Cameras at Camp: What to send?

Sending a camera with your camper can be a great way for them to capture camp memories.

As you are hopefully aware of by now, camp has a strict “No electronics” policy, with the one exception being stand-alone digital cameras. (This means that any device that can run applications, or has any functionality past that of a camera is not allowed).
In past years, I have seen parents send their campers with disposable film cameras, and while I love a good analog format as much as the next guy, the excitement of camp usually means that all 24 (or 36) shots are taken within the first few hours of arriving at camp, and if I had to guess, 90% of those shots are out of focus and / or too dark.

Now, I completely understand that you aren’t going to want to send your DSLR to camp, or even your nice point-and-shoot, but there is another option!
If you go to the Goodwill on any given day, I guarantee you will find a digital camera for about $5-10, that uses AA batteries, and an SD card to store photos on. They may not have 18 gigapixel resolution, or HDR functionality, but they are going to be more than adequate for capturing memories of camp. Additionally, if they get lost or broken, you aren’t going to be out much money.

When looking for a used camera at Goodwill (or any other thrift shop), I recommend the following:

  1. Bring some AA batteries, and an SD card with you when you shop. That way, you will be able to test the cameras out in-store. Most of the time, the storage media has been removed from the camera by the time it hits the shelf, and any batteries are likely dead so bringing your own SD card will ensure you can fully test the camera.
  2. Sunday mornings, around opening time seem to be a sweet-spot for finding the best electronics. Many folks are in church, or still sleeping, and the stores restock overnight so you’ll have a better chance at getting something good.
  3. Stay away from Sony. Most Sony cameras you will find at Goodwill (or other thrift stores) use memory-stick flash memory, and / or proprietary batteries. If the proprietary battery is even still with the camera, odds are it won’t charge, and the memory-stick format is pretty defunct now. Compact Flash is still somewhat common due to their use in a lot of industrial equipment, so a CF camera might still be a good choice. (CF Readers are also easy to come by). The only real downside to CF is that there are TONS of tiny pins on the camera side, and if your camper is a fidgeter, they might pop the card in and out a bunch, damaging the pins.
  4. Keep it simple! You may be swayed by a camera with a nice optical zoom, but these tend to drain batteries faster, and depending on the design, can easily get jammed up with sand and dirt; both of which we have in great quantity at camp.
  5. Make sure the camera has external media support, and / or uses a standard data transfer cable. Some digital cameras I have seen are super basic VGA affairs that only use internal memory. This might be ideal for some of our younger campers, since the camera is going to be much MUCH simpler to use, but make sure that you’ll be able to plug it in to get the photos off of the camera!
  6. Before sending your camper and camera to camp, organize a photography treasure hunt! Hand your future camper a list of items to take photos of, and let them go for it! First off, it’s a fun activity, and second, it will allow them the chance to get familiar with the camera’s operation, so the chances of getting usable photos back from camp is greatly improved.
  7. Pack extra batteries for them! We won’t have the ability to give out or charge batteries, and power outlets for chargers are an extremely rare commodity. Cameras are pretty high-drain devices, so if you can convince your camper to bring the spent batteries home, they will still serve you for months (or years) in wall clocks or remote controls. Amazon brand batteries are a great value, Costco brand batteries are good as well, and even dollar-store alkaline batteries stand up really well. (Don’t buy “heavy duty” batteries though, those use carbon-zinc chemistry, and are very low capacity compared to “alkaline” batteries.)

If you have any thoughts about the ideal camera to bring, or you have any other hints, tips, or tricks for camp, please comment below, and share them with the other parents!

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Order your 2018 CQNW T-Shirt or Hoodie Today!

2018 CQNW T-Shirt

The 2018 CQNW T-Shirt includes a retro sunset design on the front and a Flying Spaghetti Western themed design on the back featuring the silhouettes of famous freethinkers.

Complete this form to order your 2018 Camp Quest NorthWest hoodies and extra t-shirts now. Zip-up hoodies are $50 and all t-shirts are $20. Orders received before May 25th will be printed and ready for pickup at the June camp session. Orders received after the May 25th cutoff will be available for pickup at the August camp session.

You should receive an invoice within 48 hours of submitting your order. Please wait for an invoice before sending payment. The preference is for pickup will be at the June or August camp session, although the option to have items shipped to you is available. Shipping costs will be estimated and will be included on your invoice. Delivery will be no earlier than the conclusion of the August camp session.

