Sometimes I worry that the trend of reliance on technology is affecting our ability to think. For some, it is difficult to hand write thoughts and much easier to think when tapping a keyboard.  For others, there is substantial lack of comfort to travel without GPS guidance.   

Now don’t get me wrong, the GPS unit was powered on and simultaneously I enjoyed using GasBuddy and Waze last month while driving through Chattanooga.  Yes, I have experienced times when the anxiety level rises while in the rental car, when in the dark in snowy Chicago.  However, I cringe when I see adults stop and use a handheld device in order to continue walking down a city street.  Is self-reliance becoming a disappearing trait?

In September, I watched two teenage girls stop at a trail intersection atop our local Pleasant Mountain. The Appalachian Trail Club signage with destinations, arrows and mileage was present, yet these girls checked their phones before proceeding to the left. 

What happened to just follow your nose? Camps help! Navigation can mean more than just from one location to another. We in camping are a valuable component of the child development experience.  Camp helps kids and adults develop an inner compass to navigate and create confidence along their own personal journey.  We help build self-reliant citizens.

Last weekend while spending time with extended family in Wisconsin, I had the pleasure of watching five of my cousins’ children creatively keep themselves occupied at a country club on a glorious fall afternoon, while the adults were attending a memorial reception.  As the kids were rolling down hilly grass lawns and getting their nice clothes plenty dirty and stained, one young boy noticed a V pattern of geese above our heads.

“Where are they going?” Well, they are flying to their winter home…
“How do they know where to go?” Well, they have a really good memory…
”Are you sure they won’t get lost?” Oh I’m sure, they have a really cool built-in GPS…

 As we prepare our various programs for 2016, let us all consider where we can help our campers develop and maintain that inner built-in GPS and follow their nose.

Best wishes as we approach the holidays,

Steve Sudduth
President, ACA New England Board of Directors 
Owner/Director, Wyonegonic Camps