A former California techie who left his startup job to encourage the tech-obsessed to detox from their digital devices died Wednesday. He was 32 years old.
Levi Felix — who co-founded Digital Detox, a firm that organizes unplugged retreats, and Camp Grounded, a tech-free summer camp for adults — was diagnosed with brain cancer last year.
“He did everything possible that his doctors offered, plus more,” his obituary read.
Felix co-founded Digital Detox after he suffered a stress-induced esophageal tear in 2008 while working 70 hours per week at a digital marketing firm, his longtime friend Adam “Smiley” Poswolsky wrote in an online tribute.
“The experience was a wake up call for Levi to take a break from the stresses of the digital world,” he wrote.
After a year of traveling the world with his longtime girlfriend, Brooke Dean, and without their cellphones and computers, they came back to a “country face-down in screens,” they wrote on their Digital Detox website. They founded the firm and began offering tech-free retreats, where participants could meditate and connect with other people offline.
In 2013, the couple founded Camp Grounded, a more extensive summer camp-like retreat.
Since then, the camp has held 15 sessions in wooded areas of California, North Carolina, New York and Texas, and has hosted 3,000 participants. The camps are modeled after children’s summer retrats, and include campfires, arts and crafts, outdoor activities and sports.
“We live in a world where the average person spends between 8 and 12 hours on a screen,” Felix told CNET in 2014. “”So when you can come and just unplug for extended periods of time, and play and create and explore, and interact with people without it being about what do you do for a living or what’s your job title, that is incredible.”
Felix and Dean married last October, nine months after he was diagnosed with brain cancer. He is survived by his wife, his parents, Bluma and Edward, and his two brothers, Seth and Zev.
In the wake of Felix’s death, Camp Grounded announced that summer 2017 will be its final season. In lieu of flowers, his family asked for donations to the camp.
“Your donations will go to making this final season of Camp Grounded exactly the way our fearless leader would want it to be: Wholehearted!” the camp’s page read.