At Camp we are here for theater and each other, not for the Internet, computer games, or phone calls
Inspirations Camps strive to create an atmosphere where students are engaged with our theatrical activities, present with their fellow campers and staff, and aware of themselves and their inner moods as they explore their theatrical expression. While we value alone time, reflection, and our students' need to unwind while at camp, we find that electronics and other media bring an atmosphere that is at odds with the goals we strive for in our time together here.
Although people use electronics and media in different ways, we have found that some can use them to isolate themselves, escape, or create cliques (certain people at camp 'allowed' to see certain content, or play certain games, while others are excluded). During camp sessions we want all students engaged with themselves, with each other, or with the theatrical activity at hand: being on a cell phone or playing a computer game do not support that goal. During our breaks we want our students to either enjoy each other's company or one of a variety of healthy reflection / rejuvenation activities, including outside play, games, and/or artwork / journaling--or just some time to oneself, perhaps reading. We believe that this array of options available during our breaks serve to balance our other activities at camp in ways that are healthy and socially inclusive.
EMERGENCY / NECESSARY CONTACT EXCEPTION
We realize that on certain days, communication between campers and their parents and/or people who are picking them up is necessary. For example, a child may be dropped off at camp but the parent still needs to work out who is picking them up, and when; and that parent needs a way to leave a message with the child during the day, or communicate live / in real-time with their child sometime during the camp day.
For this situation, we allow students to bring a cell-phone (or computer, if absolutely necessary) to camp that day. The camper will check the device in with a staff member when they arrive at camp, letting that staff member know what that day's needs are for communication, and the likely timing. The staff member will then place the electronics device in a locked container for the camp day. When the student needs the device at the agreed upon time(s), the staff member will retrieve the device; after the student is finished using it, they will return it to the staff member to put back in the box. When the student's pick-up person has arrived, or the student is ready to depart camp, s/he will be able to retrieve their electronic item.
From arrival at camp to the end of our day, our campers focus on theater activities and each other. Iphones/phones, computer games, and personal music devices are not part of our camp environment. Students either leave these at home or check them in for safekeeping at the beginning of the camp day.