Unplug from Technology at Summer Camp

Unplug this summer and put those electronics down!

Camp might just be the last frontier for children to unplug and learn the lost art of speaking face to face.

The use of technology in our everyday lives is important, but it is also important to take a break from it. This summer we will be launching our ‘Unplug’ initiative, to get campers excited about the outdoors again!

Camp is all about spending the summer with friends and learning new things every day. If kids just put down the electronics and embrace all that camp has to offer, they will see that everything they need to have fun, is right in front of them!

We will be emailing our electronics policy to our Chipinaw families in the next few days!

We can’t wait to see you!

#Unplug

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I Love My Kid — That’s Why I Send Him Away For the Summer

“I could never,” the stranger in line in front of me at Target exclaimed with her hand clenched against her chest.

Moments earlier, she overheard me on the phone asking my 10-year-old son how many tubes of sunscreen he went through last Summer and if he needed a new fan this year. She asked where we were headed, which, based on the overflowing nature of my shopping cart, I understood. I laughed, telling her it wasn’t “we” — it was “he.” He was going to sleepaway camp for the Summer and I was trying to get a head start on packing. That, of course, led to questions about how long and where and why. To which I answered, seven weeks, five hours away, and because we love him and want him to experience all that camp has to offer.

That’s when she made her comment. I decided it wasn’t worth any more discussion — I had my reasons and didn’t need to explain them to a stranger — but it did get me thinking. Why do we ship our children away for the Summer?

Both my husband and I went away to camp when we were kids, me for four weeks each Summer and him for eight. Ask us, or really any other kid who did so, and they’ll probably tell you those were the happiest days of their childhoods. We can still sing the songs, tell color war stories until your ears fall off, recall first crushes . . . and first kisses, and remember the distinct smell of the dining hall and the slimy bottoms of the lakes.

What we didn’t realize at the time was everything else we learned. We learned independence. We learned to care for ourselves. Yes, there were counselors there overseeing everything, but we really did learn how to handle so much on our own. Without parents there, we learned to make new friends. We put ourselves out there and tried new activities and new foods. We learned a bit about ourselves without even realizing it.

These are the lessons I want my sons to learn — once both are old enough to go (my youngest is still too young). Being away from home is a time to learn about yourself outside of the comforts and security of home. It’s a time to learn to bask in the uncertainty of what comes next or who will be sleeping in the bed next to you. In this age of connectivity, where there’s always a phone, computer, or tablet in sight, it’s a forced break from that. My son’s camp does not allow any electronics and I couldn’t be more grateful. Camp is a time to re-create the carefree days of childhood that my kids’ grandparents — and even their great-grandparents — experienced all those years ago. As city dwellers, it’s also a chance for my kids to experience nature — not at a museum or a park surrounded by buildings, but nature in its natural state.

And, let’s be frank here: it’s always a great break for us, the parents. The hustle and bustle of the school year is exhausting. And by the time the Summer rolls around, we could all use a break from each other. Yes, I spend half my day scrolling through the photos the camp posts for any sign that my child is happy, sad, or really just clean! But the time apart proves that absence does make the heart grow fonder.

Last year, my oldest went off to camp for the first time. He didn’t know a soul. He sat on the bus with a boy he had met a few minutes earlier and a few days later I got a letter from him that he was loving it. He had already gone camping, canoeing, and water skiing — three things he’d never done in his life. He was playing street hockey and tennis and eating s’mores each night. And the kid I had to drag out of bed each morning for school had joined a Polar Bear club where they jump in the lake first thing every morning. In the matter of three days, he was already making memories. Five weeks later, he was begging us to extend his Summer to the full seven weeks away. We told him we thought he’d had enough for his first Summer, but would gladly do it for the next. Right now, he’s counting down the days on his calendar.

In shipping my kid away for the Summer, I’m giving him something special, whether he knows it or not right now. Just a few weeks ago, we were having one of our frequent arguments about something trivial. He suddenly blurted out that the reason I send him to camp is to “get rid of him for the Summer.” And while in that moment it may have rung true, I told him that wasn’t the case at all — that camp is hardly punishment; it’s a privilege and he’s very lucky to be able to go, that I would never spend the money I do on a camp if it was punishment.

So while the woman in line at Target may never understand why we send our kid to camp, I can think of a thousand reasons. But the best reason is that we’re doing it for him. There’s a saying the campers like to say: “We live 10 months for two.” I can’t think of a better sentiment.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Rebecca Gruber
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Home in a Hundred 2017

On Friday March 17th, the countdown to camp officially reached 100 days. To celebrate, we launched a photo competition that saw many of our campers send us pictures of themselves wearing their favorite camp gear to school. Everyone who submitted a picture was entered into a prize drawing to win a limited edition camp sweatshirt.

