February 2016 Volunteer Update


CQNW volunteers Chuck, Meg, Bridget, Phil, Mike and Paul.

Camp Quest National Leadership Summit

The 7th annual Camp Quest Leadership Summit was held in Charlotte, North Carolina this past weekend. Volunteers Chuck, Paul, Mike, Bridget, Phil and Meg represented Camp Quest NorthWest with our largest contingent ever at the national summit. They return having shared and received lots of great ideas for future camp sessions, long term planning, and the future of CQNW. We look forward to sharing those ideas with you over the coming months!

Camp Quest NorthWest Planning Retreat

Registration for the March planning retreat is now open. The dates are set for Friday March 18 through Sunday March 20th  at Camp Kirby. Team building and planning activities are scheduled to begin Friday evening after dinner and continue all day Saturday. A CQNW board meeting is tentatively scheduled for Sunday morning.

The planning retreat is open to all new and returning volunteers. You are welcome to register and attend regardless of whether or not you plan to be on staff this summer. Visit the registration page and take a few minutes to complete the included questionnaire. Please take a few moments to give thoughtful answers to these questions, as they will be instrumental in developing the camp program this year. Also, please plan to have your registration completed by March 11th in order to give us time to complete the meal planning for this event.

CQNW Board Meeting

The next CQNW board meeting will be Thursday, February 25th and the Round Table Pizza in Burien from 6:30 to 9:00 PM. We hope to see you there!

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January 2016 Volunteer Update


Performers at the 2015 CQNW Washington Talent Show

Camper Registration

Wow. That was unexpected.

In case you’re just getting caught up, camper registration for Camp Quest NorthWest opened on the morning of January 1st. By that afternoon the camp was fully booked, and by the end of the weekend there was a waitlist that was longer than ever. The CQNW board and registration team are humbled by the appreciation and commitment displayed by this level of demand.

Staff Registration

If this level of demand is any indicator, our need for volunteers is greater than ever. Staff registration is now open and can be found on the staff page on the CQNW website. We encourage volunteers to get their applications in as soon as possible.

Programming Committee

Camp planning is underway but we’re still looking for volunteers to contribute and provide feedback about camp programming. What is programming, you ask? Well, it’s simple. Programming includes all planned activities that happen at camp. From small group instruction to all camp activities, from morning calisthenics to the evening campfire, it’s all within the scope of camp programming. If this interests you, please consider joining the programming committee. Send an email to programming@campquestnorthwest.org to join and I’ll add you to the group. All are welcome!


Volunteers Paul and Kayla at the 2015 Planning Retreat

CQNW Planning Retreat

We’re also in the process of preparing for the 2016 CQNW Planning Retreat, which will be held March 18-20th at Camp Kirby. Both new and returning volunteers are welcomed to attend. The retreat is also open to others, including friends and parents, who are interested in helping to develop the programming for Camp Quest NorthWest 2016. Details are being finalized, but typically the retreat begins on Friday evening and ends Sunday morning, with the bulk of the planning and other activities scheduled for Saturday. Information about how to register will be available soon!

National Leadership Summit

The 2016 Camp Quest Leadership Summit will be in Charlotte, North Carolina this year from February 19th-21st. Registration is currently open and available at a reduced rate until January 27th. [Correction: The deadline for the reduced rate was January 20th.] You can also book your hotel stay here.

CQNW has limited funds available to assist with travel expenses. If you’re interested in receiving a full or partial scholarship to assist with attending, email board@campquestnorthwest.org or be prepared to make a request at the January 20th board meeting.

Next Meeting

Our next board meeting will be held at the Round Table Pizza in Burien on Wednesday, January 20th at 6:30 PM. All volunteers and interested parties are welcome to attend!

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Fall 2015 Volunteer Update

New Board Members

The Camp Quest NorthWest Board of Directors is pleased to welcome our two newest board members, Paul Mopps and Philip Cole. Please join me in welcoming them to the team! They take their places alongside President Chuck Wolber, Secretary Jami Blackann, Treasurer Mike Warbington, and members at large Lou Amadio, Natalie Koonce and Bridget Lombardo. There is currently one open board position.

paul phil

Paul Mopps (left) and Philip Cole

Camp Quest NorthWest – Oregon

In 2015, CQNW held our first week of camp at an idyllic camp ground in Oregon. We are extremely proud of that camp session and we look forward to holding future session in Oregon. Regrettably, our host camp does not have space for us to return in 2016. Faced with the challenge of finding a suitable location on short notice, the CQNW board has opted not to host a camp session in Oregon in 2016 and to instead focus on offering the best possible camp session at our established Washington location, Camp Kirby.

