EDITORIAL: Summer camp offers a return to imagination

Put down the phone and unleash the potential within yourself

One-quarter of nine and 10-year-old children in Canada have their own cellphones.

By the time they get to Grade 6, more than 40 per cent will have their own devices and by high school, that number jumps to 90 per cent, and it’s been estimated that, on average, we all check our phones about once every 12 minutes.

And although there are doubtlessly many positive aspects to the hyper-connectivity of today’s society, there are also serious pitfalls.

We’ve all read about the dangers of online predators, cyberbullying, internet addiction, pornography, and the loss of privacy related to cellphones.

But Vancouver Island’s Camp Thunderbird has highlighted what is perhaps the most insidious aspect of burying our existence in our devices and it’s a problem that rarely gets discussed.

The loss of imagination.

Camp Thunderbird, you see, believes that part of its job is to let children use new experiences to lead them to the consideration of what else is possible. Phones don’t do that.

So, at Camp Thunderbird, there are no phones – no online devices of any kind – allowed.

The children and, yes, even the counsellors, spend their days swimming, hiking and exploring. They practice archery, they learn to paddle canoes, and, more than anything, they talk.

They also laugh.

It’s laughter that isn’t signified by an “LOL” or an insipid laughing emoji. It’s true laughter, the infectious sort that rings through the air and feeds the soul.

And, instead of checking their phones to see if anyone has “friended” them, the children are actually busy making friends; friendships can last for years, if not a lifetime.

It’s a radical concept and one that too many of us have forgotten.

It hearkens back to a time when childhood and imagination walked hand in hand and when children spread the wings of their minds to take wing on flights of fancy and the contemplation of the impossible.

It was a time of making friends and dreaming of the future.

If summer camps like Camp Thunderbird manage to do nothing more than to allow children to escape the YouTube videos, Facebook nonsense, online games, and incessant text messages that have replaced conversations, they have done a great service to us all.

Perhaps we should all take a page from Thunderbird’s book and, every so often, take a break from our devices.

We can only imagine the result.

RELATED: Life away from devices offers young campers a welcome change


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Cowichan Mountie cleared of wrongdoing after woman’s arm broken during arrest

Police were called around 10 p.m. on Dec. 30, 2019 to remove a “severely intoxicated” woman

Duncan using empty streetscape to move forward with public works downtown

Some projects scheduled for later in the year accelerated due to COVID-19 quiet

Investigators seek witnesses in Langford shooting death of Angela Dalman

Police seek out dash cam footage, home security videos and neighbourhood witnesses

VIDEO: More than 85 people displaced by Campbell River apartment fire

Traffic is being diverted around Dogwood Street and 9th Avenue

‘Langford Cares’ campaign to cover hotel expenses for frontline health care workers

Initiative gives back to health care staff living on the West Shore

UPDATE: Canadians awake to extra COVID-19 emergency benefit money, feds clarify changes

The CRA and federal officials are working to clarify the confusion around payments

Canoe found in men’s public bathroom in Cadboro-Gyro Park

‘Please do not park your canoe in our bathrooms,’ say Saanich parks staff

Judge rejects pandemic as reason to grant bail to immunocompromised prisoner

Esquimalt man told there are more health risks for addicts on the street than there are in jail

B.C. sorting medical equipment sales, donation offers for COVID-19

Supply hub has call out for masks, gowns, coronavirus swabs

B.C. records five more deaths due to COVID-19, 45 new cases

A total of 838 people have recovered from the virus

Major crimes investigating sudden death of North Okanagan child

The 8 year old was flown to Kelowna General Hospital and died hours later

VicPD asks for help finding owner of recovered camera

Camera contained images of a family celebrating a wedding

Easter Bunny added to B.C.’s list of essential workers

Premier John Horgan authorizes bunny to spread “eggs-ellent cheer” throughout province

Island recreation sites with camping facilities closed until June

Trail sites still open, provided safety can be ensured

Most Read