Camp Quest NorthWest 2016 Quilt Auction

pjimage-2At our 2015 Oregon and Washington camp sessions we enlisted the help of our campers to design and paint the fabric squares that you see on these quilts. After camp, our extraordinary volunteer quartermaster Sharon used those designs as the basis for these six handmade quilts.

We are auctioning these quilts to raise money for Camp Quest NorthWest. Proceeds from this auction will be added to the camp general fund and will go towards funding camp scholarships, programming supplies, camp operations, and capital expenses. This is your chance to own a piece of CQNW history. Each of these quilts is approximately 30-38 inches wide by 38-44 inches long. They are designed to be hung on the wall, and should be washed minimally.

We have numbered the quilts from 1-6. Bidding for these one-of-a-kind keepsakes will start at $200 each. You can send your bids now to Please include the specific quilt you are bidding on and your bid amount.

These quilts were on display during registration and will be displayed again again during camper pick up on Saturday, August 20th. We will continue to accept bids through August 31st at midnight. We’ll be posting the details of this auction on our facebook page, in our staff and volunteer groups, and on our website. We’ll try and post regular updates about the current top bids to our facebook page.

Once the auction ends, the highest bidder for each quilt will be notified and we will arrange payment. Once payment is received, we’ll ship or deliver the quilt to you. Payment deadline will be September 30th. After that date, the quilt will be awarded to the next highest bidder.

Thanks again for your continued support of Camp Quest NorthWest!

Remember, send your bids to !!


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Welcome to Camp Quest NorthWest School of Wisdom and Wonder


The following letter was delivered to campers a few weeks prior to camp to introduce them to the camp theme.


Headmaster Dumblechuck
(Order of Darwin – First Class, Grand Calamari of Architeuthis, Supreme Geoduck,
Proclaimer of Chicken and Cheesus, Lackluster Warbler, and Camp Director)

Dear Camper,

We are pleased to inform you that you have been accepted at Camp Quest NorthWest School of Wisdom and Wonder.

Term begins on August 14th. Students shall be required to report to Platform √-1 at Camp Quest NorthWest on Samish Island between the hours of one o’clock and three o’clock in the afternoon. Your seagull will deliver additional details to your family including directions to camp and a list of all necessary supplies.

We very much look forward to welcoming you as we begin this magical chapter in Camp Quest history.

Yours Sincerely,

Mike Warbingtonagall

Deputy Headmaster


Camp Quest NorthWest School of Wisdom and Wonder will explore the science and reason that underly the seemingly magical world around us.

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Reflections on the Reason Rally, Part 2

[The following is a follow up to the earlier post from Camp Quest NorthWest volunteer Bridget Lombardo, reflecting on her experiences from her trip to the other Washington for the Reason Rally earlier earlier this month. – Mike]


His Flying Noodliness pictured with the Washington Monument.

I feel the need to put mention that, as was expected, there were a handful of protesters in attendance at the Reason Rally, each to their own degree of irritating. After my last shift as a volunteer ended I changed out of my shirt indicating my status as a volunteer and walked around, interacting with a wide variety of people, including three young women who were passing out Bible tracts. I saw what they were doing from a distance and thought “Why? Why are these people so compelled to interfere with our ONE day?”

The thought became so consuming that I needed to ask. They explained that they felt it was their Christian duty to let us know that Jesus loves us. I told them that we are told this on a regular basis; A good number of us were raised in the church, we hear it every day, and in some parts of the country we can’t escape it. Religious individuals are allowed to meet as a community and worship as often as they want, in any way they want. It’s built into our Constitution. No one is denying them that right. No one is telling them they shouldn’t exist or gather as they choose. What is the religious compulsion to interfere the moment a group of atheists forms?

I posed this hypothetical situation for them, in an attempt to get them to understand: “Imagine you are entering your place of worship and there are people standing outside, holding signs and handing out information about why you are evil and shouldn’t be allowed to exist as you are. Imagine that you have to fight your way to the door. Where do you think I would be in that situation? Do you see me as a protester, or would I be defending you?” They all I imagined I would be protesting. “Nope, I would be defending your right to worship, because no one, and I do mean no one, has the right to tell anyone else how or who or what to worship. The moment someone is telling others how to worship, or preventing them from worshiping, we’ve entered a theocracy, and it goes against everything I stand for. And I can guarantee that the majority of the people here would agree with me.” I was lucky to have a few eavesdroppers chime in their agreement. “We just want that same kind of respect from the religious side, give us our one day to gather without protest.”

Two of the women tried to continue to argue. However, I noticed a spark in the eye of the third woman right before she walked away. Maybe she saw the error of their ways (this is what I like to hope), or maybe she just got sick of talking to me (this is really the most likely situation). Either way, I hope I had an impact and they all think twice the next time they have an opportunity like this one.