Camp Quest NorthWest – Washington

Mark your calendars! Our week at Camp Kirby is reserved for August 13 – 21, 2016 (with campers arriving on the 14th and departing on the 20th). We are in the process of transitioning to a new platform for our staff applications and we should have more information about that to share with you very soon!

2016 CQNW Planning Retreat

We’re still working out the details, but our annual Planning Retreat will be held March 18-20th. Save the date! New and returning volunteers who are interested in contributing to camp programs and planning are encouraged to attend!

2016 National Leadership Summit

The Camp Quest National Leadership Summit is being held this year in Charlotte, North Carolina on February 19 – 21st, 2016. All volunteers are welcome to attend. Travel grants are available from both the national office and from the CQNW Board. I highly recommend attending this conference. It’s a great way to get excited about camp in the off season, meet enthusiastic volunteers from around the country, and get great new ideas for camp!

 Next Board Meeting

Our next board meeting will be a weekend meeting on Sunday, December 13th at 11:00 AM at the Round Table Pizza in Burien. We hope to see you there!

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A Day (And A Half) In The Life Of A Camp Quest NorthWest Cabin Counselor


Counselors Chase and Kevin prepare to for the arrival of their campers.

So, you’ve volunteered for Camp Quest NorthWest for the first time, or maybe you’re still thinking about it, and you probably have a lot of questions. What should I expect? What will my responsibilities be? Will there be enough coffee? For new counselors, this uncertainty can sometimes make those few hours before campers arrive the most stressful part of the week. Here’s what a typical first day or so might look like for the CQNW Cabin Counselor.

Sunday, Noon – Sitting down to lunch with the rest of the staff for our last meal before the campers arrive. Most of us got to camp yesterday afternoon and since then we’ve set up camp, completed training and orientation, and ran through most of the morning programs. I’ve taken a few minutes to review the camper printouts that the registrar has provided about the special needs of some of my campers. I generally feel fairly well prepared, but I’m still a bit nervous.

12:59 PM – We’re all set up for registration and the Camp Director has given the word to open up the front gates. About a dozen cars are already lined up and waiting to drop off eager campers. I’m a Cabin Counselor, so my co-counselor and I are waiting near the registration table for our first campers. Once our first two campers arrive, one of us will take them to the cabin. After that, the two of us will trade off shuttling campers from registration to the cabin which will be our home for the next week, ensuring that the rule of three is always satisfied.


Camp Director Chuck welcomes new and returning campers and their families during registration.

3:02 PM – Registration has officially ended, although we’re still awaiting one of the campers assigned to our cabin. The registration team will bring them to us once they arrive. Meanwhile, the rest of us are in the cabin, getting settled in, reviewing the Rational Rules for Living at Camp Quest, and coming up with our cabin cheer.

3:57 PM – Our final camper has arrived, and we’re heading to the Camp Intro event to meet up with the rest of the campers and counselors. The Camp Director will review the rules and some of the other things to expect at camp this week. All of the other counselors and I introduce ourselves. Each cabin does their cabin cheer, although ours doesn’t quite go off as planned. We’ll have to rehearse it a bit more before tomorrow morning. We wrap up with a couple of all camp icebreakers and then get ready for dinner.

5:29 PM – Apparently this camp is serious about handwashing, because even after every single camper had washed their hands for dinner, two LT “Sani Sergeants” were dispensing hand sanitizer for everyone on our way into the BFP (“Big Food Place”). We sit down at the tables and the kitchen staff explain the dietary options available as well as the procedure for clearing the tables after the meal.

6:17 PM – My table has finished eating and we’ve started clearing off the dirty dishes and uneaten food. The Camp Director now has a few … “declarations of an informative nature” for us (remind me not to use the “announcements” word) and he’s asked us to pause our dinner clean up temporarily so that the tables in the back of the room can hear. The Program Director gets up to read the first of many “Selection Game” scenarios which the campers play using the animal and attributes on their name badge. After we are dismissed from dinner we briefly return to our cabins to grab sweatshirts and jackets because it’s starting to cool off a bit. Some of us also put on bug spray because the mosquitos are at their worst during the evening.

