In my opinion, the electronics-free environment at Camp Ozark is one of the greatest parts of the summer camp experience. It really is a big part of how Camp Ozark lives up to what they say on the website, “We want each and every camper we serve to have an incomparable experience.”
But what does “electronics-free” mean exactly? Here’s the official policy: “To fully experience Camp Ozark, campers are not allowed to bring cell phones or other mobile communication or transmittable devices (like iPads, iPods, Apple watches, etc.) to camp, nor are campers allowed to receive or make telephone calls, text, or email while in attendance at Camp Ozark.”
Confession: as a mom of three teens, the electronics-free policy just might be my favorite thing about Camp Ozark. Personally, I feel like a session at Camp Ozark gives my kids the gift of real-life connection with nature, new friends, engaging college students, and God…I just can’t think of anything better. It’s, in a word, refreshing!
Unplug! Camp Ozark creates the perfect opportunity for kids to unplug and to experience life away from their devices and social media. The camp environment sets this up perfectly. I love the fact that the counselors are also unplugged – they don’t have transmittable devices either! When everyone around you isn’t distracted by a device…then everyone is all-in, engaged, and free to experience all Ozark has to offer. The experience of being unplugged, even if it’s just for one or two weeks, has benefits beyond camp. Hopefully, your camper will go home and find time to be unplugged, too.
Make REAL LIFE friends! Social media has helped people to connect, strengthen, and maintain friendships, but it has come with a downside. Some studies have shown that young people who primarily maintain their friendships online may lag their peers in empathy, understanding of their friend’s emotions, and sensitivity towards others. Camp Ozark focuses on developing genuine, face-to-face friendships. My kids have such deep connections with their camp friends, even those from other cities. Although they are only with these friends for two weeks each year, they are completely unplugged, and therefore able to really bond and experience camp together. Truly, camp friends are friends forever!
Camp Ozark encourages campers to look around, not down! Without the distraction of screens and social media, campers can really see the things around them. It’s pretty amazing to see so many kids on Closing Day jumping around, singing, laughing with friends, with no one’s head buried down in a device. The campers have just spent two weeks appreciating nature, making genuine friends, trying new things, and fully experiencing everything Camp Ozark has to offer.
Check out this blog about how you can connect with your camper (even though they are electronics-free). And don’t forget: Camp Moms are your liaison with your camper if you need to discuss anything related to your camper. They are happy to help you in any way!