Our secular, co-ed summer camps offer week-long residential programs for children aged 8-17 and day camps for children aged 4-8.
Core education content areas
All Camp Quest® programs focus on seven educational content areas which form the foundation of our unique approach to program development. We pride ourselves on having innovative, leading-edge programming and empower our camp leaders to incorporate the latest in research, technology, and best-practices when developing camp activities.
Humanism is a progressive philosophy of life that, without theism or other supernatural beliefs, affirms our ability and responsibility to lead ethical lives of personal fulfillment that aspire to the greater good. Camp activities that focus on humanist ethics aim to familiarize campers with this worldview which promotes altruism, peace and social justice, community service, and personal responsibility to helping others and caring for our planet.
Critical thinking & Scientific inquiry
We learn through observing the world around us - and it’s a big world! Experimenting, gathering information, and testing that information for accuracy, truthfulness, and utility is the basis for developing critical thinking skills. At Camp Quest, we encourage campers to ask “why?”, to dig into some of life and science’s most challenging questions, and to use reason and empiricism when tackling problems.
Freethought heritage & Worldview awareness
At Camp Quest, campers and adults alike are inspired and intrigued by the diversity of worldviews that have developed throughout human societies and cultures. Freethought Heritage and Worldview Awareness activities, including our signature Famous Freethinkers™ program, encourage cultural literacy and expose campers to a variety of belief systems and religions found throughout the world. Camp Quest promotes open-mindedness, choice, empathy, and respect for religious, philosophical, and cultural diversity while also modeling appropriate and respectful discussion and critique of belief systems.
Nature appreciation & Recreational activities
All Camp Quest programs are hosted at camp facilities which offer a variety of outdoor recreation options and give campers an immersive experience in nature. Activities vary by location and may include hiking, fishing, canoeing, rock wall climbing, swimming, zip lines, and more. Campers spend time observing the natural world, sharing their discoveries, and working together to learn about natural sciences, environmental responsibility, and outdoor and wilderness safety.
In addition to our seven content areas, Camp Quest® Signature Programs offer activities that exemplify our approach to science-based education, collaborative problem-solving, and cultivating communities of diversity, inclusion, and respect.
Throughout history, some of the most influential individuals who have contributed to radical advances in scientific knowledge, cultural development, and human progress have also been people whose beliefs and worldviews have differed from traditional systems of thought. We introduce campers to these freethought heroes in our Famous Freethinkers™ program. Campers learn about the lives of these famous individuals, from Susan B. Anthony and Charles Darwin, to Meryl Streep and Daniel Radcliffe. “Freethought” is a philosophical viewpoint which holds that positions regarding truth should be formed on the basis of logic, reason, and empiricism, rather than authority, tradition, revelation, or dogma. Campers learn that freethinkers are a diverse group, including people of different ages, genders, races, ethnicities, sexual orientations, and from various historical time periods, occupations, economic backgrounds, nationalities and cultures.
Socrates Café is a philosophy discussion activity pioneered by Christopher Phillips in his book Socrates Café. Phillips’ goal was to bring philosophy to people of all walks of life from third graders, to prisoners, to elderly people in nursing homes. At Camp Quest, Socrates Café is a facilitated discussion circle focused on a big philosophical question, like “what is knowledge?” Campers engage with questions that have fascinated and challenged humankind for generations, and the insights and perspectives they offer continually amaze us!
Critical Thinking Challenge Skits
Critical Thinking Challenge Skits engage campers in thought about ethical issues in their home, school, and community and fosters collaborative problem-solving. Campers learn about the impact they can have on igniting positive change to address some of our world’s most challenging problems. On the first night of camp, campers are issued a challenge question or prompt that will be transformed into a short skit presented by their team at the final campfire. Challenge Skits offer campers the opportunity to freely explore a major ethical or social question with their peers, providing their response through humor, song, and performance.
Moment of Science!
Moment of Science is a short, daily program where an interesting scientific fact is shared - loudly, exuberantly, and for all to hear and learn! In keeping with our fun camp atmosphere, campers and staff might take turn sharing fun facts, and exchanging ideas and knowledge.
When the first Camp Quest opened in 1996, two invisible unicorns attached themselves to the community. Motivated by the loftiest of prizes, a pre-1954 one-hundred-dollar bill, campers have vied to do the impossible: prove that the unicorns do not exist. As Camp Quest has matured and expanded, new mythical creatures have become part of Camp Quest lore. Our Invisible Creatures activity is an enormously fun and spirited way to build camp identity and explore complex philosophical problems. Invisible Creatures also introduces campers to logical fallacies and compliments our other critical thinking and reasoning activities.
World Religions & worldview awareness
Cultural literacy has become increasingly important in our globalized world. Our World Religions program encourages cultural literacy and promotes our values of open-mindedness, empathy, inclusion, and diversity. Many Camp Quest locations feature programming centered on teaching campers factual information about the world’s religions, as well as other non-religious life-stances, such as atheism and humanism. Camp Quest aims to expose young people to the various complex ideas that exist in the world, not dictate how they will accept or reject those ideas. Teaching our campers to respect and learn about other peoples’ beliefs and cultures allows them to model for others the same respect and empathy we desire for ourselves.