The New Phone Policy: Creating a Culture To Stand The Test Of Time
This summer, Camp George experienced a significant change in its technology policy that initially left both staff and campers feeling distraught. The new revision restricted the use of all cell phones during hours of operation, from morning Mifkad to bedtime at around 10 pm. However, the current phone policy takes a step further in promoting the use of alternative devices such as MP3 players and digital/disposable cameras. This shift aims to bring back the essence of an era before the dominance of smartphones, when campers were more connected to each other and nature rather than their screens. The impact of this new policy has been remarkable, fostering a reconnection with the camp’s culture. Many staff and campers reminisce about their earlier days at Camp George, where smartphones were not a constant presence, and the focus was on engaging programs and exciting activities. Even for those who initially found it challenging to be without their screens, the distractions of camp life quickly took precedence.
When I first came to camp in 2011 as an N1 pumpkin pie, I didn’t have a smartphone; nor did my staff, or even my parents for that matter. Coming to camp was a disconnect from things like the Nintendo Wii and TV. For seven year old Adam Krugel, it was a challenge. However, the engaging programs and full, exciting days of Camp George kept me occupied and distracted me from my screen habits. Over the years, technology has evolved rapidly, and smartphones have become an integral part of our daily lives. The younger generation has grown up with these devices as a constant companion, and it has become increasingly challenging to imagine a time before rapid telecommunication and instant access to information. Camp George, too, adapted to these changes, introducing TVs in the dining hall and digital platforms like Slack for daily communication. However, the loss of summer 2020 due to the pandemic served as a turning point for Camp George. When the camp finally reopened, it became evident that the excessive use of cellular devices, driven by necessary covid precautions, had disrupted the traditional camp culture. In an effort to reclaim our camp’s essence and move past the pandemic, the implementation of the new phone policy was necessary. By restricting cell phone use during camp activities and encouraging the use of alternate devices, we have successfully witnessed a revival of genuine connections, meaningful conversations, and a deeper appreciation for the beauty of our surroundings. Campers have slowly but enthusiastically embraced the change, rediscovering the joy of unplugging and immersing themselves in the camp’s spirit. The success of this phone policy can be measured in the countless heartwarming moments that have filled this summer at Camp George.
The sounds of laughter, the sight of friendships forming, and the genuine enthusiasm for every activity reaffirm our belief that we made the right decision. This year’s camp experience has reminded us all that true connection lies not in the screens we hold but in the bonds we build with one another and with nature. As we conclude this transformative summer, we are proud of the steps we took to restore Camp George’s culture and its core values. We are grateful for the support and understanding of our campers and staff, who embraced the change with open hearts and minds. Together, we have made this summer an unforgettable journey of rediscovery, reaffirming the magic that lies within our camp’s traditions and the joy of being truly present in each moment. As we look forward to future summers, we are excited to continue this path of preserving our camp’s culture, fostering genuine connections, and creating memories that will last a lifetime. With renewed spirits, we move ahead, knowing that our commitment to change has brought us closer together and strengthened the very essence of Camp George.
Written by: Adam Krugel, Barak Assistant Unit Head