I was visiting a church to talk about camp recently and a camper came right up to me, pulled out her phone, and showed me a string of messages from her summer camp family group's ongoing group chat. I was genuinely impressed. Not about the group chat, but about how important it was to her. She talked about the value that these particular people and this particular string of messages has. In a world of increasingly shallow connections, these kids have found depth. And they're keeping that depth going using technology in ways that past generations couldn't.
This isn't groundbreaking stuff. The deepest parts of our being desire authentic, deep connections. Our souls need those kinds of relationships if we are going to be fulfilled. While Facebook tells me I have somehow accumulated 754 "friends," I don't think I have 754 people I could call for help if I got into a tight spot. And while it's easy to say that kids today have more troubles because they're missing the deep, authentic connections (and I would agree), it's also a mistake to blame the internet and stop the conversation there. If we want to remedy the situation, we have to put children and youth in situations where they can have these fulfilling experiences of authentic communities. We have to push kids toward experiences where they can explore the depth of friendships, where empathy can form true bonds. We have to create and foster chances for kids to build these relationships between each other and their Creator.
I'm certainly biased, but I think camp is the best place for that exploration to occur.
-Ryan "Flash" Moore, Director