- A new summer camp invites adults to unplug
- At Camp Grounded, cell phones, computers and work talk are banned
- Organizer: Many "know there's something wrong" with their tech relationship
- June camp in California is sold out, with others on the way
If your smartphone is attached to your hip, your blood flows like a Twitter feed and you're fairly certain your eyes permanently see through an Instagram filter, then maybe it's time to disconnect for a bit?
A new summer camp aims to help adults take a break from technology for a weekend of being a kid again. "Camp Grounded," a retreat brought to you by the folks at The Digital Detox, takes place this June near Anderson Valley, Calif. (about two to three hours north of San Francisco).
This four-day "summer camp for adults" in a 1970s-style Boy Scouts camp atmosphere brings together 232 campers who must follow some special rules: no technology use, no cell phones allowed and no talking about work.
"We really hope people reconnect with themselves," said Ben Hanna, a partner at The Digital Detox.
"So many people now don't understand their relationship with technology, but they do know something's wrong with how often they feel the need to check their phone."
Campers get to stay in open-faced cabins, eat in a dining hall and can participate in tech-free activities including archery, capture the flag, arts & crafts workshops, pillow fights and yoga.
"Part of what we want to do is give people this ability to kind of dive deep into something that they haven't really done," Hanna told Mashable.
Compared to camp for kids, sneaking out at night is actually encouraged at Camp Grounded. Hanna said campers can wander through the woods to discover a "magical nightlife."
"You never really know what you're going to come across," he said. "It might be a jazz quartet inside of a dancing school bus ... We're going to have a bunch of bonfires and musicians up there and stuff as well."
It is a drug- and alcohol-free event, and the camp will have medical personnel and a camp phone on site for emergencies.
Hanna says this sold-out June 14 to 17 event has attracted people from all over the world, including people in the tech community like CEOs and venture capitalists. But at camp, everyone will use nicknames and attendees can't ask each other their ages, so everyone is really "just another camper," Hanna said.
Though there is currently a waitlist, they plan to hold another session in the future, since demand has been so high.
Hanna, a former tech industry whiz himself (he has worked at Couchsurfing.org), said The Digital Detox regularly holds other monthly device-free retreats, as well as device-free events that have a "phone check" (like a coat check).
But with Camp Grounded, it's the largest retreat they've done so far, according to Hanna.
"When you were a kid, your life was not dominated by the technology that it is now," he said. "We want to take people back to that easy state of living where their only concern is 'what's the next activity that I'm going to right now and what's going to be the next fun thing?'"
Could you survive a tech-free weekend on a "digital detox?" Or would it be too difficult for you to disconnect? Share your thoughts on this concept in the comments.