Andy Pritikin, owner/director, Liberty Lake Day Camp, www.libertylakedaycamp.com
Today’s parents are glued to technology for work and pleasure; in turn, kids learn from their parents and follow suit. It is more important than ever to find solutions so kids can become well adjusted and prepared for adulthood.
Research shows that the happiest children use the least amount of technology and spend time playing outdoors. Besides kicking them out of your house, there is the long-standing tradition of summer camp, which not enough American families appreciate and utilize.
At camp, kids are forced to put down the electronics, spend time outdoors, navigate the ups and downs of peer relationships and deal with the frustrations of life: not getting everything you want, heat, rain, mud, bugs, as well as that annoying kid in your group.
It’s not about the bells and whistles, but the simple things. Such as waiting your turn in line, being part of a losing/winning team, and challenging yourself to climb the rock wall again – even after coming up short the first two times.
In Richard Louv’s book, “Last Child in the Woods,” he coined the phrase “Nature Deficit Disorder,” which is relevant, considering how many schools barely allow the kids out for recess and gym class.
And after school there’s sports, dance, karate, homework, and addictive video games, Internet and TV.
Busy parents prioritize the “immediate stuff” and forget about the “real stuff,” resulting in a generation of kids with more mental health issues than ever.
Consider camp for your child this summer – it’s an easy antidote to modern society that will give your kids great new experiences, teach them the skills of life, and let them be kids – the way humans did for thousands of years, until technology took hold of our common sense!