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Camp Quest

Planning TimeEarly in the Spring
Group SizeAny
Staff #Any
Event DateSummer (one week)

Activity Overview:
Over the summer break, your group is likely to have little to do - there's not much going on at campus, and your members may be physically dispersed. A great way to help the freethought community and build camaraderie in that time is to apply as counselors to Camp Quest, a network of camps for freethinking youth around the country. The camps host kids aged 8 to 17, and in general college-age volunteers are housed two to a cabin with eight of the younger children. Find more info about the camp locations and applications here.

Planning timeframe:
The camps are a week each over summer break. Applications to be a counselor should be submitted as early as possible in the spring, but are typically accepted through May. If you're late, submit anyway - some sites may need to fill in personnel.

This can be done by as many people in your group as you like. Since applications are submitted individually, coordination mostly amounts to getting people to apply. Since most camps have between 10 and 20 counselors, you might not all go to the same camp - which is not a bad thing, since you can meet other freethinking people!

Material requirements:
Board and bed are provided to counselors at no cost, but they are expected to bring their own camping supplies. This includes a sleeping bag, bug spray, bathing suit, and things usually subsumed in the category of camping gear.

Campers are not allowed to bring technologies that connect to the outside world, such as laptops and cellphones. Counselors are allowed to bring these items, but can only use them within staff-only areas. If this limitation is uncomfortable, you should not apply as a counselor!

Cooperating Organizations:
If your campus group isn't interested, feel free to reach out to local freethought groups. Even if there's only one person in your group who wants to do it, they are absolutely welcome to apply!

Suggested Walkthrough:

  1. The first thing you need to do is drum up interest with your group members. Emphasize how this is a way to give back to the freethought community and come closer together as a group - not to mention a way to engage in fun camp activities for free!
    1. Camp Quest brochures are available for prospective counselors; contact Amanda Metskas.
    2. Keep in mind, though, that camps are in rustic areas - people with a fear of bugs or the dark should not apply.
  2. Those interested need to apply individually, and will be subject to criminal background checks. Currently, applications have to be done at each camp's website individually.
    1. In new counselors, CQ looks for experience with kids and in the freethought community - your campus group counts! They also look for counselors with a range of hobbies and interests that would make good activities - this can be anything, such as drama and improv games, juggling, science experiments, nature hikes, or something else. Be creative in your application.
  3. If you're accepted, most counselors will go through a training phone call or two. If you've indicated that you can design or guide an activity, this will also involve a phone call with the site director.
  4. Transportation to the sites is up to the individual counselor. They can drive, or if taking a plane can be picked up (but be sure to let your director know what flight you are taking!).
  5. While at camp, have fun and keep your kids safe! You are highly encouraged to make this a regular activity, either as a group or individually.

One of our best resources to find out what works and what doesn't is you - our student leaders! If you've employed a strategy that worked well, let us know about it so other groups can also use that idea. If you've learned a lesson of caution about something we suggest, point out the pitfalls. You can email us at [email protected]!

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