6:30 PM – The bell rings and we reassemble for our first All Camp Event, a Pod Intro activity. The campers are divided into pods using the symbol on their badge. In addition to being a Cabin Counselor, I’m also a Pod Leader, so I find the campers in my pod group and assist in guiding them through this evening’s activity.


Counselor Libbie tells a spooky story during the evening campfire.

8:32 PM – After the all camp activity, we all meet back up at the evening campfire. As we settle in, the LT “Flag Bears” lower the camp flag and store it for the night. Tonight the Assistant Director will be leading campfire, and I’ve volunteered to get up and lead the group in one of my favorite camp songs with the assistance of a couple of the LTs. A few of the counselors also treat us to a series of skits to illustrate some of the camp rules that we had gone over earlier during the Camp Intro.

9:33 PM – Just as dusk is settling in we are dismissed from the campfire back to our cabins. Tonight I’m assigned to “Evening Shower Monitor” duty, which means I’ll be stationed near the main showers until lights out at 10:00 PM to ensure that there is no goofing around in the bathrooms. After that I’ll go back to my cabin to wait for the campers to settle down to sleep. Once they do, I’ll head to the staff campfire to hang out with the other counselors before I head back to bed myself.

Monday, 3:27 AM – I am awoken by a camper who needs to use the restroom. This is the only time where I’m allowed to make an exception to the rule of three and allow them to use the restroom on their own, but since I’m already awake I put on my sandals and accompany them, waiting for them just outside of the restroom before returning to the cabin.

7:30 AM – The Camp Director kindly wakes up my campers by playing reveille on his trumpet just outside of our cabin. Fortunately I got up a bit early to catch a shower before the wakeup call because I know this is going to be a busy day. This morning my cabin has KP Duty, so we’re heading to the lodge a bit early to set up for breakfast.


Counselors Kayla, Mary and Sean prepare their morning cabin cheer.

7:50 AM – The bell is rung and the rest of the cabins start assembling near the flagpole. The LT Flag Bears have already raised the camp flag. Many of the other counselors and campers are still in their pajamas. The youngest cabins straggle in after the rest of the cabins have already done their cabin cheers. (Those counselors now have a better idea of how long their campers take to get ready in the morning.) After cheers we do some light morning calisthenics lead by one of the other counselors who was kind enough to volunteer.

8:49 AM – Breakfast is wrapping up and campers are heading back to their cabins. My cabin and I wrap up KP Duty clean up and then head back ourselves. My cabin co-counselor has morning stayback duty, so during the staff meeting from 9:15 to 9:45 they’ll be hanging out in the cabin area. I take notes during the staff meeting so that I can fill in my co-counselor on all of the important reminders and schedule updates.

10:00 AM – The bell rings indicating that the campers’ morning prep time has ended, and the pods begin assembling near the flagpole. As a pod leader, I gather up the campers in my pod and take roll call to ensure that they are all present. Once the pod is intact, we head to our first morning block activity, which starts at 10:10. It’s a bit drizzly this morning, so one of the activities has been moved to the alternate indoor location. Fortunately our Program Director mentioned this during breakfast so I’m well prepared to lead the pod to the correct place.

11:39 AM – My pod group has KP Duty today, so we wrap up the second morning block a little early so that we can set up for lunch. We make sure to wash and sanitize our hands first though, of course. After the tables are all set, the two LT campers in our pod serve as Sani Sergeants for the other campers and staff.

12:48 PM – We are dismissed from lunch back to our cabins. The sun is starting to come out, so I remind the campers to put on sunscreen and bring their hats. I change into my shorts as it’s starting to warm up a bit too. At 1:00 PM the bell rings and we meet back up at the main area near the Big Food Place. I’m assigned to go on break during C Block at 1:00 PM, so I take a few moments to myself and wander along the beach before I head to the staff lounge area and hang out there for the rest of the hour.

1:56 PM – My break has ended, so I head to my assigned location and take over that activity so that another counselor can go on her break during D Block. The campers and I keep playing the game that they were in the middle of and for the most part the campers are oblivious that the staff has rotated around them.


Counselor Darren and his campers listen to instructions before the evening all camp activity.

