Dr. Katie Hladky to serve as Interim Executive Director of Camp Quest

Katie SpeakingAs some of you may have already learned, Camp Quest’s Executive Director, Amanda Metskas, who has been President of the Secular Coalition for America since January, will be serving as their acting chief executive while they search for a new Executive Director. Camp Quest has been a member organization of the Secular Coalition since 2009, and we are proud to lend them our awesome leader! 

Camp Quest is pleased to announce that Dr. Katie Hladky will serve as our interim executive director, assuming responsibility for the daily operations of Camp Quest during our exciting summer camp season. An accomplished Camp Quest veteran, Katie has been volunteering since 2002, most recently serving as Assistant Camp Director for CQ Ohio and CQ South Carolina. During camp sessions, Katie manages staff duties and camper discipline, often enjoying more than the permitted number of s’mores when no one is watching. A collegePie Time Katie professor with a PhD in Religion, Katie has a strong commitment to developing camp programming that encourages critical thinking and global citizenship. Most notably, Katie has spearheaded our signature World Religions programming, designed to expose campers to the diversity of human experiences and worldviews while encouraging respectful, critical dialogue.

As a board member for Camp Quest, Inc. since 2004, Katie has become well-acquainted with our organizational operations and we are excited to have her leadership.

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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

We will miss you, Edwin Kagin

Edwin Kagin and Amanda MetskasEdwin Kagin, one of the founders of Camp Quest, died at his home at age 73 on Thursday night.  In addition to his work with Camp Quest, Edwin was a powerful advocate for atheists as the National Legal Director for American Atheists.  Many of the traditions that carry on at Camp Quest to this day were Edwin's idea - the invisible unicorns, and the challenge skits to name a few.  He influenced hundreds of campers, many of whom went on to be volunteer counselors and leaders at Camp Quest as they grew up. Should you wish to honor Edwin, consider sponsoring a child to attend Camp Quest.

Amanda Metskas, Camp Quest executive director, said, "Edwin was larger than life, as anyone who met him can attest.  We'll be telling stories about him for a long time - his antics and his achievements.  He was gruff, and generous, and brilliant, and cantankerous all at once. » 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!

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!


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

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