Did you know that on average, 8-18 year old kids spend 7.5 hours a day behind screens? (Source: https://www.cbsnews.com/2100-500398_162-6120342.html) That’s over 50 hours a week spent on cell phones, computers, and other electronic devices. With all the other activities we have at ISTC, we barely have one hour in the week, let alone 50, to spare. ISTC is one of the few places left where kids can enjoy an “unplugged life” and experience what life was like before technology took over. We love technology, but also love taking a step away for a while and soaking up the new experiences that camp provides.
For this reason, cell phones and Internet-enabled devices are not allowed at ISTC. Camp Director Mark Major’s policy is “If you can’t dunk it into the lake, don’t bring it to camp.” ISTC has many goals for our sports camp: to provide a safe environment for campers to have fun, to teach lessons like discipline, teamwork, and self-worth through sports, to encourage kids to be unique individuals, to learn about other cultures from around the world, to face fears and get out of comfort zones, to foster new friendships, and to build self-reliance and autonomy. Cell phones do not play any useful role in helping campers to fulfilling these goals and distract them from reaching the full ISTC experience.
By prohibiting cell phones and all internet- enabled devices at ISTC, we see these results:
- More socialization between campers
- Increase in camper independence
- More separation (and less stress) from home situations
- Reduction in privacy issues
- Elimination of the risk of cell phones being stolen
- Strong focus on sports and cabin activities
We understand that you may want to contact your child during their stay at ISTC and we encourage more “old school” communication methods. For example, writing letters is always a great way to stay in touch, and there’s nothing quite like receiving a handwritten note in the mail! ISTC also offers a one-way email service where parents can write their campers emails that are delivered once daily after breakfast. To access this email system, log on to your Camp Minder homepage and scroll down to the ‘Email’ option.
Finally, we have a camper phone line that is open from 1:15pm – 2:30pm Thursday through Saturday on which campers can receive phone calls from home. That number is (570) 620-1795. If you choose to call your camper, please keep in mind that phone calls from home take children away from other fun camp activities!
If any camper is found with a cell phone or Internet-enabled decide, ISTC will store it in the office until the camper checks out. There will be a $25.00 fee when collecting the confiscated item, and the money will be donated to the non-profit American Camp Association fund (link: no website for this cause!) that enables underprivileged children to attend camp.
At the time, not being able to communicate to the outside world through a cell phone or Internet-enable device may seem like a big deal, but the benefits far outweigh the cost. Taking a break from constant communication helps tremendously to develop independence and reduce the constant buzz from electronics. We can think of 50 better ways to use that 50 hours in a camper’s week at ISTC!