With the Reason Rally in DC, the US National Day of Reason and prominent atheists making more and more public appearances, it’s no surprise that Humanist groups are growing faster than ever.

Camp Quest Chesapeake (at which I’ll be a camp counselor this July) had 35 kids last year for their week long Humanist/Freethinkers camp.  It was their first year and, by all accounts I’ve heard, it went off beautifully.  A good bit of growth was obviously expected for the following year.  But after Camp Quest set up a tent at the Reason Rally and an article was published in the Washington Post on the camp, that number has more than doubled to 70 – and even more campers would have likely signed up if the Camp didn’t close registration on reaching capacity.

Humanist, Freethinkers and atheists of all varieties have the Reason and Science cards down pretty well.  In at least that much we have a strong hand.  But now that atheism is becoming more accepted and individual atheists are coming out of the closet and getting active the next step is to build relationships and a community.

So what does it mean when after a single event the registration for the camp doubles?  It means that the need for community is certainly there.  The Reason Rally and the Washington Post article didn’t create it.  All they helped create was awareness and the connections on which to build.

If you know anyone with kids who hopes to raise them with an emphasis on critical thinking, tolerance, imagination, and compassion make sure to forward on to them the Camp Quest Inc. website.  CQC may be full, but for those reading this from New Jersey Camp Quest New England still has 10 spots open for a weekend retreat in July.

And if you love working with kids, make sure to volunteer to be a counselor.  There are still a few spots open at CQC, but if it’s too late this summer, there’s always next.  This year I’ll be leading some chess activities as well as a few other odds and ends.

With around 14 camps in the US and Canada, and more being cooked up as you read this, there’s likely one nearby waiting for you to get involved.


~Paul Chiariello

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