sanitizing, distancing, and handwashing. In addition, due to a grant and matching donations, we are updating the camp facilities with touchless paper towel dispensers, anti-microbial counter tops, and more.
Life will likely never return to the time when being outside felt just as “normal” as being inside. Younger generations may never know how it feels to spend more time outside than inside, but I believe we can take steps in that direction. Summer camp is a solid step for children to experience all that outside has to offer. No screens allowed.
Interested in signing up a favorite kid in your life? Dates and fees have been posted at: https://www.campranchoframasa.org/dates-and-fees.html
Registration Opens February 15, 2021!
I can't wait!
Angi K Sullivan
Camp is such an unique experience! Our staff take turns sharing their perspectives of the experience that is CYO Camp Rancho Framasa!
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