Colby and Jaden went to the camp meeting a couple weeks ago and got all the details on the girls upcoming youth camp trip. They came home relaying all of the information to Jaci and I so we could all sort through it together. There was important information about medications, a suggested packing list, pick-up and drop-off times, and more. One of the “more” topics was the cell phone policy.
We all went back and forth on this. When our older kids went to camp (several years ago), cell phones were a whole different story. Social media was different. Texting was different. Everything was not as it is now in the way we use our smartphones. The fact that the girls would be going away for 4 days was enough, then we had to decide whether or not we wanted 24/7 access to them while they were there.
Instinctively, my maternal side wanted them to have their phones. This meant I could reach them at any given moment (at least, in theory). They could let me know they arrived safely at camp or survived the Iron Man Competition. I could make sure they were drinking plenty of water, using their sunblock as directed, and eating well. You know, all the things we moms do when they are in our presence.
But, the more practical side of me said no. Leave the phones at home. After all, they could get broken or stolen. You could drop your phone while zip lining or forget you have it when you jump into the pool. Again, all the things I worry about when they are right beside me doing these things. More importantly, I wanted them to completely unplug. To fully immerse themselves into the youth camp experience and to come back feeling refreshed.
It wasn’t an easy choice for the “mom” in me, but we all decided leaving the phones home was the best decision.
And it was.
They survived. Colby and I survived. Although, I have to admit to stalking the church’s social media accounts looking for evidence that all was well on the first day. I simply needed some sort of confirmation that they made it to camp. Afterwards, I would look at the (very small amount of) pictures that were posted to see what they might have done that day. To possibly get a glance at one of my girls.
Other than one late text from Jaden (through a friend’s phone) on the day the girls arrived, we didn’t have contact with the girls the entire time. When we picked them up from camp, they were exhausted… but full of stories about the friends the made, things they learned, and memories made. It was incredible. Everything I hoped they would experience while away.
No technology. No distractions. Jaden said she was the only one in her cabin without a phone and Jaci said two others in her cabin did not bring them. We gave the girls some good ol’ fashioned disposable cameras for any “just-in-case” pictures. Jaden took one shot and Jaci took three. Both were too involved and busy during their time away that they didn’t even think about pictures. And that was fine. In fact, it was perfect.