Gilland: A week without screens

Adult showing child instructing child in archery.
Archery was among the activities at a VBS camp last week.
Annie Spratt / Unsplash

Our church had an honest-to-goodness summer camp this past week. 

Though we have loved hosting a vacation Bible school (VBS) week for years now, this week was different. We were the host church for a “Winshape Camp,” an organization affiliated with Chick-fil-A, and the vision of its founder, Truett Cathy. 

Winshape carries on the outstanding organization and teamwork that we have all gotten used to when visiting those wonderful chicken eateries. Wherever we travel, a Chick-fil-A stop is usually on the agenda at least once, if not twice in that week.

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Winshape brings in a large staff and a semi-truck loaded with resources for indoors and outdoors. As I dropped of one of my grandchildren last Monday, I was delighted as we pulled into our newly-transformed church property. 

“Look at the soccer field, Leon!” I exclaimed. His response: “Wow…this is even BETTER than I expected!” 

His 7-year-old mind was in wonder at the beautiful tents, obstacle courses, archery station, and more. I have to admit…I was kind of wishing I could participate too.

A Winshape team of about 25 counselors worked with local church staff and volunteers and took care of the agenda—for five days, four of which ran from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. for all the campers. 

I checked in with my daughter to see how Leon was faring mid-week, and she said he loved it.

I loved it too. It is a concept that has an old-school flair, at least from my perspective. 

And for all it offers, there is one thing that is not allowed at camp: screens of any kind. No phones, no tablets, no computers. And thank God they aren’t allowed!

Now, don’t get me wrong, I have all of these things in my possession, and I use them regularly. But even for me, I have to put limits on myself. There are apps that I have removed from my own phone. The reason? I was spending too much time on them and was being drawn down a path that was not good for my heart. 

If that is true for me, how much more true is it for our children? It is important that we guard the hearts of our children, most of whom lack maturity to realize how they are being affected by the latest electronic gadgets.

I am glad that these kids were pointed in a different direction for this past week. They got to enjoy fun, the outdoors, imaginative games, and most importantly, they were exposed to the Gospel of Jesus. But they weren’t exposed to screens. 

Yes, it was a good week.

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