In Search of the Meaning of Life at Summer Camp

July 8, 2010

  Camp Inquiry , a summer camp alternative for non-religious families, will enter its fifth year this season when it opens its doors to approximately 50 children ages 7 to 16  this July 18 through 24 at Camp Seven Hills in Holland, New York. The overarching theme this year is “Young Minds, Big Questions.” 

“We really aim to equip the kids with the tools to think through life’s questions—big and small—for themselves,’ said camp director Dr. Angie McQuaig.  Camp goers this year will tackle some pretty big existential questions, like Who am I? Why am I here? What can I know? and What ought I to do? 

“These themes, once the exclusive domain of speculative religious thought, are now increasingly being addressed by the sciences—and by kids,” said McQuaig. Campers will take part in discussions about the value of science as a method for understanding the universe and improving the human condition. Continued McQuaig, “We plan to introduce these young, curious minds to cosmology, evolutionary science, and neurobiology so they can explore how and where they fit in the wider cosmos.” Carl Sagan would be delighted. 

  Camp Inquiry is a project of the Center for Inquiry (CFI), an organization committed to fostering a secular society based on science, reason, and humanist values. “Camp Inquiry is a critical part of our educational mission,” said CFI’s president and CEO Ronald A. Lindsay  “It is one of only a few summer camps that focuses on critical reasoning and  encouraging children to think for themselves.” 

McQuaig, who holds a doctorate in educational leadership, said that kids will enjoy a “hands-on philosophy,” learning the moral and cultural implications of the scientific outlook through games, team activities, and engagement in the arts.

Parents can also join in the fun, including an opening dinner with Dale McGowan, author of “Parenting Beyond Belief”, and a special closing evening presentation with popular magician and skeptic “The Amazing” James Randi.

Camp Seven Hills boasts 620 acres of woodland paths, meadows, streams, and hills perfect for outdoor exploration.  It is fully insured and accredited with the American Camp Association.  With its impressive 5-to-1 camper-to-counselor ratio, Camp Inquiry is run by a staff of fully screened and trained teacher-counselors, including a trained medical professional.

Enrollment remains open until July 12. More information is available at   www.campinquiry.org .

The Center for Inquiry/Transnational, a nonprofit, educational, advocacy, and scientific-research think tank based in Amherst, New York, is also home to the Council for Secular Humanism, founded in 1980; and the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (formerly CSICOP), founded in 1976. The Center for Inquiry’s research and educational projects focus on three broad areas: religion, ethics, and society; paranormal and fringe-science claims; and sound public policy. The Center’s Web site is   www.centerforinquiry.net .