In 2011 I worked for Camp Quest as a Program Director.
It was in the middle of July in California, and there were about a hundred kids in Camp Quest that year. What was I thinking?
It was a wonderful experience that I wouldn’t trade for anything!
Chris Lindstrom was the Camp Director that year, and her enthusiasm, joy, and energy were infectious. Chris has challenged the Central Valley Coalition of Reason to raise $200 to sponsor a child to Camp Quest.
I’ve asked Chris to explain why this is so important:
I’ve been spending a lot of time going to American Camp Association training over the few years, learning about best practices, safety procedures, and state regulations. One of my colleagues – a retired camp director from a Catholic camp – mentioned that she grew up in a “skills” based camp but that she now ran a “values” camp. Apparently, skills based camps mostly focused on hands-on skills: survival skills, knot tying, guitar playing, archery, ropes courses where the word of the day is always about gaining competence in a given skill. In the values camp world, it’s about overarching values – in her case – Catholic values.
Our head of staffing told me that she thought our camp was a hybrid. We DO teach skills. We have some Freethought activities specifically geared to science skills. One of our activities this year is all about the magic of magnets and that even the earth itself is a giant magnet. We also have elective activities where staff give hands-on training in things near and dear to their hearts like songwriting, rocketry, survival skills, yoga, tai chi and more. But it’s not just skills in isolation – it’s skills plus values. And our values are rooted in humanism: compassion for others, drive to make the world a better place, evidence-based decision making. Our activities are followed by discussions. How can these skills be used in the service of others? How does this knowledge affect our view of the wider world?
I think Camp Quest West has a unique and valuable product. We can not only help kids grow up, we can help them develop the kind of character to build the world we yearn to live in. Not all families have the same financial resources. Donations to Camp Quest West are used to support our tiered pricing structure and camperships.
Chris has set up a donation challenge for us on the Camp Quest website. It is for everyone who is part of the Central Valley Coalition of Reason, and for our friends and supporters. Just click on this button to go there.
Just a few dollars from everyone will be enough to ensure a kid gets to go to a full week of summer camp, a fun place where they can also learn to apply critical thinking!