[The following is a post from Camp Quest NorthWest volunteer Philip Cole, recapping our recent week spent at camp. – Mike]
The campers have all headed home, Camp Kirby is being boarded up for the off season, and the counselors are slowly getting back to their normal lives.
This year’s theme was Camp Quest NorthWest: School of Wisdom and Wonder, which was very loosely based on a best-selling book series about a school for witches and wizards, and this theme was incorporated into multitude of events and activities.
The week started off with a Sorting and Exploration activity where campers were divided into their house groups by the camp’s own “Sorting Cat.” The campers then had a chance to explore the camp grounds, complete various challenges, and to learn a bit about their house groups and the freethinkers that they were named for, including:
- House Curieus – Named for chemist Marie Curie and representing the Camp Quest value of critical thinking.
- House Darwindar – Named for naturalist and geologist Charles Darwin and representing community.
- House Douglassi – Named for abolitionist and writer Frederick Douglass, representing the value of integrity.
- House Kahlopaw – Named for Frida Kahlo, painter and activist, and representing creativity.
- House Lee – Named for martial artist and actor Bruce Lee, representing empathy.
Campers were challenged both mentally and physically throughout the week with various activities and competitions. A few activities returned this year: Socrates Café, Marine Biology, and Human Ancestry, but we also brought on many new programs that complimented the camp’s theme. These included Divination, Horoscopes and Telling the Future to teach campers to recognize cold reading techniques, Communicating Through the Aether which gave campers a chance to try out various forms of verbal and non-verbal communication tools, and Invisible Alchemy to teach chemistry led by our very own Camp Director, Chuck Wolber.
Of course, our standard battery of awesome afternoon activities returned as well, including rock wall climbing, archery, kayaking and swimming. We even introduced a new game called Squiddich (think of a combination of dodgeball and capture the flag) that the entire camp enjoyed playing.
Each night we had special all-camp activities that included a talent show, skits, a dance, and a special all camp event that took campers back to the time of the dinosaurs. Some of you may have heard that we brought in a ringer for the evening campfires. In addition to the normal camp songs that are half yelled and half sung off-key, Shelley Segal serenaded both campers and counselors alike with her amazing music. It might have been the only time all week where every camper was quiet at the same time!
We think this was one of the best camp sessions we have had yet and are already hard at work planning next year’s program. There is already a theme proposed for next year, and programming ideas are starting to flow. The board has identified a few options for adding capacity for next season, and details regarding that will be released as soon as they are confirmed.
A large number of you have expressed interest in helping out with Camp Quest. We realize that not everyone can (or wants to) take a week off from work and be a counselor, but that’s not the only way you can help the organization. If you are interested, you can get involved in the following ways:
- If you order from amazon.com, point your browser to smile.amazon.com, and select “Camp Quest Inc.” in Federal Way as your charity of choice. 0.5% of your purchase amount will be automatically donated to CQNW, and it won’t cost you a single penny extra.
- Come to the board meetings: The board meetings are always open to the public, and dates are posted on the website in the meeting minutes. We meet at the Round Table Pizza in Burien, WA, and our next meeting is scheduled for September 15th at 6:30 PM.
- Volunteer to be on a committee. We have formed many committees in the past year, in an effort to spread the work out more evenly. There is the staffing committee, which interviews and vets prospective counselors; the grants committee, which decides how to distribute camperships and travel grants; and the programming committee, which is responsible for coming up with just about all of the planned activities your campers participate in at camp. We are always looking to expand the number of volunteers involved in these committees. The time commitment is up to you and may be as little as 10 hours per year.
- Attend the programming retreat. Every winter, we gather for a weekend away that is full of fun and planning, where we develop the programming, try out new activities, and generally have a good time. All are welcome, as long as you come willing to work!
- Of course, no list asking for help would be complete without mentioning that cash donations are always accepted, and needed! We are a registered 501(c)(3) organization, and all donations are tax-deductible.
Thank you to all of you who have supported Camp Quest Northwest, and thank you for giving us the opportunity to meet your campers and watch them grow up.