A Summer Refresh
Do what it takes to de-tech your summer
By Klein Aleardi

Everywhere we go, we’re faced with screens: school, work, the doctor’s office, movie theaters, Wawa, the list goes on and on. And while tech has lots of benefits, from convenience to connection, being sucked into our screens all day has plenty of downsides. Since there’s only 1 month left to summer, we’re thinking this might be the perfect time to put down your phone, head outside and soak up the sun (and each other).

When Covid shut down the world in 2020, technology became our best friend. It was how we stayed in touch with loved ones, how we got updates on staying safe, and it helped us simply pass the time during lockdown. But that technology boost has permanently changed all of us, and not necessarily in a good way.

“Social connection is the primary factor to overall well-being,” says Lindsay Johnson, assistant director of well-being at Rowan University. “Not feeling connected can make us feel depressed. There are ways you can be engaged on tech, but there is something to be said about being next to someone in person.” 

Taking some time offline helps us live in the present, explains Johnson, and especially keeps us from the negativity often found on social media. “A lot of people have high social comparison when using social media. It’s all about getting the most likes, shares, followers, but that doesn’t mean you feel connected, and it can cause feelings of envy and bitterness.” 

When it comes to socializing, Johnson says it’s about quality, not quantity. That’s something the students at Rowan learn during the university’s Recharge and Re-Connect retreat. Before the start of each school year, a group of students put their screens away and head into the woods. They spend time getting to know each other and learning about tools they can use to support their own wellness in the upcoming semester. 

Every year, the students come away with a deeper appreciation for taking a tech break. “The responses we get warm my soul,” says Johnson. “This year it rained, and people said it was wonderful hearing the raindrops on the lake. One comment was: ‘I wouldn’t have heard that if I was on my phone.’” 

The key for these students is taking a tech break, not cutting out tech completely. That’s not a realistic solution, adds Johnson. It’s not even the best one. 

At Rowan, students can access teletherapy and digital wellness tips, so tech is a valuable tool in students’ wellness journey. “Tech is individualized,” Johnson says. “Your relationship with it depends on how your family talked about it, how you were exposed to it through media. We help students understand how they can use tech to their benefit.” 

So with only a few weeks left to the easy days of summer, might we suggest you put down your phone. Maybe try it for a weekend, and then for a whole week. We put together a few ideas to help you get started.


Take a hike (or a walk)   

Try these 5 trails for your next SJ trek 

Cape May Point
State Park Trails
Length: Half-mile to 1.5 miles

Creekside Trail
Length: 3 miles

Batsto Village Trail
Length: Half-mile to 4 miles

Mullica River and Batona Trail Loop
Near Hammonton
Length: 11.5 miles

Palmyra Cove Nature Park
Length: 8 Miles

92% of teens and young adults own a smartphone. Source: Child Mind Institute

Want a memory boost? Hug a tree

During a study at the University of Michigan, 2 groups of students were given a memory test. One group took a walk around an arboretum and the other took a walk down a city street. When they took the memory test again, the group that walked in the arboretum performed almost 20% better.

The CDC recommends children get at least 60 minutes of physical activity each day.




Get High

We mean that literally. August 7 is National Lighthouse Day, and South Jersey is celebrating in style.

Absecon Lighthouse
Open from 10 am to 5 pm
Special event: Kids 12 and under climb free

Cape May Lighthouse
Cape May Point
Open from 9 am to 2 pm
Special event: crafts and collectibles show featuring family-friendly lawn games and The Wetlands Institute touch tank. 

Hereford Inlet Lighthouse
Special event: Free admission and special guest speakers including local historians and Coast Guard members

85% of Americans own a smartphone. In 2011, 35% did. Source: PEW Research Center, 2021

A Little Wild

Live out your favorite nature show with one of the many organizations taking care of the wildlife that call South Jersey home – and a few animals that don’t.

Adventure Aquarium 
Don’t miss: Stingray Beach, Penguin Park, Hippo Haven, Touch A Shark   

Cedar Run Wildlife Refuge
Don’t miss: Ember the Red Fox and Phoebe Muffay the Striped Skunk 

The Wetlands Institute
Don’t miss: Daily salt marsh safaris, Turtle Tuesday and horseshoe crab mania Thursday  

Rancocas Nature Center
Don’t miss: 3 miles of hiking trails, dragonfly pond and frog pond

Spotify IRL

Give your headphones a rest – there’s lots of performers just down the street waiting for you to come by and jam out.

Sunset Jazz Series
Aug. 7, 14, 21 & 27, 8 pm 

Wiggins Park
2 Riverside Drive, Camden

Gloucester Concert Series
Aug. 8 & 22, 7 – 9 pm 

Proprietors Park
225 S King St., Gloucester City

Mummer’s Night
Tuesdays in August,
7 to 9 pm
The Boardwalk, between 6th and 14th streets, Ocean City

’60s Music Festival
Aug. 26, 2 – 10 pm
Haddon Avenue, Westmont

3 benefits of boredom

As summer winds down, we’ve all become familiar with the phrase “I’m bored.” But it turns out, that’s actually a good thing. Check out some benefits of boredom.

1. Creativity
Just like working your muscles to get that summer body, you have to work those brain muscles to build creativity. By removing outside stimulation (goodbye TikTok), our minds begin to wander, and we use our imagination to stay entertained. 

2. Growing Up
Have you ever heard someone say, “Life’s hard?” Well, they’re not wrong. So think of boredom as a practice run for the frustrations and obstacles of life.  

3. Burn out is real
We’re all human. We can’t be “on” 24/7, 365 days a year. Rest is our friend, and necessary to avoid burnout. So look up, gaze at the sky and just relax. Your brain will thank you later.

People who spend at least 120 minutes a week outside are more likely to report good health or high well-being. Source: Scientific Reports, 2019

(Not) Too Cool for School

No one is rushing back to the classroom just yet, but that doesn’t mean you can’t learn a little – and still have fun – before school is officially back in session.

Battleship New Jersey
The most decorated battleship in the U.S. Navy’s history is permanently anchored right here in South Jersey. Come aboard to learn about the ship’s history, including its role in World War II, with interactive exhibits – you can actually go through the motions of loading one of the ship’s guns – and guided tours. 

Harriet Tubman Museum
Cape May played a pivotal role in the fight to end slavery, so it’s only fitting that a museum dedicated to Harriet Tubman and other abolitionists’ lives is located in the Shore town. The museum features artifacts from Tubman’s life in Cape May and stories of the underground railroad network in New Jersey. 

Edelman Planetarium
A trip to space is a lot to ask, but the Jean and Ric Edelman Planetarium has the next best thing with live stargazing, themed shows (Laser Taylor Swift anyone?) and an exploration of Mars. Bring the whole family Sundays at 2 pm for a designated family show. 

Historic Cold Spring Village
Cape May history comes to life at Historic Cold Spring Village as historic reenactors demonstrate trades and chores that were commonplace in the 19th century. Talk with blacksmiths and bookbinders, tour the Cape May Point Jail and take a walk through living history. 

Burlington County Library System
The system’s 15 locations host events for all ages – from scavenger hunts to paint classes – every day. Check out Paws to Read with therapy dog Winston at Pinelands Library on Aug. 8.  

Barclay Farmstead
Farm life – but make it 1816. Visit the Barclay Farmstead for a taste of what life was like on a South Jersey farm over 200 years ago, with reenactors and tours every Wednesday between noon and 4 pm, and Sundays between 1 and 4 pm. Visit the website for a special scavenger hunt the whole family will love. 

August 2023
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