Thank you Larry Jones!

Amanda Metskas and Larry JonesLast weekend our executive director gave the following speech at a dinner honoring Larry Jones. We wanted to share this speech with everyone because Larry's contributions to Camp Quest have been so crucial to our success.  Thank you, Larry! If you're inspired by what we've done with Larry's help, please join him in making a donation.

 

It would be cliché to say that without Larry Jones, Camp Quest wouldn't exist, and to be honest I'm not sure if that's true.

It's possible that Camp Quest would exist without Larry, but if it did, it would be almost unrecognizeablely different.  Camp Quest without Larry, if it still existed today, would likely be one camp session in Ohio with 40 campers.  Instead, in 2013 Camp Quest served more than 850 campers at 17 different week-long sessions.

Larry, through the Institute for Humanist Studies, funded start-up grants that provided the seed money for Camp Quest's very first expansion efforts -  » Read more

What's Going on at Our August Camps

  

August was heating up, but our camps kept it cool with fun, friends, and... trebuchets? 

Camp Quest Texas was swinging and flinging into engineering, campers got to build their own catapaults and trebuchets to see how simple machines can work together with physics to go farther than ever before. The campers got creative with engineering foil boats, making their own palm pipes, and arts and crafts. Getting down and dirty, the campers got to do some gardening and learn all about horticulture and how plants grow. 

They decided to take the scenic route at Camp Quest Smoky Mountains when they floated in tubes down the river. The camping enjoyment went on with orienteering, learning survival techniques, and doing a great service project where they helped dig and clear a landmark swimming hole for the camp ground. Things got theatrical when they put on shadow puppet theater, creating their own puppets and performances.  

  

Campers had some rip roaring fun at Camp Quest Montana! At our family camp for both kids and parents, they went roaring down the river doing white water rafting. Other fun activities that everyone got to make their own bath bombs, discuss evolutionary traits of local plants and animals on a nature hike, and make up their own creation myths on how the universe started. They went straight to the top on a mountain-side high ropes course and came soaring back down on hill-side luges. 

Camp Quest Northwest put their hypothesis to the test in the egg drop, where they created a contraption around an egg to make sure dropping it a distance wouldn't break it. They got skeptical when the campers worked to figure out psychic predictions, talked it up when recording radio interviews, and got wet studying marine biology. Dissecting owl pellets was hands on, trying to figure out what sort of diets different owls prefered.  » Read more

Updates from July Camps: Part Two

July just kept rolling, more sun, more fun, more freethought. 

   

At Camp Quest Michigan their year was a splash considering the awesome water trampoline that they got to play with in the lake! The fun didn't stop there they had smores, made friendship bracelets to give to one another, and tested out their fear of heights on the high ropes course! Socrates cafe really let campers speak their mind, letting them discuss in depth topics like fate, basic human rights, and bullying. 

Camp Quest Minnesota had two sessions this year! They really liked to put their best foot forward, they went on a hike to cut back the invasive plant species to help the indigenous growth shine through. They got down and dirty with other activities such as dissecting brains, henna tattoos, and  rock climbing. For their field trip they went to a local organization called Second Harvest to help feed families in need. In all they made over 8000 meals! 

  

It was a ton of fun at Camp Quest South Carolina where they got to play dress up at the fashion show and make their own sparkly nail polishes to test out on one another. Glitter was very in this year. Along with that this years entertainment included pixel art, a great talent show, and a zipline over the lake. They were getting flexible practicing stretchable yoga moves before breakfast even started! 

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Updates from July Camps: Part One

  

July flew by and we had so much fun we can't even contain it to just one post! 

Camp Quest Kansas City had its first year ever this year and what a year it was. Campers got to dissect squid and learn about their inner workings. Other activities they particapated in were martial arts, swinging some poi, and canoeing out on the lake. In the whale evolution program kids got to learn about how whales first developed as mammals on land before diving back into the sea. 

At Camp Quest West they even had two sessions! 

During Camp Quest Norcal the kids loved to rock out and sing all their favorite camp songs. Astronomy, working with simple machines, and making your own sonic screwdrivers out of pens were all activities we had a blast doing. Kids even got to put together opposing sides of a peaceful protest on whether or not to ban healthy cereals, while designing their own posters, shirts, and bumper stickers. 

  

Not to be out done, Camp Quest Socal brewed up their own DNA. They did an experiment where they quite literally sucked the DNA out of strawberries! More activities included hiking, discussing communication, and having a fabulous board game night. One of the favorites, however, was when they had a Flying Spaghetti Monster pirate themed dance, where kids got to dance the night away in pirate garb. 

