There are 3 big reasons we include certain items on Do Not Bring lists for various trips we take. The first one is sheerly practical. The second two go deeper to our values.

  1. Many of the items are electronics such as iPod’s, cell phones, laptops, and other electronics which are usually expensive in nature, and we don’t want students to lose them, have them broken, or stolen. 
  2. Many of those items are (ironically) anti-social in nature, and they work against our values of true, face-to-face communication and genuine relationship building. We want kids to have the ear buds out, the cell phones away so they can focus on getting to know each other beyond just “Hey” and “What’s up?”.
  3. Finally, the concept of retreat is a spiritual activity that dates all the way back to the Bible. We believe that short-term, intentional disconnect from our day-to-day lives and activities so we can more intensely focus on and hear from God is a super important practice to embrace in our fast-paced, noisy culture. The temporary sacrifice of some of our “noise toys” is worth it to experience deep connection with God.
What are your traditions regarding bringing or not bringing electronics on certain trips? How do you communicate those “rules”? What has been the response of kids and parents? How have you handled negative responses?

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