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Camp Quest Smoky Mountains is affiliated with Camp Quest, Inc., an independent 501(c)(3) educational non-profit organization based in Staunton, Virginia. Camp Quest is the first residential summer camp in the history of the United States aimed at kids and teens from freethinking families, including parents who identify as atheists, agnostics, humanists, freethinkers, non-religious, or whatever other terms might be applied to those who hold a naturalistic worldview.

Our Mission

Camp Quest provides an educational adventure shaped by fun, friends and freethought, featuring science, natural wonder and humanist values.

Our Vision

Camp Quest envisions a world in which children grow up exploring, thinking for themselves, connecting with their communities, and acting to make the most of life for themselves and others.

Our Goals

Through our programs, we seek to:

  • Develop supportive communities for freethinking families

  • Foster curiosity, scientific inquiry, and critical thinking in young people to enable them to draw their own conclusions

  • Cultivate reason and empathy as foundations of an ethical, productive and fulfilling life

  • Provide a safe and fun environment for personal and social growth

  • Encourage exploration of the natural world

  • Promote open dialogue that is marked by challenging each other's ideas while treating each other with respect

  • Raise awareness of positive contributions made by atheists, agnostics, humanists, freethinkers, and other non-theistic people to our society

  • Demonstrate atheism and humanism as positive, family-friendly worldviews

Values We Teach

  • Integrity

  • Empathy

  • Creativity

  • Critical Thinking

  • Community

Our Principles

These principles guide our actions at all levels of Camp Quest operations and in the relationships we build:

  • Grassroots innovation – empowering local leaders, exploring new approaches, sharing what works

  • Practicality – taking action, creating solutions, providing hands-on support

  • Courage – speaking out, challenging ourselves and others, audaciously advancing our mission

  • Integrity – standing up, engaging honestly, living our principles

  • Cooperation – sharing ideas, working together, cultivating community

  • Empiricism – testing ideas, building from evidence, rejecting what doesn’t work

  • Fun!

Firefly Program

CQSM is proud to offer a program designed to develop leadership skills in our older campers. Campers who have attended CQSM for at least one year and are between 15-17 years old are eligible to apply. Fireflies have responsibilities such as coordinating dorm clean up, attending meetings with the Firefly coordinator, and arriving early to attend training with staff. They have opportunities to go above and beyond their role as a camper by leading and facilitating programs, contributing in staff meetings, and taking part in programs designed for older campers.

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