Technology and Opportunities for Communication with Children
Today is section 3 of SFR addressing the American Camping Association’s five major questions that parents want to know. Be sure to check out our posts on Staff Qualifications and Camper Health and Safety!
We understand that being away from your child for an entire week can be difficult, so we provide a several different ways for you to stay connected to your camper while they’re at Shepherd’s Fold. These include snail mail, email, and we also post daily updates to Facebook, as well as an emergency contact procedure. (See below for our cell phone policy.)
YOU CAN COME SEE CAMP IN ACTION! Sunday registration is open from 2:30 to 5:00 so when you bring your camper, you don’t have to rush off! Spend the afternoon helping your child settle into camp. Visit your camper’s cabin, meet their counselor, help them make their bunk, accompany them to the waterfronts and watch them take their swim test. During your child’s week of camp, we encourage you (parents) to come out on the Wednesday evening to experience worship and the night meeting with your camper. We want you to be able see your child experience camp, worshiping the Lord with their peers, and we want YOU to encounter the Lord at Shepherd’s Fold.
Technology has come a long way, but it’s ALWAYS fun to receive letter through snail mail. We frequent the post office daily and do ‘mail call’ at dinner every day. The Top Rail (our camp store) offers campers a stamp and envelope for only fifty cents.
Shepherd’s Fold is up with the current times, so if you don’t want to handwrite a letter, send your camper an email! You sit in your PJ’s and type your precious children a note from their awesome parents, and we print them out each day and hand deliver them during dinner’s ‘mail call’.
Another way you can stay connected to your children is through Facebook. We post photos and updates daily! At the end of the week, when you pick up your camper, we will have CD’s available for purchase with hundreds of photos from your child’s week of camp. As you scroll through them, it will almost be like you experienced camp with them!
Cell Phone Policy: Hang with me – I promise there is good reason for it. The mission of Shepherd’s Fold Ranch is to provide a place in the country where your child can truly encounter the fullness of God – without distractions. Let’s be honest – technology is awesome and if it’s close at hand, kids will focus on it. Cell phones can be quite distracting – for the individual who is hoping for a message or call so they can’t fully focus on the activity, and for others, because they don’t have a phone. Cell phones also encourage homesickness by reminding the camper that their parent isn’t in the next room. We’ve found that when campers unplug from their phones, they are able to focus on making friends with their cabin mates and be better connected with the activities at camp. For this same reason, phone calls from camp are limited to emergency only. More often than not, if a camper calls home because of homesickness, they end up going home and missing out on the awesome camp experience. Typically, once campers join in the games and focus on fellowshipping with their cabin mates, homesickness subsides and you get to hear all the exciting stories from your child when they tell you how cool their week of camp was! On the flip side, being out in the country is an INCREDIBLE experience! I love it so much that I live at camp year-round. There’s nothing like sitting in the midst of God’s creation and letting Him speak to you through it. Imagine sitting in the ball field after sundown and you look up to see millions of stars. all of the sudden, a star shoots across the sky! WOW! Such an exciting feeling! Imagine if you were checking out your phone during that time – you’d have missed a star blazing across the sky! We want to invite you to partner with us in providing your camper an opportunity to fully encounter God out in the country, away from the distractions of cell phones and other technologies.
With that being said, we understand you want to be able to reach them if there is an emergency and we also understand the need for that. Ron Griffin, our Executive Director, is a father to four small children of his own and he is your greatest advocate. That’s why he gives out his personal cell phone number and is available 24/7. He wants to personally be sure you can get information to your camper quickly, if necessary. Our camp office is open from 9am to 5pm, Monday through Friday and for your convenience.
As you can see, there are many opportunities to connect with your child while they’re at camp. Please feel free to call me! I am happy to answer any questions you may have. (918-263-3622)
Blessings, Hope [Camp Director]
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