Our campers were really creative with this competition and we received so many awesome pictures! We had campers wearing their red chippies, sweatshirts, shorts, socks, sweatbands and even face paint in the camp colors.

The prize drawing took place on Friday March 24th and was drawn by our Camp Director, Michael Baer with the winners posted to Facebook and Instagram.

Congratulations to Dara and Noah and thank you for showing us your camp spirit. We will be presenting Dara and Noah with a limited edition sweatshirt at camp.

We would like to thank everyone who took part in our #HomeInAHundred competition and wore their camp gear to school. You all looked awesome! Below is a collection of some of the entries we received.

It is great to see that our campers are excited and counting down the days until we are all together again…Home at Chipinaw!

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Camper Highlight: Kids That Do Good by Max and Jake K.

 

There are many traits that our amazing campers have, but being kind to one another is one of the most important.

Did you see our Chipinaw campers, Max and Jake Klein on the Today Show on Monday, November 29th? The twins starred in the #ShareKindness program, a regular feature on the Today Show. This program aims to recognize those individuals that go above and beyond to share kindness to others, no matter how big or small the deed may be. Max and Jake have founded a charity organization called KidsThatDoGood.com, that allows young people to help out in their local communities through fund raising and awareness projects. Recently they helped collect 191 meals for the Thanksgiving holiday. Max and Jake have done an amazing job and we would like to wish them luck for the continued success of their project. #KindnessIsCool

You can watch the Today Show segment featuring Max and Jake below.

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Halloween Costume Contest WINNERS!

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Happy Halloween! Congratulations to Jordyn who has won our Halloween Drawing Competition in the Chipinaw Upper Camp category with her “cHIPPIE the Bear” costume design and Sidnie who has won in the Chipinaw Lower Camp category with her “Chippie the Bear as The HULK” costume design.  We will be presenting Jordyn & Sidnie with the Limited Edition clipboard and stationary set at the beginning of camp. Thank you to everyone who took part in the competition, your costume designs were awesome!

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Halloween Costume Contest: Design Chippie’s Costume

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Chippie the Bear needs your help! He just can’t decide what costume to wear this year for Halloween. Enter our Halloween Drawing Competition and you will be entered into our prize draw to win a LIMITED EDITION clipboard and stationery set.

Download a Chippie the Bear template and instructions and design, draw, and color in the costume that you would like him to wear for Halloween this year! Is he going to be a Super Hero, Witch, Haunted Ghost, Pirate or your favorite TV Character!?

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Everyone who emails a picture and uploads to Instagram using #CostumeForChippie will be entered into the prize draw. A Winner for Lower Camp (1st-6th grade) and Upper Camp (7th-11th grade) will be announced on Halloween.

Email your picture to fun@chipinaw.com and follow us on Instagram – @campchipinaw1926

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Happy Soldiers and the Importance of Giving Back

groupAfter a wonderful Visiting Day at Camp Chipinaw, we found ourselves with an abundance of leftover food and snack items. Instead of storing them, we decided we would honor the spirit of camp and use this as an opportunity to give back.

We packed up our all of our favorite snacks and foods and sent them off to our wonderful soldiers of the US Armed Forces serving overseas. In return we received a very kind message from our heroes:

The 4 crew size boxes arrived about 2 weeks ago. I spurred an era of euphoria that I’ve not seen in the front office for a long time. I’m pretty sure it was Easter, Halloween, and Xmas all rolled into 4 boxes. To say thanks would not be justice enough to the morale and happiness of about 15 people – most of whom have not had a day off in several months.Shelf

From all of here surviving such a long way from home, Mahalo and thank you.

Some of us are in one of the pics, the second is of the shelf behind my desk – keep in mind that this is after 2 weeks!

Best,

Mikey

It warms our hearts to be able to show our campers the importance of giving back in such a special way!

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Phone-Sick At Camp: The Benefits of Screen Free Time

Attending summer camp for many children is a major step toward independence while still having fun and making life long friends. Spending time in a phone-free camp encourages kids to make decisions on their own without parent advice. However, breaking away from phones and the constant contact is just as hard for parents as is it for children. A recent NY Times article, Phone-Sick At Camp, discusses the need for a phone-free summer at camp plus provides advice for parents on how to prepare for the summer.

At Camps Chipinaw and Silver Lake we believe a screen-free summer helps our campers develop soft skills they don’t get to develop at school. They practice independence, teamwork, communication and problem solving face-to-face rather than through a phone.

