By Shay Robbins, Kanakuk Director
Twitter’s 255 million active users send more than 500 million Tweets each day. Facebook has 1.2 billion active users, and 6 billion hours of videos are watched on YouTube each month. It’s easy to see that social media has become an integral part of our world.
Each message relayed on social media has meaning—whether it is emotional, informative or conversational. People often use this platform to share personal details about their lives, offering a surprising amount of vulnerability to a mass of mere acquaintances. They are seeking affirmation that they matter, a response saying, “You’re heard. You’re okay.” Unfortunately, the two-dimensional responses solicited by social media fail to build true confidence.
We share. We like. We favorite. We comment. We respond. And yet, something is missing. While we can affirm each other and join the conversation, these discussions of identity must be rooted in more. Online community should be a reflection of our real-life community, not the foundation of it. Kanakuk exists to develop dynamic Christian leaders through life-changing experiences, Godly relationships and spiritual training. This environment requires intentional presence to dig into the perfect soil for growth.
Unplug to recharge—family
Kanakuk is a family, and we believe the best way to strengthen Kamp friendships is to remove outside distractions. We thus have a strict no-phone policy, so Kampers can fully connect with their peers, their counselors, themselves and, most importantly, the Lord.
As a director at Kanakuk, I have seen a lot of kids begrudgingly hand over technology at the beginning of the term just to find they forget about it days later. Our Kampers love the weeks of unplugged fun and growth. And they are excited to communicate online with the Kanakuk family when they reconnect and reminisce about shared Kanakuk experiences and seeing Kamp friends the next year.
Unplug to recharge—faith
Without the buzzing of social media notifications, Kampers are given space to spend focused time with God. This is a practice that goes beyond the Kamp world. Kampers learn how to silence the noise and find affirmation from the truth found in Scripture.
God wants to captivate us. As He illustrates in Hosea, this often involves following Him into new places. Jesus took ample time to be with the Father in quiet, secret places as well. We want to cultivate a lifelong habit of prioritizing quiet moments alone with the Lord.
Unplug to recharge—fun
We believe that fun should be safe, healthy, confidence building and joyful. Kampers get to choose from more than 70 activities, many of which they are trying for the first time. Fun is contagious and breeds community. Even if a Kamper is nervous trying something new the encouragement of peers and mentors cultivates confidence.
A YouTube video cannot create the same experience as jumping on the blob for the first time or the thrill of launching into a zip-line-led free fall. At Kamp, we have the chance to take in the memories instead of trying to create them on social media. Unplugging allows us to enjoy each moment.
Unplug to recharge—life
Yes, Kamp is a great place to learn how to unplug. But we encourage you to set the example for your kids in everyday life. Unplug for even a few hours each week and notice how your offline relationships benefit.
Social media is not the enemy. In fact, it has connected us in unprecedented ways. We can keep up with and uplift one another instantaneously. The person receiving your encouragement on social media should be able to identify you as a loving, real-life friend. Technology can be a great communication tool if we use it in a way that glorifies God and loves others.
Plug into family. Plug into faith. Plug into fun. Then encourage your friends online with what you live in your real, everyday life. Tweet. Share. Post. Then thank the One who gave you a life of everyday happenings that reflect His glory.
About Shay Robbins
Shay Robbins is the K-1 Director. He graduated from Iowa State University. He also graduated from the Kanakuk Institute. He is married to Ashley, and they have four children. Shay is passionate about seeing families, Kampers and summer staff grow in their knowledge and love of the Lord.
About Kanakuk Kamps
Kanakuk began in 1926 with a group of boys from Texas trekking to the Ozarks for 8 weeks of building character and confidence alongside great Christian role models. Today, there are 8 Kanakuk Kamps that serve more than 14,000 boys, girls and families each summer, including whole families at K-Kauai Family Kamp located in Branson, Missouri. Kanakuk’s parent organization called Kanakuk Ministries is a not-for-profit, 501(c)3 whose mission is to develop dynamic Christian leaders through life-exchanging experiences, Godly relationships and spiritual training. More information about Kanakuk can be found at www.kanakuk.com.