Camp Spotlight: Camp Quest Montana Family Camp

Camp Quest MontanaGet to Know Camp Quest Montana

by Chantal Yacavone, Camp Director CQ Montana

Camp Quest Montana (MT) proudly joined the Camp Quest network in the summer of 2011. We share Camp Quest’s mission of community building and providing a setting in which those of freethinking, atheist, agnostic, humanist, and non-theistic families can share and explore their developing worldviews in an environment supportive of critical thinking. Camp Quest MT is unique, however, as the only week long family summer camp in the Camp Quest network. Located in the beautiful Rocky Mountains of Northwest Montana on the pristine waters of Flathead Lake (the largest freshwater lake in the United States west of the Mississippi River), Camp Quest MT is held in 2 adjoining private homes on 8 acres occupying over 600 feet of private shoreline on the lake. One of the homes is fully equipped with cable TV and wifi internet access. This vacation like atmosphere offers an ideal setting for families to relax while sharing quality time in which to explore and share their beliefs and values. All too often, day to day life is too busy for such quality time to be shared between parents and children. Since many non-religious families do not have a formal framework in which to discuss these critically important issues, Camp Quest MT offers a retreat-like experience for secular families. Our family camp experience in summer 2011 left the participating families stronger and more bonded – and while the family together time was cherished, we had very enjoyable and stimulating adult discussion time as the children enjoyed being kids with new friends.

We are very excited about Camp Quest MT 2012. Our theme for this year is ORIGINS. The intimate family setting of CQMT allows much flexibility in both curriculum and activities. The unique contributions and ideas of child and adult campers are fully welcome (please feel free to email ideas for topics and activities by contacting us and selecting Camp Quest Montana from the dropdown). This year we will begin by exploring multicultural creation myths. Most myths seek to explain humankind’s motivations, beginnings, and/or purpose. Creation myths will be contrasted with our current scientifically based explanations of the beginnings of the cosmos and biological evolution. The night sky on Flathead Lake is ideal for stargazing, and late night telescope sessions will offer an enjoyable opportunity to view the constellations. Last year we saw shooting stars nearly every night, and the teen campers took the opportunity to discuss their thoughts and beliefs each evening under the night sky. Various activities will allow campers to gain a better understanding of the evolution of life on earth, and a framework for understanding the implications of our common origins for peace, compassion, and social justice. A hallmark of the week is a hike in Glacier Park, which allows campers to view first hand some of the earliest geology of our planet. Our hike in the park last year offered breathtaking opportunities to view natural adaptations – we ourselves experienced the chance to hike on snow banks in our shorts in 80 degree weather. This year, we plan to put our critical thinking skills to work during an excursion to The Montana Vortex in Columbia Falls, MT – this site puts forth extraordinary claims regarding the effects of a gravitational anomaly that supposedly defies the laws of physics. Of course, we cannot forget the activities we shared last year that make this a truly enjoyable camp experience – swimming, kayaking, power boating (tubing), lawn games, campfires, roasting marshmallows, and Chantal’s famous campfire éclairs. Summer 2012 promises to be a tremendous experience for all – please follow the links for registration. Please see our Camp Quest MT Facebook page for pictures and videos of our summer 2011 camp, our Weird Al song parody video contest was one of the high points of camp!