Sunday, July 29, 2012

My Week at Camp Quest

Well, I spent the last week at Camp Quest Michigan.  What is CQ, you ask? Well, it's an awesome summer camp for children of freethinking parents-- no, this is not an atheist summer camp, just a camp where kids can learn about science, critical thinking skills, and also do all sorts of fun summer things, like swimming, rock climbing, horseback riding, etc. 

We did a lot of cool things.  The first night, two campers/CITs pretended to be "minor deities" to explain the Invisible Pink Unicorns that live on the campgrounds. You can't see them, or hear them, or smell them, or taste them, or feel them, and they don't leave any footprints, but we know they're real because we have a book that says so, and we dare you to prove that they DON'T exist (this is an actual dare-- if anyone can prove that there are no invisible pink unicorns on camp, they will win a $100 bill from pre-1957 when "in god we trust" was added to currency).

We also made tons of s'mores, duh. And since I'm vegan, I got special vegan marshmallows and chocolate (cause I don't really want dead cow parts in my marshmallows).

And I made delicious s'mores. Mmmmm.

Camp Quest Michigan happens on a 4H camp, so there is camp staff there to run activities with us. It's a little different than most Camp Quests, as I've been told, and a little bit more on the physical activity side than other camps. Still, fun!! We did Socrates' Cafe, which is a philosophy discussion-- ours was a lot about the morality of punishment/jail/murder/death penalty-- heavy stuff, but these kids are smart. We also did drama and made our own movie, which was hilarious. There was also canoeing, swimming, rock climbing, zip lining, horseback riding, archery, and a high ropes course (which I completed, although fairly terrified-ly. So scared, in fact, that a camper let me skip him in line to go back down to the ground. He was fine, I was the one who was freaking out. Haha.).

We also had a carnival, where campers earned tickets for completing games. If they earned 100 tickets, they could "dunk" a counselor of choice (by dunk, I mean pour four buckets of ice cold water on). Guess who got picked? (Okay, actually every counselor did, but I'm gonna show you my photos.)

Ice freaking cold.

Jeff Duncan, the camp director, also got dunked.

There were lots of bugs and toads to be found. The girls from my cabin (see below) found a couple of Preying Mantises (you can only see one in the photo). They were really curious about stuff and it was awesome.

During archery, we were encouraged to draw monsters and then they were stuck onto the target board. Only one person hit my group's monster...right in the eye. Guess who? :) (To be fair, I used to be an archery instructor, so I had a lot of time to get good at it. The kids did super well for their first day.)

We also had skits and song parodies. A group of girls did a parody of "Sexy and I Know It." They called it "Thinking And I Know It." It was hilarious. The lyrics were something similar to "Thinking and I know it...girl look at that atheist." If I can get more of the lyrics, I'll post them. I was in stitches, though.

There was also a LOT of "Call Me Maybe." Almost every camper got up to sing along with it at the end of the talent show. :)

Weirdly enough, I think my favorite part of camp was when we went canoeing, we were able to get off on a marshy island and explore and I was able to teach campers a lot about lakes and the creatures that live in that area. It was an unexpected teaching moment, and I really enjoyed sharing things I learned as a kid and from my Environmental Science classes. The kids loved it, too. There's something really cool about teaching kids things when they don't think they're learning. :)

There were a bunch of things that I'm probably forgetting, but it was a long week and I'm still recovering. I may add more if I think of it. 

In summation, Camp Quest is awesome. They also have a super awesome matching challenge going on, so if you think supporting kids in indoctrination-free environments is important (and it is), you should throw a few bucks their way.

If you don't already "like" CQ on FB, you should do that (and also follow their twitter: @CampQuest). 

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