You can read a portion of the NY Times article below.

Kids are on their phones in school, in restaurants, on vacations and even in bed. For many, sleepaway camp remains one of the last oases, largely untouched by technology. “Camp is a sacred space to unplug and be able to learn independence and social skills,” Dr. Uhls said. “It’s really important to put devices down and practice the art of face-to-face communication.”

Putting down the phone can be hard for the parents too, who are often anxious about separating from their children and are used to constant check-ins, whether they are in the next state or the next room.

With this constant communication, children seek their parents’ guidance and emotional support even when they are not together, leaving fewer opportunities to develop their own confidence and internal compass for decision-making. Wendy Mogel, a clinical psychologist and the author of the parenting book “The Blessing of a Skinned Knee,” tells the story of a college student at a salad bar who texted her mother to ask if she liked ranch dressing, rather than testing it herself. Such dependent relationships can rob children of the chance to trust and believe in someone else besides their parents. Creating bonds with others is one of the most important benefits of camp, and it is more likely to happen without the electronic connection to home.

To prepare to detach for camp, Dr. Thurber recommends families try one tech-free day per week over the month before camp, with no recreational screen time. “It’s good to practice some withholding from real-time digital communication and learn to not reflexively reach for cellphones,” he said.

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100 Days to Camp Competition: #HomeInAHundred

On Friday March 18th, the countdown to camp officially reached 100 days. To celebrate, we launched a photo competition that saw many of our campers send us pictures of themselves wearing their favorite camp gear to school. Everyone who submitted a picture was entered into a prize drawing to win a limited edition camp sweatshirt.

Our campers were really creative with this competition and we received so many awesome pictures! We had campers wearing their red chippies, sweatshirts, shorts, socks, sweatbands and even face paint in the camp colors.

The prize drawing took place on Wednesday March 23rd and was drawn by our Camp Director, Michael Baer with the winners posted to Facebook and Instagram.

Congratulations to Ryan and thank you for showing us your camp spirit. We will be presenting Ryan with the limited edition sweatshirt at the beginning of camp.

We would like to thank everyone who took part in our #HomeInAHundred competition and wore their camp gear to school. You all looked awesome! Below is a collection of all of the entries we received.

It is great to see that our campers are excited and counting down the days until we are all together again…Home at Chipinaw!

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Top 5 Things That Happen When You Spend a Summer at Chipinaw

  1. You start to unplug
    Screen Shot 2016-02-17 at 2.46.09 PMNo school, no homework, and no internet are great. But the best part of summer? Waking up everyday knowing you’re going to have a blast playing outside with your friends. You’ve been waiting for summer all year long. Now you can finally spend the day wakeboarding on the lake, eating delicious food and laughing with your friends. With a day that fun, you’ll totally forget about that new video game that just came out. 
  2. You meet friends just as crazy as you
    There’s no friend quite like a camp friend. Remember that time you all teamed together for Color War? Or that time you were nervous about getting on the Screen Shot 2016-02-17 at 2.45.59 PMzipline but your camp friend encouraged you? Camp friends see the real you. They know your funny habits. They know your favorite foods. But most of all they know how crazy you are and love you for it. Your friends at home will never quite appreciate your crazy hair-do for color warlike your camp friends! 
  3. You discover a new passion you didn’t know you had
    You know you’re a Chipinaw camper when you’re bouncing in your seat just Screen Shot 2016-02-17 at 2.45.47 PMtrying to decide what activities you want to sign up for this summer. There’s so many opportunities at camp you won’t find anywhere else. Whether it’s diving through the air in the camp circus,  practicing your aim during archery, or becoming a master rock climber at the wall course, you know you’re going to have the time of your life. Camp gives you the chance to pick something totally new to try. You may just find that kayaking is your favorite water sport or that photography is your artistic calling!
  4. You become a Color War champion
    You’ve been waiting all summer for this. Screen Shot 2016-02-17 at 2.45.35 PMYou have your warpaint ready and you can’t wait to get on the field. With your best friends by your side, you know you’re going to have an awesome time. Whether you win or not, you’re happy to support your camp friends and have a blast outside.
  5. You make the best s’mores
    Nothing says summer like s’mores.  After spending so many nights around the Screen Shot 2016-02-17 at 2.45.27 PMcampfire with your friends you’ve finally managed to roast the marshmallow just right. Now you’ve figured out the perfect chocolate-to-graham cracker combo and you couldn’t be more pleased. With your professional s’more training at camp, you finally feel like you’ve constructed the most delicious one yet. Your camp friends can’t be too jealous, because part of the fun is sharing your delicious s’mores with them!
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