>>>Summer camp for the technologically addicted
Photo: Camp Grounded

Summer camp for the technologically addicted

"Surreal and surprising”. That’s how Camp Grounded, a summer camp for adults with its headquarters in Mendocino, California, is defined. To enter, you have to leave your prejudices and What’sApp behind.
I
n Silicon Valley they are well aware that technology is addictive. The prodigies of Apple, Google or Yahoo send their children to schools where computers are noted for their absence. Blackboard and chalk, pencil and paper are all that is required in a free-to-think setting, backed up by arts and crafts subjects. No sign of iPhones, tablets, or any other devices that inhibit creative thought.
300 kilometres away from Silicon Valley, this same open-minded philosophy is to be found in Mendicino (California), at least for a couple of weekends a year. Camp Grounded is a Summer camp for adults that welcomes those that want to reconnect to the child inside them. However, it involves more than eating marshmallows around the camp fire. The rules are simple, but not easy to keep to for Internet addicts, 6% of the world population.
Prices for a digital detox weekend start at 495$.
Photo: Camp Grounded

War on FOMO

Camp Grounded aims to combat a phobia that is spreading thanks especially to the social networks. FOMO (Fear of missout out) is fear of losing something. That’s why the 25 workshops are planned to run simultanously. Because whatever you choose, “wherever you are is exactly where you are supposed to be.”

Mobile phones, computers, tablets and watches are forbidden. Notices posted on some of the world’s tallest sequoias announce the rules, and it is almost impossible to smuggle anything electronic into the camp. On entry, campers are invited to store their devices in paper bags. These bags are placed in a “decontamination zone” and returned to their owners four days later.
Work matters cannot be talked about at Camp Grounded, nor is it permitted to look for business opportunities. “Let’s be clear about it. This is not a congress, nor a networking event”, the organization inform. Campers don’t even use their true names. All go under an assumed name. They include artists, students, Wall Street investors, and Facebook employees. “What matters is what you are, not what you do for a living”.
Campers are housed in cabins. Tents are available for those who are looking for greater privacy.
Photo: Camp Grounded
Levi Felix (or Fidget Wigglesworth, as he is known on camp) is the creator of this technological detox programme. After working 80 hours a week as Vice-president of a start-up and suffering health problems, he chose to take up his backpack and see the world. Two and a half years and fifteen countries later, he co-founded Digital Detox, whose motto is “Disconnet to Reconnect”. “Technology should serve as a tool to connect us”, says Felix, “instead of distracting or disconcerting us”.
Alcohol is forbidden at Camp Grounded.
Photo: Camp Grounded
One of the campers, Ganna Boiko, used to use Foursquare up to 100 times a day. “It was strange for me to realise that I had no need of at all, and that I didn’t suffer without it”, she recalls. Ganna is a businesswoman who currently manages a platform that helps companies to improve their presence on Twitter.
From 20th to 23rd May and from 27th to 30th, Camp Grounded opens its doors for those who want to escape from the yolk of technology: 800 hectares of woodlands on the hills of Mendocino with over 25 workshops to practice meditation, archery, laughter yoga, creative writing, analogue photography or macrame. A journey in time back to childhood summer camps and learning to put embarrasment aside in favour of sack races, pie championships, and dodgeball.

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