Yes, Camp Ramah in the Berkshires is “unplugging” with the intention of making Camp a screen free environment for our campers. So, why are we doing this? We are doing this to promote healthy socialization amongst campers, teach communication skills, and enable children to make meaningful bonds with people face-to-face instead of through a screen. We are doing this because we know that campers need a break from the world of technology. We are doing this to enable our staff to build a stronger bunk and edah community. And, we are doing this to ensure that your children will not be exposed to inappropriate material.
We are training our counselors, specialists and hanhallah on how to implement this policy. Awareness is one step to making this work. In addition, we are devoting our energies to pre-season workshops, staff week sessions and in-season hands-on training. These efforts will certainly empower each staff member in assisting our campers to consciously “unplug to connect”.
- Talk to your child about Camp’s technology policy
- Provide a basic (screen free) MP3 player, including the original IPod, IPod Shuffle or Sansa clip, for your child. Listening to music on one of these devices is totally permissible.
- Send books and games to play.
- Do not pack or send any devices with WI-FI or cellular capabilities to Camp. This means anything ranging from cell phones to IPods to game systems should be left at home.
- Devices erroneously brought to Camp will be returned to you. Devices not permitted in camp:
- Cell phones (campers entering 4th through 8th grades)
- Video players of any sort
- PSP’s, Gameboys, or any other electronic video game system
Are there exceptions to the new rule? Yes, there are exceptions to the 2016 technology policy for our entering 9th, 10th and 11th graders. Campers entering 9th and 10thgrades will be allowed to use their cell phones during out of Camp trips. Phones and chargers will be collected on Day #1 at Camp and returned to campers for use during specified times outside of Camp. In addition, our 11th graders, in keeping with historical phone privileges, will be allowed limited use of their phones in and outside of Camp during designated times. (More details to follow)
Thank you for helping to implement, support and embrace this significant change in Camp policy and culture. As always, thank you for entrusting us with your children. I am confident that once our returning campers adjust to the new rule they will appreciate it.
With warm regards,
Rabbi Paul Resnick