CQ Director's blog

Heather's Dad is Donating $1,500 to Camp Quest if You Match Him!

Tommy and HeatherTommy pledges $1,500 to Camp Quest if you will match it. Tommy's daughter Heather had a great experience at Camp Quest Smoky Mountains this summer, and he wants to make sure that more children like Heather get to have the same experience.  

Here's what Tommy has to say:

This past August my 9-year-old daughter, Heather, attended her first sleep-away summer camp at Camp Quest in Eastern Tennessee’s Smoky Mountains. She had the time of her life there and is begging to go back next year. She loved the campfires and marshmallows, friends, games, and nature hikes. As a father, however, it was nice to know that her experience at Camp Quest was much more than the typical “hiking and campfires. Camp Quest really stands out in this regard. In-between the standard campfire songs or nature hikes, there are science experiments and even chances for the campers to learn about philosophy and ethics. In an area surrounded by vacation bible school summer camps, it’s nice to know there is a secular, nonreligious alternative aimed at promoting humanist values, learning about science, and encouraging wonder at the natural world. 

My daughter’s camping experience was phenomenal. Not only did she have fun, but I could be sure she was engaged in learning life skills that really matter at the same time. I want other children to be able do the same. The world needs more Camp Quests and that is why I am donating $1,500 to the organization and asking for the public to donate matching funds. 

Help us make Tommy's match and create more amazing weeks of Camp Quest for kids like Heather all over the United States. 

(Psst... we're still finishing up our match from the Stiefel Freethought Foundation. If you've done that math that means that your gift to this challenge actually gets quadrupled instead of doubled! There is no better time to give.) » Read more

Celebrating Camp Quest on my Birthday

Amanda and August Summer 2003Today I turn 35. Get me a present?

Here’s the thing, if I could go back in time and tell 22-year-old-Amanda where she would be now and where Camp Quest would be now, I don’t think she would believe me. (Although she looks a bit credulous in this picture, so maybe she would.)

In June of 2003, when I was 22, I volunteered as a counselor at Camp Quest for the first time. That week I became part of a small community of freethinkers, as young as 8 and as old as 80. After just one week of fun, friends, and freethought, my life was forever changed.

Twelve years ago I became part of a scrappy band of activists who were doing something world changing, and maybe just a little bit crazy. » Read more

Wedding Bells are Going to Chime!

This weekend Camp Quest is celebrating not one, but two amazing partnerships! We are so excited to celebrate with two of our board members and two of our volunteers this weekend. Caroline Martin and Dan Smucker are getting married today in Ohio.  Rachael and Tom Quisel are celebrating their commitment ceremony in California tomorrow. Both couples have asked for gifts from friends and family to be made to Camp Quest to celebrate!

Caroline and DanCaroline Martin, a Camp Quest national board member, says:

In 2011, Dan and I met volunteering for Camp Quest Ohio. As our relationship grew, so did our roles at camp. From counselors we grew into roles like Cabin Area Leaders, Camp Director, and Board Chair. We have supported each other through tough decisions, long board calls, and seemingly endless summer days. Camp Quest has shaped who we are; we have become not only partners in life, but in work. The growth and success of Camp Quest is so dear to us. We work throughout the year to create a place where both kids and adults can explore and create in a welcoming, warm environment. In celebration of our partnership, we ask you to help ensure Camp Quest’s future by making a donation in our honor.

 » Read more

Envision 2020: Help Camp Quest Double in 5 Years!

Camp Quest has 2020 Vision

Mia Envision 2020 Camp QuestThis year Camp Quest turns 20, and my how we've grown: from 20 campers in 1996 to more than 1,000 in 2014. But there is so much more we can do...

With your helpwe can double that impact in five years.

The Stiefel Freethought Foundation has awarded us a $50,000 matching grant that will double your gift.

Imagine more than 2,000 youth ages 8-17 participating in one of thirty five week-long sessions held only a car drive away from every major city in America. » Read more

What Camp Quest Means to Me: Tristan Ginn

Tristan at 8

Nineteen-year-old Tristan Ginn has been attending Camp Quest Ohio since 2006, this year was his first as a counselor. In the fall, Tristan will begin attending Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis where he plans to major in non-profit management and become active in the campus LGBTQ movement.

Tristan looks forward to returning to Camp Quest every summer to share his passion for Camp Quest's values and to continue his work guiding young campers as they discover the power of critical thinking and the joys of community. Below, Tristan shares his story growing up with Camp Quest. 

Camp Quest is one of the most wonderful events in my life every year. I started going to camp when I was nine, a small child in a big world. But camp made that big world a little smaller, and that community of wonderful, loving people grew on me as I went back each year. All of the activities that I experienced as a camper were phenomenal and each pushed me outside my comfort zone. This is what makes the Camp Quest experience a magical one.

  » Read more

Monthly Matching Madness!

Join the Camp Quest Party!

UPDATE: We are at 76 out of 100 Monthly Donors as of 11:00pm eastern 6/25/2014

The Stiefel Freethought Foundation has issued a challenge to Camp Quest, and you can help! If we can reach 100 people who are automatic monthly donors to Camp Quest, the Stiefel Freethought Foundation will award us $5,000!

We're at 66 monthly donors right now (as of 11:43am eastern on May 22nd)! You can be one of the 34 more people we need to reach our goal, so join the clubWe even made fun donation levels for you:

At $96/month you join the Founders Club and celebrate Camp Quest's founding in 1996.

At $73/month you are part of the Best Number Club.  Sheldon can explain.

At $42/month you join the Ultimate Answer Club, you Hoopy Frood! » Read more

A Message from the Chair

Bob ReadyGreetings! I'm Bob Ready, the Chair of the Camp Quest Board.  Since you are reading this, I will make an assumption that you have some interest in Camp Quest. Whether you've come from a facebook post about our monthly donor campaign, you found us in the vast wilds of the internet, or you've known about us for some time, I'd love to tell you why Camp Quest matters and how you can help.

First, I'm going to cheat, though. Here are a couple of videos from Camp Quest South Carolina and Camp Quest Minnesota.  Watch and you'll get a better idea of what camp is all about than I can express in words. Don't worry, I'll wait until you get back...

At Camp Quest, we bring kids from across the country to summer camp. Along with normal camp activities that involve a lot of running around outside and educational activities that focus on science and critical thinking, we specifically focus on creating a safe place for kids. Unlike some other organizations, we don't care what labels society puts on our campers, we want them to feel welcome and understood no matter who they are, what their family is like, where they came from, or what people call them.  » Read more

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!

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

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