At age thirteen or so I attended a week-long, overnight Christian summer camp. I can’t say the experience was horrible. In fact, it was quite enjoyable and I asked to go back the following year. They had hiking, horseback riding, archery, BB gun shooting, swimming, and all sorts of other fun activities. Having been raised by agnostic parents, the religious component was pretty easy for me to ignore. Looking back, however, I can easily see that there was no effort to get us kids to think about these beliefs in any way other than to accept them as completely true.
Too often religious groups get a free pass when it comes to really questioning their statements, beliefs, and practices. How many of us have been told that we should be more respectful of people’s beliefs, even if we don’t agree with them? I can’t say I disagree with that idea, but too often something gets lost in translation and “respect my beliefs” becomes “don’t question my beliefs.” And that questioning is precisely what we should always be doing.
Understand that first and foremost Camp Quest NorthWest will be a summer camp with the activities you would expect. We hope to have swimming, archery, nature education, hikes, and campfire fun, all a part of that special culture associated with overnight camps. Additionally, Camp Quest NorthWest will offer targeted lessons and activities in critical thinking, comparative religion, ethics, and science, just to name a few.
So why do we need Camp Quest? In short, it’s a secular camp for parents who want their children to have all of the fun of an overnight summer camp without having to worry about indoctrination of any kind. We don’t want to teach your kids what to think; we just want to help them learn how to think critically. I think we could use a little more of that in the world, don’t you?