So I was pretty excited to read in Richard Dawkins The God Delusion about Camp Quest - "founded in 1996, [it] is the first residential summer camp in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Norway specifically for the children of nontheistic or freethinking parents (including atheists, agnostics, secular humanists, religious humanists, skeptics, rationalists, Brights, Unitarian Universalists, and others who hold a naturalistic worldview)". (Wiki).
Hmmm, Canada? Ireland? Norway? These countries have been calling to me for a while now. Which one? which one? .....................
Their mission: Camp Quest is the first residential summer camp in the history of the United States aimed at the children of Atheists, Freethinkers, Humanists, Brights, or whatever other terms might be applied to those who hold to a naturalistic, not supernatural world view.
The purpose of Camp Quest is to provide children of freethinking parents a residential summer camp dedicated to improving the human condition through rational inquiry, critical and creative thinking, scientific method, self-respect, ethics, competency, democracy, free speech, and the separation of religion and government.
Through our programs we seek to:
- Build a community for freethinking families
- Foster curiosity, questioning, and critical thinking
- Encourage reason and compassion as foundations of an ethical, productive and fulfilling life
- Raise awareness of positive contributions made by atheists, agnostics, humanists, freethinkers, and other nontheistic people to our society
- Promote an open dialogue about metaphysical questions that is marked by challenging each other’s ideas while at the same time treating each other with respect
- Demonstrate atheism and humanism as positive, family-friendly worldviews.
They have a list of activities that I can get excited about! compared to the infuriating list of requirements that had to be checked off over the course of the Mormon camp experience (the boys didn't have a list of requirements grrrrrr!). One more moan for old times sake... they won't be subjected to intrusive scrutiny for their choice of clothing or style.
America has a LOT of churches getting their groove on. Being an atheist in America is something many people prefer to keep quiet about. I don't know if the same holds true here in Australia, I haven't been atheist long enough to find out I think. I wonder whether my kids will encounter any flack for having atheist parents...
"Nearly two million American adults openly identify themselves as atheist or agnostic, according to a 2001 survey by the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. As a group, they face more than their share of bigotry, said Edwin F. Kagin, Camp Quest's longtime director, and their children are often made to feel like outcasts.
Many of the two dozen campers who attended this year's session last week recounted experiences of being called names and otherwise harassed. For instance, Travis Leepers, 17, from Louisiana, reported that just about everyone he knows has expressed concern to him about his soul and has tried to convert him.
Sophia Riehemann, 14, from Bellevue, Ky., recalled how one of her schoolmates called her a devil-worshiper. "People get really confused sometimes," Sophia said. "They think that if we don't believe in God we believe in the devil."
At Camp Quest, children age 8 to 17 take part in all the usual summer camp activities. But in addition to horseback riding, organized water balloon fights and outdoor survival lessons, the camp's volunteer staff aims to promote a healthy respect for science and rational inquiry, while assuring campers that there is nothing wrong with not believing in the Bible and not putting stock in a supreme creator."
Summer Camp That's a Piece of Heaven for the Children, but Please, No Worshiping, By Susan Hansen. Published: June 29, 2005. The New York Times.
I have no idea how to end this post and I've been dying to tie in the invisible unicorn theme but I am so tired and just can't be arsed tinkering with this write-up any longer. Unicorn poop for everyone! Goodnight.