Drop your smart phone – Camp Grounded is coming to Central Texas

Camp Grounded, a digital detox camp started in California, is coming to Marble Falls in October. CampGrounded.org & Daniel N. Johnson
Camp Grounded, a digital detox camp started in California, is coming to Marble Falls in October. CampGrounded.org & Daniel N. Johnson

Pop quiz: What’s the longest you’ve gone lately without checking your smart phone?

HazMat crews strip campers of smart phones, laptops and other digital devices. CampGrounded.org & Daniel N. Johnson
HazMat crews strip campers of smart phones, laptops and other digital devices. CampGrounded.org & Daniel N. Johnson

Organizers of Camp Grounded, a sort of summer camp-technology detox clinic mashup that’s coming to Central Texas, think that’s too long. (So do I, frankly.)

The camp started three years ago in California, where it quickly garnered the attention of the New York Times, which is where I first read about it. When I found out recently that it’s coming to Central Texas Oct. 9-12 I just about flung my phone into the river.

Here’s the deal: At check-in, people wearing haz-mat suits will strip you of all your digital devices. No phones, no laptops, no tiny TV sets, no iPads – 

not even a blinky light or glow stick for four days.

Campers go by nicknames, not their real names. They’re assigned to a cabin with a bunch of other folks who could be anyone from restaurant employees to high-tech company CEOs. They’re not allowed to talk about work or network with other campers. (They are, however, encouraged to sneak out of their cabins late at night.)

Activities include music, water sports, nature hikes, survival skills and more. CampGrounded.org & Daniel N. Johnson
Activities include music, water sports, nature hikes, survival skills and more. CampGrounded.org & Daniel N. Johnson

For the next few days they spend their time playing – walking on stilts, tickling (yes, tickling), participating in color “wars,” learning survival skills and swimming in the lake. There’s a silent dinner one night, a camp dance the next and a camp-wide talent show the last.

The camp started in California, and expanded this year to North Carolina and now Texas.

Registration is open. Cost is $595, but that’s discounted to $400 if you register this Labor Day weekend.

For more information or to sign up, go here. 

Author: Pam LeBlanc

Pam LeBlanc writes about fitness and travel for the Austin American-Statesman. She has worked for the Statesman since 1998 and written her weekly fitness column, Fit City, since 2004.

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