by Solly Kane, OSRUI Director
Camp is a great place for kids to unplug from technology. At camp, relationships are built face-to-face rather than through group chats and social media. Art is created with paintbrushes and pottery clay instead of Snapchat filters. Sports are played with balls, rackets, sweat, and occasionally a scrape or two, not a click or swipe. And, the weather is checked in the morning by stepping out on the cabin porch or rolling up the tent flaps, not by opening an app.
Technology can certainly be great, but as we prepare to welcome campers to OSRUI, here’s some guidance regarding our policy on electronics and technology at camp. I hope our parents will partner with us in making sure that all campers in our community adhere to these policies:
The electronics allowed at OSRUI are:
• Screen-less music players (e.g. iPod shuffles and iPod Nanos that do not have video capability are both allowed, as are other similar MP3 players or CD players). Our goal is to have devices that only have music on them, without games or internet access. This way, campers aren’t missing out on programming and time with the OSRUI community while playing on their devices. If there is a small screen on the music player to see the song information without any additional functionality, that is ok. There is no need to purchase expensive music players. If you do want to get a cheap option, we recommend the Sandisk Clip Jam Player (on Amazon).
Please make sure the music your child has downloaded is appropriate for a camp setting: e.g., no references to drugs, alcohol or sex, and no swear words. Campers must bring headphones as to not disturb others while listening to music.
• Digital or disposable cameras. Campers who would like to take photos at camp may bring an inexpensive digital camera, instant camera or disposable cameras. Make sure you pack enough memory cards, and batteries or chargers (for campers in cabins). If there is a small screen on the camera to view photos that is ok. Please discuss proper handling of the camera and how pictures should be taken of other campers and staff only with their permission.
• E-readers. In response to feedback from parents, we are allowing campers to bring e-readers to camp as long as their only functionality is to read books and they do not have any cellular data access. If your device has the ability to play games or watch videos, it is not allowed at camp.
We believe being at camp is an opportunity for your child to experience a world beyond home without being constantly connected through a cell phone. Camp is a place for children to make new friends, take responsibility for themselves and their bunkmates, problem solve and mature a bit. This is harder to achieve when parents are only a phone call or text away. We ask for your help with this policy. Please do not send your child(ren) to camp with a phone, even with the SIM card removed. Please make sure you put away your child’s cell phone before he or she leaves for camp. All cell phones brought to camp will be collected, kept in the camp’s safe, and returned to campers on closing day.
If your camper is traveling by air and bringing a cell phone for the trip, it will be put in the camp’s safe with any other valuables (cash for their trip, a copy of the return itinerary, etc.) and returned on closing day.
Camp is one of the few places throughout the year where kids can truly unplug, and we have made this decision to both honor and recognize this space as a wholesome, outdoorsy and safe place for all kids.
These policies are designed to create a welcoming and inclusive community at OSRUI. Thank you for your understanding and your cooperation.