The Benefits of an "Unplugged" Summer

Each summer at Acting Manitou we encourage campers and staff to “unplug” from the technology that pervades our everyday lives. By not reaching for the tablet or phone and instead walking outside to talk with a friend we are re-training ourselves to seek out human interaction instead of digital distraction. We take such joy in seeing our campers go on walks together in free time or work on their lines at the pool instead of listen to music on their headphones. We believe that as theater artists it is essential to see the world which we reflect onstage and the first step is to unplug from the device and plug back in to the world.

What are the Benefits of an Unplugged Summer at Adirondack Woodcraft Camps?

  1. Reduced feelings of stress, anxiety and increased mindfulness. For summer campers of every age, the unplugged environment at Acting Manitou creates extra time. Without the feelings of “needing” to play a favorite app or video game, “having” to respond to the 20 texts that just came in or like a picture their friend just posted, campers feel less anxious about keeping up and more able to expand into the space they are in. They worry less about what’s next and care more about what is now. The space our summer campers are in at Acting Manitou happens to be beautiful which adds to the peace and freedom they feel when they are here. The ability to be mindful increases because our campers feel content and able to slow down and be present to all that is in and around them. Unplugged campers? You bet. And more importantly: Totally connected to self, others and the world around them.

  2. Increased social bravery and empathy. Real time connections happen here. At Acting Manitou, eye contact, dialogue, learning the subtle differences in your friends’ non verbal cues and understanding what messages you yourself are sending out in to the world are an enjoyable and natural part of the learning process that happens each summer at camp. Instead of phones to hide behind when a camper feels unsure, an Acting Manitou camper has a community of caring friends and skilled staff who act as positive role models and encourage campers to help with bravery when it comes to forging new bonds with others. It’s cool to reach out, help and be a great friend. Our summer campers build strong and meaningful connections to each other through shared, experiences, not virtual ones. Through those experiences our campers also broaden their understanding of the needs of others and grow in their ability to show compassion and care for camp friends of all ages.

  3. New patience, independence & creativity. At Acting Manitou, we specialize in providing campers with fun opportunities to work out a challenge. Patience, practice, and perseverance replace Alexa’s and Google’s instantaneous answers to a given problem at hand. Learning to tune into your own instincts, using good common sense, trying and failing and trying again, collaborating and inventing fill the space of wanting to reach for electronics. When your camper comes home, you will most definitely hear about a challenge that was overcome individually or together. It may be: “You should have seen us! It started raining in the middle of rehearsal in the amphitheater but we all worked to move to the studios and got through all of act 1!” The types of victories will differ but the lesson our summer campers learn at Acting Manitou is always the same: Together, we can do it!

For information about the benefits of camp in general, check out the American Camp Association's article on 5 Reasons Why Great Parents Send Their Kids To Camp. "Get Unplugged" made the list.