2:45 PM – Afternoon snack is served. After washing and sanitizing their hands and eating snack, the campers return to their cabins for “Back On Bunk” time at 3:00. I’ve asked the cabin to read silently on their own bunk for the first 15 minutes so that the most tired campers can have a chance to drift off to sleep. After that, talking quietly and quiet card games are allowed.

3:50 PM – The bell rings signaling the end of Back On Bunk time. Since I’m on top of things, I’ve already given my campers time to get prepared for their late afternoon activities. This afternoon the campers will get to choose from Swimming, Team sports, Archery, Climbing and Kayaking (so that’s why it’s called “STACK Time” on the schedule), so the swimmers have their bathing suits on, the climbers have good shoes on, etc. Today I’m assigned to assist with Swimming, so we pull the campers out of the water at 4:50 so that they have enough time to shower and get dressed before dinner.

6:13 PM – Dinner time has ended, and we’re heading back to our cabins for Skit Practice. The Program Director handed out skit prompts after dinner, so we have a few ideas of what to include in our skit and some required props. A couple of the older LT campers join us to assist with ideas and direction for the skit. We didn’t get very far in planning our skit, but we did come up with some good ideas that we’ll expand on throughout the week.

7:20 PM – The bell rings signaling that skit practice time has ended. I rally my cabin and head to the flag pole for the all camp activity. The whole camp assembles in a large group and awaits instructions from the activity leader.

8:44 PM – The all camp activity ends a little bit early so we head to our cabins. I grab my flannel shirt because it’s starting to cool off again and a few of the other campers grab their jackets. At 9:00 the bell rings and we head to campfire.

9:31 PM – Campfire has ended, so my co-counselor and I round up our campers and head back to the cabin area to get ready for bed. I’m assigned to Evening Stayback duty tonight, so I go around to the other cabins in the area to introduce myself and let them know where I’ll be if they need me. I’m required to stay back in the cabin area until midnight, and since it’s been such a busy first day of camp I decide that I’m just going to go straight to sleep after lights out.

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June & July 2015 Volunteer Update


Archery instruction introduced some new campers to the sport and provided an opportunity for others to hone their skills.

Camp Quest NorthWest – Oregon Recap

June was a busy month for Camp Quest NorthWest.  We successfully held our first session at Oregon 4-H Center with 18 counselors and 33 campers. Our staff was full of veterans, with every staff member having attended at least one prior camp session. Some notable milestones include:

  • Counselor Kiah holds a place of distinction as the first CQNW camper to “graduate” and join us on staff.
  • Counselor Val attended her 14th camp session and her first as a counselor. She has attended sessions at seven different Camps Quest.
  • Counselor Mary attended something like her 25th or 26th Camp Quest session. I’m not even sure she can keep track of them all at this point.

The Adventure Swing was a popular new activity unique to CQNW-OR.

With temperatures reaching the high 90’s, both campers and counselors enjoyed time in the pool, with swimming being one of our most popular activities. We also enjoyed canoeing in Pagoda Pond, the “Adventure Swing”, and nature walks. To stave off heat exhaustion, campers and counselors observed regular Water Appreciation Moments throughout the day, which were about as close to ritual as you’re likely to observe at Camp Quest NorthWest.


Campers explored the pond but saw no signs of the creature some call “Newton.”

Campers were introduced to Newton, the fabled giant migratory newt that attracted scholars and experts from around the world in anticipation of a rare sighting at CQNW – Oregon.  Many campers were skeptical after being presented with some flimsy evidence and conflicting accounts of sightings, history, and even the creature’s appearance. (Some of the more bewildering accounts suggest that it may have two heads!) Nonetheless, the guest experts remained steadfast and many of the counselors seemed to be convinced.

Washington Volunteers

Washington volunteers, we hope you’re getting excited for camp! CQNW-WA is just over one month away. An email was sent earlier today with a list of suggested camp supplies and to confirm your availability. Also, keep on the lookout for additional communications from me regarding training, programming, and other important details about camp.

Next Board Meetings

We’re now hard at work making final preparations for our Washington session in August. We’ll be holding not one but TWO board meetings in July, the first of which is just two days from now on Wednesday July 8th at 6:30 PM. The following meeting will be Wednesday July 29th. Both meetings will be at 6:30 PM at the Round Table Pizza in Burien. All new and returning volunteers are encouraged to attend.

If you’d like to to receive these updates via email, please send an email to volunteers+subscribe@campquestnorthwest.org.

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