YMCA of Rochester Kids and Summer Camps: Unplug and Connect

Industry: Children and Families

It is increasingly important that children learn to unplug from their media devices, according to experts who say the problem continues to grow.

Rochester, NY (PRUnderground) February 27th, 2015

It is increasingly important that children learn to unplug from their media devices, according to experts who say the problem continues to grow. According to a report by Pew Research Center, in 2012 78% of teens have cell phones and almost half of those (47%) have smart phones. The report states that about three in four (74%) teens ages 12-17 say they access the internet on cell phones, tablets, and other mobile devices at least occasionally.

According to The Children and Nature Network, “Children who spend more time with media report that they receive lower grades, reporting more often that they are sad or unhappy compared to children who spend less time with media.”

The American Camping Association calls technology a drug in a January 13, 2015, article titled, “Camp: The Ultimate 21st Century Skills Learning Environment.” The article suggests parents are like drug pushers, recognizing the issues but not governing their child’s technology consumption. It seems increasingly important that children have resources that provide or require time to unplug and connect with each other, role models, and nature.

Resident summer camp provides such experiences for these children and families looking to unplug. YMCA Camp Gorham, in the Adirondack Mountains of New York state, does not have to worry about this challenge. Cell phones have limited service, forcing children to say goodbye to constant texting or Instagram-ing in exchange for a more traditional form of communication, talking.

“We find children, once they get over the fact that their cell phones are not going to work, really enjoy the freedom from such devices. Campers go home refreshed and renewed, with new skills in communication,” states Anne Thornton, Executive Director of YMCA Camp Gorham. “Children state they have never made such good friends as they do at camp, and that is because relationships are not interrupted.”

YMCA resident (overnight) camping relies on the traditional model of group work. Overnight camping brings children together to make decisions, plan activities, laugh, play, and move around. Michele Rowcliffe, District Executive of Overnight Camp for the YMCA of Greater Rochester, says, “Lately I see parents having a more difficult time disconnecting from their children. After 24 hours at camp, campers are ready for more engagement, more excitement, and more activity. They find the relationships they have suddenly discovered overshadow their longing for their cell phone.”

Michele has spent the last 15 summers overseeing operations at YMCA Camp Cory, on beautiful Keuka Lake. “At both Camp Gorham and Camp Cory we take hundreds of photos each day, try to capture the sheer joy in each camper’s photo so parents are reassured that the experience is worth every difficult moment away.”

And with the many camps in the area, you can schedule personal tours to get a feel for them beforehand.

This story is provided and presented by our sponsor, the YMCA of Greater Rochester Overnight Camps.

About YMCA OF GREATER ROCHESTER

YMCA of Rochester New York provides new camps to help kids unplug and connect with nature.

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YMCA of Rochester
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