I spent a week on camp with Year 9 this month which provided a great opportunity to break the cycle of usual habits – for me and the students! 4 days away from devices is almost unheard of for young people. They spent the time walking, talking, cooking and making old-fashioned fun. They had to figure out how to work together to get work done – putting up tents, cleaning up after dinner, those sorts of things. At home they certainly wouldn’t have been in bed by 8pm without devices and up at sunrise! We played charades, mafia, and a clapping game which turned out to be the most engaging of all! On the last night of camp, we stayed up “late” – after 9pm! – to watch the lunar eclipse. I wonder how many of the students would have done this had they been at home.
If the students were supposed to be learning about themselves, how they make decisions, what sort of team member they can be, and what sort of person they are becoming, what was I learning? Aside from the more obvious, that I’m not as fit as I thought I was, and despite being able to run 15km on the flat, 2km up hill at the start of day 1 nearly finished me… I had no social media other than messages for 4 days (it turned out there was more phone signal on the camp I was on than the other group’s camp) which was freeing and has me considering deleting the social media apps off my phone. I was reminded to connect with people in real life and get to know the people in front of me! It was also a good reminder to reconnect with nature and enjoy the natural rhythms of the day. I had pretty much no input from books, podcasts, music, anything other than the thoughts of the camp group. There were some great thoughts though, lots of funny moments, and a lot of chats.
But what stays with me is gratitude for running water, toilets, food, and that I have a choice to restrict my access to these things whilst for some the lack thereof is a daily reality.