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Camp Allows Kids to Make Their Own Religion

Camp Quest West, just north of Sacramento, California, is no church camp. Designed for children of agnostics, atheists, freethinkers, and humanists, the mission of the camp is to "promote respect for others with different viewpoints, values, and beliefs." It goes one step further to say, "we deplore efforts … to seek to explain the world in supernatural terms and to look outside nature for salvation."

The weeklong experience includes crafts, campfires, and canoe trips, along with class sessions about evolution, the power of debate, and skepticism.

It's "a vacation from Judeo-Christian culture," said camp director Rick Rohrer.

Edwin Kagin adds, "Kids come there and they cry. They say it's the first time in their life that they're able to express that they don't believe in God."

The first Camp Quest offering in July 2006 saw only 11 campers attend, but all the kids seemed ecstatic.

"It's better than Boy Scout camp," said Andrew. "Whenever we ate, we had to do a prayer. It got rather annoying."

The camp ends with what director Chris Lindstrom calls "a competition for the kids to create their own religion that everyone can believe in and that will be good for all, for all time."

Editor’s Note: As of 2013 Camp Quest has program locations in 13 states.

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