Last week was Middle School Camp; the time of year when a select number of teachers have the pleasure of spending a full 5 days with upwards of 170 Middle School students. I headed for Fu Long for a week of adventure camping with the 8th graders.
It’s actually a really great time; biking, hiking, climbing, surfing (except for this year), cookouts, games, kayaking, and general fun.
The only down side? Limited internet access. For the students, a week without cell phones and computers is a pretty difficult ask.
Fortunately the rules for accompanying teachers is a little more lenient, and I relied heavily on my iPhone during the week. Little did I know that there are a number of really applicable..uhhh..applications for iPhone use during a camp week.
News: Fu Long is to news junkies what the prohibition was to drinkers. The 7-11 near camp does not carry English papers, and although I can understand much about different heinous crimes from the cartoon drawings in Apple Daily, I needed more of a news cycle than that. Fortunately, my iPhone provides me with minute-by-minute updates on current events. Drudge Report (go ahead…collective groan), Newsweek (which has turned into nothing more than editorials and commentary), CNN International and the NY Times apps kept me abreast of the ongoing fighting in Washington. For those who find reading difficult on the iPhone, the News360 app covers the stories through photos, which is pretty interesting as well.
Trash Talking: On day two of camp, one of our teachers received a MMS message from one of the 7th grade camp teachers (who shall remain anonymous but who is affectionately referred to here as “E”). The message included a photo of “E” on the driving range at 7th Grade Camp (otherwise known as “camp-lite”). He had just hit a bucket of balls, and on the range behind him the 7th grade campers could be seen running to and fro collecting the balls so that “E” could hit again. Not cool.
Snake Identification: I should say that this is the app I WISH iPhone had. The only thing close is the Field Guide to Victorian Fauna which details some of the animals and habitats of the Australian State of Victoria. Not exactly helpful at Fu Long. Maybe you can help identify this beauty that was found half-way up the climbing route.
Climbing Ropes Setup: No app here, but once again I found the iPhone very useful in detailing the exact setup of top ropes for our climbing site. We had 5 different routes and each route had 3 top ropes. Each day, the same 5 routes needed to be set up, ideally with the same top rope anchors. By using the iPhone to record the details of each top rope, we were able to accurately remember what rope went where each day during setup. Sounds simple, but the iPhone camera saved us literally hours of time and removed the nagging question of safety in top rope anchors. Boring video, but great solution for us.
I suppose the question remains, “Could I go a week without technology?”
Not a chance.