May 16, 2014

True Sounds of Algonquin Park

I scream, you scream, we all scream for NO SCREENS. Birds chirping, loons calling, campers laughing, cell phones ringing? One of these things clearly doesn’t belong and I’m sure we all know which one.

Many other camps have their own rules and philosophies on what form of electronics are acceptable at their camp and why. For Tamakwa, it’s always been simple. We believe camp is about disconnecting from the high tech city life we face 10 months a year. It’s about talking face to face with a camper and not text to text. It’s about walking to a friend’s cabin to ask them about their activity selection the next day and not calling about it. We want Tamakwans to appreciate nature, appreciate the simplicity of life without technology and appreciate the people around them.

Tamakwa is not going back to the dark ages and we have plenty of modern day features. In fact two of our most popular activities are Music Recording and Camp TV. Yet these activities involve creativity, team work, learning and growing in a very campy setting.

Tamakwa has always loved and embraced music and we know many campers like to fall asleep to music, listen during rest hour or jam to music during an activity. This is why musical devices have always been allowed at camp, inside cabins. What we don’t want however, are campers sitting around their cabins watching movies and videos. In order to avoid the confusion over which devices are allowed (yes, even if you take the SIM card out, a cell phone is NOT allowed at camp) and lead to countless hours of discussion on whether videos were accidentally left on an iPod, we have recently established a NO SCREEN policy.

We know your packing list is long but we promise this small purchase will make life much happier for everyone. Current Tamakwa parent and tech guru, Marc Saltzman, has offered three inexpensive and easy-to-use devices as suggestions, each for $50 (CDN): iPod Shuffle for Mac and PC users as well as the Sony Walkman USB and SanDisk Clip Sport, which work best with PC’s. Items are easily accessible at Best Buy, The Source, your local electronics store or, of course, Amazon. All three options can easily upload music from iTunes.

For those concerned about our transportation days, rest assured all camper buses have staff members travelling with cell phones for emergency purposes. Campers who are travelling by plane may bring a cell phone for travelling purposes but must check their phone into the office upon their arrival at camp for their entire duration at camp.

For additional items that should NOT be brought to camp, please reference our “What NOT to Bring to Camp” list in the Green Book which, in addition to electronics, includes HOT POTS, HAIR DRYERS, CURLING IRONS, and FANS.

Thank you for helping your campers thrive away from technology. We promise they will appreciate the break from pressures that exist around the need for constant communication back home.

In case you missed it, Click Here to hear Camp Director Craig Perlmutter on CBC Radio One talking about Tamakwa’s electronics policy.

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