Summer Camps February 25, 2007

Summer Camps

The Chicago Tribune Magazine ran a cover story today about various summer camps across the country.

One of the camps they featured was Camp Quest (CQ), the summer camp for children of atheists. (Stephen Colbert poked fun at it last year.) They interviewed my friend August, the director of one of the regional sites. (Strangely enough, his wife Amanda is the president of the national Camp Quest, overseeing all six CQ sites, but she wasn’t mentioned…)

Anyway, here’s the excerpt:

A DECIDEDLY DIFFERENT experience awaits those who enroll at Camp Quest, started in 1996 for the children of “atheists, freethinkers, humanists and brights.”

Last summer, the common theme at the camp’s six locations was “Beyond Belief.”

“We don’t teach the kids that there is no God,” says August E. Brunsman IV, director of the camp’s site in southwestern Ohio.

“We try to promote values of secular humanism, though not everybody at camp wants to call them that. Enlightenment values. A focus on logic and reason and how to learn about the world.”

Besides taking the traditional archery and swim lessons, campers spend a week trying to prove that two invisible unicorns said to be on the campgrounds do not exist. The winner is awarded a “God-less dollar bill.”

Nobody has ever won.

Camp Quest allows kids to fit in without being judged for their religion or lack of it, Brunsman says.

He recalls the time a boy who had been raised Catholic attended camp at the urging of his grandfather, an atheist.

“As far as I know, he was still Catholic at the end of the week,” Brunsman says.

[tags]atheist, atheism, Chicago Tribune, Magazine, summer camp, Camp Quest, CQ, August E. Brunsman IV, Amanda Metskas, Beyond Belief, Ohio, secular humanism, Enlightenment, Catholic[/tags]

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