As this encounter indicates, being secular in this country is never easy, especially when religion is so heavily invested in politics during an election year, and it’s important to find the community that supports you, which is another reason why camp is so valuable, to give the campers and staff alike a place to exist in a world devoid of the constant religious presence. A safe place to explore their philosophies and to learn the kind of arguments they will hear and how to counter them, and more importantly, what kinds of arguments aren’t worth engaging.

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Camp Quest NorthWest Summer Update

The 2016 Camp Quest NorthWest session is fast approaching. There are two board meetings scheduled before the start of camp. The next meeting will be on Tuesday, July 19th at the Round Table Pizza in Burien at 6:30 PM. This will be followed by a final camp planning meeting on Tuesday, August 2nd at the same time and location. All volunteers are welcome to attend!

We are still looking for volunteers to fill positions at camp, including male cabin counselors. We are also looking for someone with a medical background to act as an assistant and/or backup to the camp medic. Visit the Staff page for more information about how to apply to join us at camp!

As a reminder, volunteers will be expected to arrive at Camp Kirby after 1:00 PM on Saturday, August 13th. Campers are expected to be dropped off at Camp Kirby between 1:00 and 3:00 PM on Sunday, August 14th. Camper pickup will be between 10:00 and 11:59 AM on Saturday, August 20th. Volunteers will depart Sunday Morning, August 21st.

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Reflections on the Reason Rally, Part 1

[The following is a post from Camp Quest NorthWest volunteer Bridget Lombardo, reflecting on her recent trip to the other Washington for the Reason Rally earlier this month. – Mike]

IMG_20160604_092902048_HDR copy 3

View of the Lincoln Memorial during the 2016 Reason Rally

I’m writing this from the airport as the sun rises over our nation’s capital. Sleep deprived and completely wired, much like the end of camp, I want to take the time to reflect on my weekend adventures and share a few with all of you.

As it was my first trip to DC, I spent quite a bit of my weekend seeing sights and going to museums. The memorials and monuments were equally inspiring and heartbreaking. My personal favorite was the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial. It made me wonder, if he had lived, would he have continued fighting for the civil rights for all as he said in so many of his speeches despite his religious background? What kind of an impact could he have had in the fight for LGBTQ rights? Would he have joined the revolution, or would his religion prevent his intervention? I would love to have had the opportunity to find out.

But more than just being a tourist, the real reason I flew across the country was to help Camp Quest volunteers from around the US help run the family tent at the world’s largest secular rally, the Reason Rally. I’m not sure at this time the specific numbers of people who attended the rally, but it was significant and we had a steady flow of visitors to the family tent throughout the day. It was very hot and humid for this poor northwest native, but the positive energy of the people around me made the day fly by. I was surprised as to how many families I spoke with who had never heard of Camp Quest, but rest assured they left with more information than they ever expected. Not surprisingly, none of the attendees I met were from the northwest region since I can attest to how long this flight is. There were a couple of friendly faces among the volunteers though. It was wonderful to see both Mary Barzack and Ben Frey, both of whom had volunteered for Camp Quest NorthWest at previous sessions. We also had a few of the speakers pop into the family tent, including Laurence Krauss and Shelly Segal. (I even got a hug from Shelly!)

The rally was held at the foot of the Lincoln memorial, in view of the Washington monument, right by the reflecting pool. The importance of these landmarks definitely added to the grandeur of the event, but it was the people and the community who made the event so profound. Realizing that at all of the people in attendance (well, except for the protesters, but more about that later) were there for a shared purpose, a common goal, was simultaneously humbling and empowering. It was a reminder that I am not alone, that it is not just the people in my corner of the world who are fighting for the basic rights of all citizens.

As I rode the train back to my lodging after the event I thought about all of the children I saw throughout the day and how polite they all were, how thoughtful and considerate. I had this overwhelming feeling of hope for our future, along with the realization that this is just the beginning. All of the adults who spoke at and attended the rally are just a part of the first generation of the secular and Atheist activism movement. The movement is only going to get stronger as the next generation, kids who will be more likely to be raised in a secular home, come into their own. This is why Camp Quest is so valuable, not only to the freethought community, but to the world as a whole; to give the future generation the space and tools necessary to grow and continue the fight against irrational belief.

I can’t wait for this year’s camp session even more than before. Getting a glimpse into how our movement is progressing has given me so much more motivation to continue improving Camp Quest, for my own peace of mind, for our campers’ mental well-being, and for the benefit to the rest of society. I said it many times this weekend: my first week of camp changed my life for the better, and is the best thing I’ve ever done. I have more and more hope for the future as I see our young campers grow into their rational thoughts and compassionate behavior.

But I can’t do it alone. We are always looking for more volunteers to help out for our week-long camp session beginning August 14, 2016! If you’re interested in joining this amazing team of dedicated volunteers, submit your application today!

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