6 thoughts on “Atheist Summer Camp Needs Volunteers, Help

  1. Atheist though I am, I wouldn’t send my kids to this. One of the many reasons atheism is a superior ideology is that you don’t need an organization, club or church to practice it in – why would you? You don’t need to be taught its principles, or hierarchy, or deities, it’s just simply what it is. I see nothing to gain from this.

  2. Anonymous,

    Maybe you aren’t a child from a non religious family, or maybe you aren’t a non religious parent of a child who may have a difficult time in school because of peer pressure to join a church, but to people who face difficulty in their communities because of their lack of belief, Camp Quest is important. We provide a week where kids can be kids. Greg called Camp Quest an Atheist Camp, but Camp Quests around the country, in Canada, and the UK, have welcomed children from different backgrounds, including Pagans, spirtualists, liberal Christians, even a Catholic family.

    I think there is a stereotype that Camp Quest is like Jesus Camp for atheists. What we try to include as part of a regular summer camp, is confidence to express your thoughts, ethics, we usually include a service project to give back to the community, and we learn about another culture or religion by someone from a culture or religion.

    Camp Quest is also in a good position to provide a network for parents to communicate concerns about things their kids experience in school. This can be relayed to people who are part of the Secular Coalition for America, which can then be used to frame discussions about education policy discussions with legislators.

    You’re free to not see a benefit, but I can assure you that the hundreds of parents and kids who have been a part of Camp Quest since 1996.

  3. As a parent of a kid who has been to Camp Quest I can vouch for the fact that there is a great deal of value in Camp Quest. I have also volunteered for a day and I really enjoyed myself.

    This is about camp. In addition to all the specifics that Bjorn mentioned, it is about having fun, learning science, skeptical thinking, having fun, having fun and also having fun. Did I mention that they have fun?

    Anonymous, you don’t know what it is all about, but have you considered actually finding out, or are you too cool to do something so inane?

  4. Having defended Camp Quest from similar misunderstandings by religious people (given their bias), it’s extremely odd to now read the same sort of misunderstanding coming from one claiming to be an atheist.

    If Camp Quest taught atheism, it would be a very short camp indeed. Let me be clear: We do not teach atheism. I’m not at all certain that atheism is something that can be taught, or how we would go about it. Atheism is a conclusion, not a belief, and campers are already atheists when they come to camp (if they are). We don’t teach them there is no god — they come to camp having already rejected that idea — their parents have raised them in reason rather than superstition.

    However, at Camp Quest, campers learn that it is okay to not believe in god. Except for home, there is no other place for them to safely express this. At Camp Quest they learn, perhaps for the first time, that they are not alone.

    Founder Edwin Kagin describes Camp Quest as a night light in a dark and scary room.

    At Camp Quest children begin to learn to cope with a world dripping with religiosity. They are introduced to famous historical freethinkers, discovering again for the first time that they are the latest beneficiaries of a long line of dissenting thought. They also learn about religions, what they are, who believes them and their history. Knowledge is their best defense against a world built on credulity.

    They will never learn any of this in school.

    Every year, it is always fascinating to watch new arrivals at camp. You can usually tell if it’s their first time at CQ, because they’ve brought a lifetime of anxiety with them — and after they realize they are in a place where their thoughts can truly be free, that anxiety melts away and the real child appears. It is equally amazing to witness tearful reunions of returning campers.

    Children of believers are certainly welcome and their views respected. They will probably return home with questions. All of our campers are encouraged to ask questions. However, unlike most organizations, we don’t claim to have all the answers.

    Camp is for swimming, canoeing, archery, horseback riding, hiking, climbing walls, high-ropes challenge courses, games, arts and crafts, and learning to live together. Campers are encouraged to appreciate the natural world through a scientific understanding of it. CQ is a very traditional summer camp in every way, except one.

    I was very pleased to have stumbled upon Camp Quest almost eight years ago, and to start the Michigan CQ seven years ago. It has been my very great pleasure and honor to be part of and help build this community, and to work with the most wonderful people I’ve ever met.

    Those who criticize, don’t know. There is only one way to know. Volunteer.


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