It’s been almost another complete year at camp again. People keep getting older, music keeps getting worse and technology won’t stop changing. Which is why what Delanco Camp does is so different.
First off, we don’t use cell phones on campus. As a camper you are expected to give yours up upon arrival and as a staffer you are expected to use yours for work-only purposes. Same thing with the internet; even if we had a good connection out here in the Pine Barrens (which we definitely don’t) campers and staff alike are encouraged to just be without while they are here. This decision was partly made so that the constant daily distractions could be slightly reduced and the focus shifted instead on God. We also live and work and volunteer on some beautiful grounds and it’s really hard to appreciate that all while you are looking down at your phone texting. Ferris Bueller, one of my heroes, put it best when he said, “Life moves pretty fast. You don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
So although new forms of communication are momentarily put aside while at camp, the art of letter writing still exists and is encouraged at camp. Mail call during lunch is a seriously exciting time even if you don’t have Dave Ralph, with his mouth full of tacos, repeating everyone’s name in a sing-songey way. Each camper who receives a piece of mail is prized momentarily and made a figure of envy for those who don’t receive mail. That camper then has a permanent reminder of the people at home who miss and love them. There is something so real about holding a reminder of how much you are cared about in your hand that puts all other technology to shame. There is also something very real about people taking the time and effort to put down words on paper. I’ve received about three pieces of mail this summer and have each time treasured them and put them in a special spot on my dresser to look at.
Mail also requires reciprocity. When receiving a hand-written letter or postcard it is assumed that you would write one back in return. That requires you to set aside time and think of the person on the other side of the pen. Giving and receiving mail connects you to the generations before that didn’t have other forms of communication and communicated simply through mail. Remember the Pony Express from your early history lessons?
Although we are so blessed to have all the forms of technology we have today (I mean I wouldn’t have a job right now if it wasn’t for them!) it’s also so great that the camp is purposeful about encouraging this simpler medium and allowing campers to take a break from the norm.
In case you were encouraged you can send mail to:
191 Powell Place Rd.
Tabernacle, NJ 08088