Back over on the east coast, Camp Quest Chesapeake was a splash with their super slick waterslide. There was plenty of fun to be had ncluding dance classes, improv games, and a guest speaker who educated us on bats. Physics were brought into the equation with an awesome optics program where campers got to test the limited of light and polarize common objects.  » Read more

Highlights from Our June Camps

   

We're back from our first few weeks at camp! Arizona, Ohio, and Oklahoma all had their sessions in late June and all three camps were completely booked! 

At Camp Quest Arizona, they knew how to have fun. Some of their activities included fishing, survival techniques, drama, and sing alongs. There was even make your own stuffed animal abominations where campers got to sew together bits and pieces to splice together new species of animals. Another cool program that they had was make your own musical instruments, where campers made marimbas out of PVC, duct tape, and cardboard. 

Camp Quest Ohio had a great time learning about the festival of Holi, the festival of color, where they got to bombard each other with colorful chalks. There was also a carnival of games, karaoke, gaga ball, bridge engineering, and campfires. Campers got to discuss the moral semantics of superheroes and the difference between good, bad, and anti-hero morals.  

Over at Camp Quest Oklahoma campers were elbows deep in the sciences. Quite literally when they got to make their own silly putty and learn about polymers! Other cool activities that campers got to partake in were rapelling, canoeing, archery, and water wars. They even got to make their own robots out of popsickle sticks and hydraulics then at the end of the week battle them against one another.  » Read more

Welcome Mary Barczak, Camp Quest's New Program Manager!

Mary BarczakCamp Quest is excited to announce the hire of Mary Barczak as our second full-time staff person.  Mary got involved with Camp Quest as a camper at our very first session in 1996.  After many years as a camper, Mary grew up and became a volunteer cabin counselor.  In the last four years, she has served as both Art Director and Assistant Camp Director.  Mary has volunteered with both Camp Quest Ohio and Camp Quest Chesapeake.  In addition to Mary's many years of experience as a Camp Quest volunteer, she brings her experiences in the arts, technology, program development, graphic design, and marketing to her new position.  

As Program Manager, Mary will be working with Camp Quest's volunteer leaders across the country as well as with groups interested in launching new Camp Quest programs.  Camp Quest's goal with this position is to provide more resources and support to our growing network of local camps. » Read more

Statement from Camp Quest on Restaurant's Cancellation of Camp Quest Oklahoma Fundraiser

We want to thank everyone who has supported Camp Quest Oklahoma this week after their fundraising event at a barbecue restaurant was cancelled on Monday night.  The cancellation of their fundraiser, which had already started, was due to the restaurant owner, Joe Davidson, claiming that supporting the camp wasn't compatible with his Christian identity. » Read more

Stiefel Foundation Matches Donations to Camp Quest Oklahoma this Week!

Camp Quest OklahomaSupport Camp Quest Oklahoma with a donation, and have your donation matched this week with a gift from Stiefel Freethought Foundation to Camp Quest, Inc.

You may have heard that Camp Quest Oklahoma's fundraiser scheduled for Monday, April 8th at Oklahoma Joe's Barbecue in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma was cancelled last night by the restaurant owners after guests had already started arriving.  Despite a flyer clearly stating the mission of Camp Quest, and planning for the event for at least a month in advance, the owners decided once the fundraiser had started that it conflicted with their Christian identity. » Read more

Camp Quest Joins Secular Leaders Supporting Civility in Our Growing Online Communities

Civility NowCamp Quest is proud to sign on to the following letter promoting civility in our growing and increasingly diverse secular community.

An Open Letter to the Secular Community

It is an amazing time to be part of the secular movment.  Look at what's happened in 2012 alone.  We held the Reason Rally, the largest event our community has ever had, which brought over 20,000 atheists, humanists, and other secular people together on the National Mall. We are growing, attracting new people, and drawing more attention than ever before.  A big part of that growth is thanks to our large and dynamic online community.  Online secular communities have helped people encounter new ideas, deepen and broaden their thinking, and even change their minds.

A Problem with Online Communication

At the same time, the fact that so much of our community is online brings with it certain challenges. » Read more

Camp Quest Oklahoma Partners with National Inclusion Project

National Inclusion ProjectCamp is about building memories - having fun and making friends while also enjoying the outdoors. Young people with disabilities or behavioral health challenges are sometimes left out of social gatherings at school or in their neighborhood. At camp, where the emphasis is fun and friendship, differences in ability are less important than they are at school.

Camp Quest Oklahoma is once again being held at Camp Fire Green Country's Camp Waluhili - a proud partner of the National Inclusion Project's Let's ALL Play initiative. As a partner agency, Camp Fire is becoming more intentional about providing camp opportunities for children with Down Syndrome, autism spectrum disorders, behavioral health challenges, or other developmental or functional struggles. » Read more

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