As technology becomes an ever-increasing presence in our day-to-day life, the thought of a device-free getaway becomes more and more tempting. One company is capitalizing on that sentiment with programming to help balance the need for screens with a healthy dose of time offline – first and foremost, an adult summer camp that requires its attendees to completely unplug.

Camp Grounded big group shot of the campers by the water
No electronic devices are allowed at Camp Grounded © Digital Detox

With a mission of encouraging its clients to “disconnect to reconnect,” Digital Detox’s flagship program is Camp Grounded, held in Mendocino, California, over two three-day weekends in May. Devices are completely prohibited at both sessions – Kindles, tablets, phones, Fitbits, and even watches are checked at the gate – as are real names, work talk, drugs, and alcohol. 

Camp Grounded guy floating in innertube
Campers are encouraged to reconnect to nature and develop in-person friendships © Digital Detox

Instead, campers ages 18 to 75 bond over an array of “playshops” and old-school activities, from arts and crafts and archery to capture the flag and color wars, as well as more offbeat offerings like stilt-walking, acro-yoga, Murder Mystery in the Woods, and Tea, Teleportation, and Time-travel 101. There are analogue equivalents to modern-day pastimes (creative writing on typewriters, film photography) and kiddie-camp classics like campfires, sing-alongs, face-painting, and of course, a talent show.  

Three people with bows and arrows, shooting
Activities include everything from archery to meditation © Digital Detox

"The impacts of phones and tech are a major issue with all age groups and demographics across the world, and it’s rewarding to work towards meaningful solutions,” Digital Detox CEO Forest Bronzan tells Lonely Planet. “The opportunity to expand on [founder Levi Felix’s] vision of better connection and presence is important to me, and this next chapter for the company focuses on products, services, and immersive experiences that either show people the value of putting technology down, or provide key tools to foster a healthier and more balanced relationship with tech.”

Guy in a rainbow hat holding a megaphone
Campers are encouraged to bring costumes – you can never have too many – and participate in the talent show © Digital Detox

This year’s Camp Grounded sessions are 15-18 May and 22-25 May, and registration is now open. For more information, visit digitaldetox.com.

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