For a twelve year old boy, living life without any electronics is hard. Maybe you’re thinking to yourself, “Who would want to do that?” Well, I didn’t want to do it at first but what I found was that without phones or Playstations, you can learn a lot about the outside world. This was my third year going to Camp Skylemar in Naples, Maine. It’s a summer camp for boys where electronics are prohibited, since they want you to focus on sports and nature, and for you to build lifelong friendships. I stay at the camp with 300 other kids and staff for seven weeks each summer.

Every day at Camp Skylemar, instead of playing a video game on your phone, you play tons of sports, learn about science, cooking and other fun games that don’t involve an electronic device. And instead of texting people, I actually talk to them in person. This year in summer camp, there was a counselor named Marcus. I really liked Marcus, because he was very kind to me and fun to be around. After talking to him, I found out that he had Leukemia. My camp has a program, “Cool To Care,” which taught me that donating money is a good way to help people who cannot afford certain things. As part of this program, we have jars that the campers can use to donate money to their favorite charity. After becoming good friends with Marcus, I decided to donate $20 to the National Leukemia Society — even though I didn’t ask my mom’s permission. For the rest of the summer, I spent a lot of time with Marcus.

This summer, after meeting Marcus, and once I got home from camp, I talked to my Mom about gratitude. It’s a powerful feeling. After camp ended, I said to myself, “Wow, that was the greatest summer I’ve ever had, and I didn’t even use a phone.” I made lots of new friends, found out many things about them, learned about the outside world and how being kind to others made me feel the best ever.

So here’s some advice from a 12 year old who went seven weeks without electronics: Instead of playing on your phone or checking your streaks on snapchat, play sports, meet new people and learn about the outside world.