The Camp North Star experience for our campers is all about making new friends, developing new talents, learning valuable life skills and growing as an individual. Being attached to or using your cell phone or other piece of technology is not something you’ll see walking through our 200-acre property in Poland Spring, Maine. Camp North Star is proud to be screen-free and technology-free.
We want our campers to make strong connections with their camp friends and counselors not to a Wi-Fi network or the internet. The rest of the year, our campers are most likely part of an alarming set of statistics that has been on the rise recently. Teens are spending nine hours a day using digital media, with tweens falling not that far behind dedicating six hours a day to their smartphones or tablets. It is clearly a struggle for youth to manage their digital footprint.
Wendy Mogel, a clinical psychologist and the author of the parenting book “The Blessing of a Skinned Knee,” tells the story of a college student at a salad bar who texted her mother to ask if she liked ranch dressing, rather than testing it herself. Such dependent relationships can rob children of the chance to trust and believe in someone else besides their parents. Creating bonds with campers and staff is one of the most important benefits of the North Star experience, and it happens more naturally without the use of technology.
It is refreshing for our North Star community to unplug from technology during the camp season. It’s a much needed detox from cell phones, gaming systems, tablets, and laptops for a few weeks. Instead of using technology we see campers interacting more often with their camp friends by playing cards, a board game, a sports activity, or just having a face-to-face conversation.
One of the goals of our technology-free policy is to give our campers the ability to develop deep relationships and strong interpersonal communication skills without the distractions of their cell phones and social media. Parents often tell us that their child’s time at Camp North Star provides a much needed break and a chance for kids to just be kids. And that’s one of the most important facets of the North Star experience for our campers.