I love summers at camp. Kids are hanging out with friends, roving around camp in staff led groups of 10-12, singing crazy songs, and talking. Really talking…like, face-to-face talking. Not texting, not IM, not posting. Really talking. Usually around the third day of camp, I start hearing stories from the staff about their prayer times as a group during Trail Talk. “And then….the kid who had been pestering us all week, prayed for his sick grandma!” Yes! Relationships being built!

For those of us that live and breathe camp, our advanced form of communication during the summer becomes walkie-talkies. Two way radios are so much fun to use at a summer camp. Quite often the cellphone signal cuts out, so using a walkie-talkie ensures that you can stay in touch with everyone. That being said, ours are definitely due an upgrade! I know there are some amazing commercial two way radios in NYC so I might have to shop around to get some new ones. Thanks to camp, each of my kids got their own radio before they got their own phone. There’s a protocol to using a radio. When I ask where someone is located I get a description in camp-ese: I’m at the SCO (Summer Camp Office), In the MO (Main Office), heading up to the FC (the Fawver Center) when I ask about what’s going on, I may get a verbal description of what is going on & their reaction to it. No photos texted or emoji sent.

When summer camp ends, and my kids go back to school, outside of the 2 mile range of their radios, I mourn the fact that we, like other modern families, start relying on the phones: texting for our daily communication. Communication has to go back to 2017-warp speed.

One of my kids recently told me, “I can’t hear God…He NEVER answers!” (Insert exasperated foot stomp!) Helping our kids to develop a healthy spiritual life can be so difficult these days. It seems that our technological dependence has shortened our attention spans’ ability to “wait patiently on the Lord,” and to “hear the still small voice.”

Very few of us would be able or willing to climb a mountain like Moses and sit to wait for God to carve some advice in stone tablets. I think we’d rather see the conversation go like this:

Us: OMG could you just fix this?

God: LOL, Absolutely!

God: zaps the offending issue.

God: ur good!

Us: Thx.

I don’t have all the answers, but I do know that quite often time spent away from my phone, out in God’s creation, re-sets my desire for warp speed communication. I think that is what happens when kids spend an extended amount of time outside, like at camp. They get reset to God’s pace. They can hear God’s voice.

Newberg area friends: a dedicated group of parents and community members are sponsoring a Technology Health Workshop, tomorrow, Saturday, Sept. 30, 9am at the Chehalem Valley Middle School Library. For more information on taming the technological tiger: Technology Health Workshop

Mandy “Wildflower” Schmidt
Former Camp Program Director