Can kids still go unplugged in the summer?

(CBS News) Leaving home for camp is a rite of passage for children everywhere, and for kids at one camp, leaving home also means leaving all gadgets behind.

On a beautiful summer morning, Emily Crites is outside, learning about Milkweed.

"A lot of bugs and butterflies like to drink and eat this type of plant," Crites says.

Lucas Utterwulghe is building a fort.

"It's good to get away from the TV for a little bit," Utterwulghe says.

And Sophia Gunther, is at the pond.

"It's has lots of nature and you get to play in the mud," Gunther says.

At least one day-camp in Chevy Chase, Maryland, is old school -- no electronics allowed, because if they were home, these kids all know what they would be doing.

"I probably would be watching TV," Crites says.

"Playing Games. Playing my I-touch," Utterwulghe says.

"Watching TV...that's not really good," Gunther says.

The average American child now spends 53 hours a week using technology. The time kids spend outside has dropped 16 percent just in the last five years.

"The more high-tech our lives become the more nature we need," says Richard Louv, author of "Last Child in the Woods."

Louv says a generation of children is at risk of growing up nature-deficient.

"Yes, technology gives us things. Yes, we get certain skills from that, but we also get certain skills from being outside in nature," Louv says.

Some of the skills learned outdoors include problem-solving, creativity, and leadership. That is why parents like Alice Crites send their kids back, year after year.

"They love it. They love being in the mud. They love to be outdoors. They love to be walking, and come across a deer," Alice Crites says.

Over the course of the summer, more than a thousand young campers will spend time out-of-doors in a program run by the Audubon Society.

The mud washes off, but the experience, sticks.

  • Chip Reid

    Chip Reid is CBS News' national correspondent.

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