It is summer camp season – a seasonal peak for post offices in cottage country as kids are forced to write letters and parents try to sneak snack foods in their packages to kids who got shipped off for the summer.
When my kids were of camping age, pen and paper were the only means of communicating with their camp. The nearest internet connection was a 30 minute drive away from the camp. We would sneak fax messages in through the camp nurse – an extended family member.
Today, my informal survey of friends indicates that different camps have different policies on the use of high tech for communicating home. A colleague tells me that his kid actually needs to write letters. He says that wifi and mobile devices are banned at the camp: “kids would never leave their cabins.”
I have been trying to picture the conversation that counselors have with their campers. Here is a pencil and paper. You are going to write letters to your parents and your sister and your grandparents. We will put a stamp on it and charge your tuck account $1 and it might take 7 to 10 days for the letter to get delivered. No, your parents won’t reply right away and there is no confirmation that the message was ever received.
Forget roughing it by going for a 7 day canoe trip with no flush toilets or hot showers; are kids actually managing to go without their technology for the summer?
Think about it for a few minutes. Could you go for a month with no internet or phone connectivity, relying on postal service alone?