What One Campership Recipient Has to Say About Camp Quest

If you want to know what a week at camp is like for a camper, we couldn't tell you any better than this camper who attended Camp Quest Minnesota in 2013 with help from our Helen Kagin Memorial Campership Fund.

Letter from a Camper » Read more

Happy Birthday Mary!

And Now a Word From Our Overseas Partners...

girl looking free homeopathic remedies  Girls studying plants

Camp Quest's overseas partners in crime had a great time this summer! Camp Quest UK held their fifth year of camp, and Camp Quest Schweiz was brand new this year.  

Camp Quest UK, which takes place just west of London had some moments of science this year! They had a moleculer biologist who came in to talk to the campers about how the smallest evolutionary changes can inform design ideas and create great changes in society, showing the plant that inspired Velcro and how shark skin was the influence for wetsuits. There were additional programs on artificial intelligence, designing cities of the future out of papermache, and psychoneuroimmunology (the study of how emotions effect our health). They also discussed biases and how in debates they can color people's opinions. 

Camp Quest Schweiz's first year went off with a bang! They are located in the beautiful mountains of Switzerland. Campers cooked up scams in the kitchen by making their own homeopathic remedies. Campers also looked at their own blood under a microscope, debunked a fake personality test, and put together electromotors to race. They even had a mentalist come in to teach the campers tricks that they could wow their parents and friends with!

boy with electrode on his ear kids researching campers in front of the mountains

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Colorado, New England, and Atheist Alliance of America, Oh My!

rockets

So with the summer winding down most people believe that camps are coming to an end. But at Camp Quest the camping season never closes! Many of our camps hold family events during the year, so check with your local camps if you're looking for year round excitement! 

Next year we will be welcoming another camp into the bunch, welcome Camp Quest Colorado! As a kick off this summer they decided to have a family weekend outing. Campers and families had fun shooting off rockets, making some awesome tie dye, and doing archery in the woods. After that people were knot amused... By learning how to tie a whole bevy of knots! Families and campers enjoyed watching the local wildlife as well. 

Camp Quest New England had a fabulous time at their picnic outing. Supporters rallied together at Harkness Memorial State Park. Campers got to explore polymer sciences and engineered their own kites to fly during the picnic. There was a plethora of yummy food that everyone chowed down on. The staffers entertained the crowds by having a precarious egg toss. 

The Atheist Alliance of America Conference was a blast as well. Camp Quest New England and Chesapeake got together and helped set up a mini-camp for the weekend. Campers got to go on their own archeological exploration on the dinosaur scavenger hunt, searching high and low for hidden dinosaurs and pondering clues. Swimming was a blast, along with talking about virtue ethics, and pixel art was sizzling hot as we talked about patterns. Without a doubt, both campers and vounteers alike loved Klingon tag, a fun game which was a cross between paintball and good old fashioned tag.  » Read more

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

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