Remember that all campers receive one t-shirt included with the cost of their registration, and all volunteers receive one t-shirt at no cost. Use this order form to order extra shirts for yourself or family members.

All proceeds benefit CQNW Camperships.

This zip-up hoodie includes a unique “Camp Quest NorthWest Marshall’s Badge” on the front and the retro sunset design on the back.

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Space is still available at Camp Quest NorthWest – June 2018

Camp Quest NorthWest provides an educational adventure shaped by fun, friends, and freethought, featuring science, natural wonder and humanist values. Register now for our June camp session, June 17-23, 2018. Visit our registration page for more information and details, or head straight to Active to register for camp or apply for financial aid.

We recently held our annual Planning Retreat at Camp Kirby, where 22 of our dedicated volunteers spent the weekend developing programming based on our exciting Flying Spaghetti Western camp theme. Here is just a taste of what we have in store for this year’s camp session.

    • Our intrepid campers will embark along The Camp Quest Trail, inspired by the classic Oregon Trail video game. Their pioneering journey will be complete with a stop at the general store, broken wagon wheels, and the looming threat of dysentery.
    • Regular visits from our resident Snake Oil Salesman to test the campers skepticism and critical thinking skills.
    • Campers will learn how early pioneers brought color to their world by trying out some methods of natural Cloth Dyeing.
    • We will discover the origins of photography by building replicas of early Pinhole Cameras.
    • Campers will have the opportunity to create and dress their own loveable Flying Spaghetti Monster Yarn Dolls.
    • Campers between the ages of 15-17 will participate in our Leadership Track (LT) Program, with programs designed to foster leadership, engagement and independence. LT campers pitching in with certain camp responsibilities such as administering hand-sanitizer at meal times and raising and lowering the camp flag, while also enjoying some additional freedoms to choose their preferred outdoor activities and helping to influence and develop the LT program itself.

We look forward to our June camp session which will feature an extra hour of daylight each day and actual green grass in the playfields. We also expect beautiful weather at the idyllic Camp Kirby and a smaller, more intimate camp session.

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2018 Camper Registration Now Open!

Register now for Camp Quest NorthWest 2018!

The financial aid application is also available at this time. Families seeking financial aid are encouraged to apply as soon as possible as we take the timestamp of your financial aid application into account in determining waitlist order.

Camp Dates

Please check your school’s schedule in advance and plan for snow days before choosing a camp session to register for. Consider registering for June if your camper’s school calendar allows so that other campers can register for August.

  • Week 1: June 17-23, 2018 (staff: June 16-24, 2018), Camp Kirby
  • Week 2: August 12-18, 2018 (staff: August 11-19, 2018), Camp Kirby
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CQNW 2018 Registration Details

Howdy, Folks!

We’re looking forward to seeing you at Camp Quest NorthWest in 2018, where our theme will be Flying Spaghetti Western. Our Programming Committee is already hard at work planning new and exciting activities for this summer’s camp sessions. We hope that you can join us, so here is the essential information that you’ll need for both volunteer and camper registration.

Camp Dates

  • Week 1: June 17-23, 2018 (staff: June 16-24, 2018), Camp Kirby
  • Week 2: August 12-18, 2018 (staff: August 11-19, 2018), Camp Kirby

Volunteer Registration is Open Now!

  • You can find the volunteer registration page here. If you need more information about how to register as a volunteer, you can find that here.
  • Our Planning Retreat is tentatively scheduled for March 23-25, 2018, at Camp Kirby. For the first time this year you can reserve your spot at the Planning Retreat through Active using the same registration link above.
  • Visit this page to find more information about Staff Grants.  To apply for a grant, please complete the supplemental form after completing your volunteer application.

Camper Registration Will Open January 6, 2018 at 12:01 a.m.

  • Additional details are available on our registration page here. Bookmark that page to find the link to registration as soon as it is activated.
  • The financial aid application will also become available at this time. Families seeking financial aid are encouraged to apply as we take the timestamp of your financial aid application into account in determining waitlist order.
  • Camp tuition will be $700 per camper. This is an increase over last year due to increased costs and planning for a smaller June camp session, but it is less of an increase than we had previously planned and announced.
  • Please check your school schedule in advance and plan for snow days before choosing a camp session to register for. Consider registering for June if your camper’s school calendar allows so that other campers can register for August.
  • Be aware that we have traditionally filled up the August sessions within a few hours of opening registration. Please plan accordingly!
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