By Matt Foran, Director of Camp Ockanickon

 A Popular Video Game Ad Entitled, “Journey Ahead”

“Wake Up … Wake Up,” begins the ad for a very popular video game this season. A young male with a serious case of bed hair awakens and wanders off into a new world.

The protagonist encounters challenges and trials, makes his way into a deep cave with a glinting treasure before a dragon emerges from the depths. The narrator makes a call to action – to come together, to overcome fears.

It sells the idea of a journey into a new place away from the comforts of home.

It sells a world where viewers can complete difficult challenges and learn new skills. It sells awe-inspiring connection – once the protagonist leaves the laziness of his dark room and crosses into the new world, he wanders in awe through a beautiful, sun-filled forest.

The ad ends with the tagline telling viewers that, “Greatness Awaits.”

It does? Really?

Greatness is hidden in the creases and comfort of the couch? Real world confidence and competence are best built through controllers and cheat codes? I never would have guessed.

I would have guessed that camp might be a better place to explore. I would have guessed that camp might be a better place to push past the comfortable – to realize you are capable of more. I would have guessed that camp might be a better place to meet people from around the world and perhaps see eye to eye – literally and figuratively.

That’s what I would have guessed. Perhaps a video game is really where Greatness Awaits. Or perhaps the company execs know what young people truly need – experiences that push them out of their comfort zone and provide growth – and they’re pretending that that’s what they provide.

It is good advertising and our boys are buying it.

As a youth development professional, I’m not.

Let’s keep sending our children on real journeys and real growth experiences. Whether it is camp or somewhere else, the comfort of the couch should not be in the equation.