There are lots ways to think of the word ‘connection.’ You can talk about connecting to someone on the telephone, joining two transistors, connecting to the wireless. You can also talk about connecting with other people.
The first set of connections is mechanical – you plug pieces together or type in a few commands and you are connected. With humans, though, it’s a lot more emotional and it requires being in the present moment, together.
Not too long ago, to connect with someone across the city, state or the world, you had to make an expensive phone call or send a letter that would take well over a week.
Campers, you don’t know that world. Each of you were born into a world with literally instant communication with anyone, anywhere in the world. Rather than having to make individual connections like your parents did – phone call by phone call, letter by letter – you have group chats, Instagram broadcasts, and snapchats.
But, while you can connect with more people more easily, I wonder if you are less connected to your peers as your parents were to theirs? A lot of recent studies find you are not.
It seems that with the rise of connection over social media, we are being pushed further and further away from each other.
The Pull of Camp
Thankfully, for six glorious weeks each summer, we change that dynamic.
The individual social media ‘push’ turns into a camp-wide ‘pull’ of connection. We connect not only to those around us but the very moments in which we live. We spend more time focused on life ‘where our feet are’, rather than being distracted by anything else.
Two pretty impressive people had something similar to say about this need of connection. Albert Einstein talked about one thing he absolutely knew: we are here (on earth) for the sake of others. Mother Teresa talked about it in a slightly different way. She said, “If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.”
At America’s Finest Summer Camps, we get to practice this idea of belonging to one another. It’s a such a small community, we remove (almost all) technology, and we get to simply life and laugh and learn together. We make beds, share chores, play on teams, applaud the actors, and frolic together all day. It’s magic, isn’t it?
So the question is this: How can you take some this magic back home when your camp friends feel forever away?
Connection Back Home
Here are a few ideas on how to connect back home like you do at camp:
Idea #1: First of all, take a break from social media, Fort Nite, and other tech. Instead, go and do something with your parents, your siblings (yes, I said it!), or your friends. Play a card game, take a walk, throw a ball, build legos, cook something…. The key is to do something that requires you to interact face to face rather than with your thumbs.
Idea #2: Keep a gratitude journal. You talked about it every night at camp with your counselors. Why not do it at home? Get a small notebook, place it by your bed, and jot down your happies from that day every night before going to bed. Want extra credit? Share those thoughts with your parents. It helps you be more in the moment and realize what’s really important in your day.
Idea #3: Sit with someone new at lunch or reach out to some you’ve not met yet. Yes, I know it’s hard from a social situation but it is no less important. When you get to know people outside ‘your circle’, you stretch. When you stretch, you grow.
I’m sure you can take a few moments and come up with some ideas of your own. The key is to make the effort… and that takes courage and the right attitude. So, for the week ahead, do some pulling with those around you. Have a great week!