Camp Quest is the first residential summer camp in the history of the United States for the children of Atheists, Freethinkers, Humanists, Agnostics, 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 an overnight 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 guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States.
History and Locations
Camp Quest was founded in 1996 by a small group of people with the Free Inquiry Group of Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. The first Camp Quest session, serving 20 campers ages 8-12, was held in Boone County, Kentucky in August of 1996. After meeting in Kentucky for two years, Camp Quest relocated to Ohio in 1998. Edwin and Helen Kagin, two of the original founders, served as Camp Directors for the first ten years of the original Camp Quest camp, retiring at the end of the 2005 camp session. As the original Camp Quest grew, it expanded to serve teenagers ages 13-17 as well as children 8-12.
The desire to expand prompted Camp Quest to incorporate independently in 2002. Camp Quest Smoky Mountains was the first new Camp Quest to launch in 2002. By summer of 2006 there were a total of six Camp Quests, including new locations in California, Michigan, Minnesota, and Ontario.
As the number of Camp Quests increased, more of a need developed for coordination among the independently operated programs. In 2007 Camp Quest, Inc., the operator of the original Camp Quest, expanded its mission to also serve as an umbrella organization supporting all of the Camp Quest camps in North America.
In 2012, Camp Quest South Carolina joined Camp Quest Smoky Mountains in the southeast region. In 2016, the Board of Directors of Camp Quest South Carolina reorganized itself into the new Camp Quest Southeast, which owns and operates Camp Quest South Carolina and our newest camp, Camp Quest Natchez Trace which will make its debut in Mississippi in June 2017. We are also planning Camp Quest Florida in central Florida tentatively for the summer of 2018.
Camp Quest continues to expand with programs in 15 locations serving more than 1200 kids across the United States. Camp Quest UK and new Camp Quests opening in Europe are also replicating our model overseas.
Camp Quest South Carolina and Camp Quest Natchez Trace are affiliates of Camp Quest, Inc., an independent 501(c)(3) educational non-profit organization.