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The below article was recently printed in American Way Magazine and was written by Winston Ross. It highlights how Overnight Summer Camps can take children away from todays technology and reestablish personal connections.

More and more Indiana Pacers Hats , kids around the country are powering down and living it up at summer camps.

HANNAH VIROSLAV isnt bashful about recounting the pain involved in relinquishing her iPhone for the three weeks she spends each summer at Camp Champions in Central Texass Hill Country. Untethering the San Antonio 17-year-old from text messages, phone calls, and Facebook is a bit like hitting her finger with a hammer: Its excruciating.

Its extremely difficult, Hannah says. Its, like, your whole life.

Once shes unplugged, though, shes completely liberated, free to frolic in the outdoors for a blissful 21 days, which she spends water skiing, horseback riding, climbing, and making crafts. Hard as it may be to put technology on hold, its a trial Hannah looks forward to every year.

Its kind of like a symbolic way of stepping out of the real world, she says. It allows me to take off from home, leave my worries, thoughts about college, and stress behind. I just go escape.

It makes perfect sense, really, that kids such as Viroslav would relish the opportunity to back slowly away from their cell phones and PlayStation controllers for a few weeks each year and rediscover the outdoors at one of the myriad options available to them nationwide via the American Camp Association (ACA). But whats striking is how much thats actually happening, in light of the full-on assault of competition these camps face from video games Indiana Pacers T-Shirts , hundreds of television channels, the ubiquitous Internet, and a raft of other programmed activities that make todays overscheduled child busier than a high-flying executive.

Attendance at camps across America isnt shrinking, despite the fact that childhood obesity rates are at an all-time high, not to mention that the average young person now spends nearly eight hours a day plugged into some sort of electronic media, according to a 2010 study from the Kaiser Family Foundation. In fact, for at least the past several years, attendance at camps nationwide has grown by an average of one to three percent per year, and nearly 65 percent of camps surveyed in 2006 reported an increase of four to 10 percent, which explains the ACAs otherwise cheeky goal of increasing participation numbers of school-age kids to 20 million by the year 2020. Currently, about 11 million of the countrys 53 million school-age children attend camp each year. That means the ACA is looking to nearly double its numbers over the next decade.

Glance over at that child-shaped dent in the living room sofa, and that may seem a Herculean task. But its the very proliferation of technologys tentacles that has helped parents discover camp, it turns out; theyre desperate for a safe way to nudge youngsters outdoors again.

Parents see an opportunity for kids to be kids, says Dayna Hardin, owner and director of the Lake of the Woods Camp for Girls and Greenwoods Camp for Boys in Decatur, Michigan. It brings kids back to the world before texting, Facebooking, instant messaging, and constant communication.

Years ago, American children were booted out of their homes after breakfast every summer and advised to not come back until dinner. Theyd spread out into the neighborhood with their temporarily evicted peers and turn the world into one big playground, building forts Customized Indiana Pacers Jersey , playing cops and robbers, and piling into sandboxes.

Times have changed, though. Whether its their perception or reality, parents now fear that this kind of unscripted romp is simply too dangerous, which leaves two options: They can either keep little Johnny under lock and key – where hes likely to gravitate toward something that requires a power outlet – or micromanage an action-packed schedule from dawn to dusk, replete with soccer practice, playdates, and paint-your-own pottery.

We refer to them as helicopter parents, says Harriet Lowe, director of communications at the ACA, which is based in Martinsville, Indiana. Their children are in the house, helicoptered over, being sedentary, being obese, playing video games.

The cases of both the overscheduled and the sedentary child present problems. The latter may develop nature-deficit disorder, a term introduced by author Richard Louv in his book Last Child in the Woods. The concept attributes a host of behavioral problems to spending too little time outdoors, from attention-deficit disorders to depression. Louv submits that being outside is practically a physiological need, and that when children are deprived of it, they are prone to suffering. Nature Summer Camps are a great way of reducing this disconnectedness from our environment.

We already know our children are not going to be as healthy as our generation, which is the first time weve ever seen that reverse Indiana Pacers Jerseys , says Peg Smith, chief executive officer of the ACA. Thats a frightening realization for parents.

The overscheduled child can suffer repercussions, too, most of them stress-related. But whats heartening is that parents seem to be recognizing that they need to break their children loose from some of these vise grips, even if its within the structure of a three-week program.

For three weeks, theyre disconnected from the electrical umbilical [cord], says Steve Baskin, who, with his wife Susie, coowns Camp Champions, the camp Hannah attends. What replaces it is true interaction, being fully present with another human being. I say ‘Im not taking your phone away from you; Im giving you the gift of knowing you can be spectacular without it.

Something certainly seems to be working. In 1996, Camp Champions inaugural year, attendance was at 600; today, it is 1,100. Between 1999 and 2005, their annual enrollme.