Chasing Unicorns with Camp Quest

At our January meeting, we had Jill Burdick from Camp Quest Michigan via Zoom to tell us all about the only summer camp for kids not based on religious beliefs.

Episode 52: Chasing Unicorns with Camp Quest

At our January meeting, we had Jill Burdick from Camp Quest Michigan via Zoom to tell us all about the only summer camp for kids not based on religious beliefs. Camp Quest has many locations around the country and it’s time to sign up to be a camper or volunteer or to donate so more kids can attend.

00:49 Prolog & WAKT Announcement
07:24 Overview of Camp Quest
25:03 Camp Quest is inclusive
42:39 General costs and communication

Our Guest

Jill Burdick

Jill Burdick is a volunteer and Board member for Camp Quest Michigan. She talked to us about Camp Quest and its programs. Adults can also volunteer and/or support campers through donations.


Camp Quest Michigan
Camp Quest Ohio
Camp Quest National Office

WAKT 106.1 We Act Radio


Read full transcript here

[0:02] This is Glass City Humanist, a show about humanism, humanist values by a humanist. Here is your host, Douglas Berger. At our January meeting, we had Jill Burdick from Camp Quest, Michigan via Zoom to tell us all about the only summer camp for kids not based on religious beliefs. Camp Quest has many locations around the country and it’s time now to sign up to be a camper or a volunteer or to donate some more kids can attend. Glass City Humanist is an outreach project of the secular humanists of Western Lake Erie building community through compassion and reason for a better tomorrow.

[0:41] Music.

[0:49] But before we get into the meat of this this episode, I wanted to share some really exciting news concerning the podcast. Glass City Humanist. Hour here in Toledo, where we are based, we have a community radio station, a nonprofit community radio station called W Act 106.1 FM on the dial. It’s also known as we ACT Radio. And they had applications open late last year for pitching shows because they have community members do shows on the station. Besides, they do talk and other things. It’s an eclectic radio station and they had applications open. You pitch a show and do a pilot, and if they pick you, then they’ll put you on the schedule. Glass City Humanist was picked to be on we at radio. I’m so happy we will have to come up with some additional content.

[1:59] Because they’re going to give us an hour a month. And so I get to talk about humanism and humanist values and church and state separation and social justice issues, coming from a humanist perspective, which isn’t normally found in the media. Naturally. And so I really appreciate Waked for giving us a chance to connect with people by the radio. And they also have an Internet website. It’s Toledo Radio dot org.

[2:34] And so you can listen to it on the Internet. It’s not going to the content that we’re going to be putting on isn’t going to differ too much from here. It’s pretty much going to be probably two episodes worth of information that you’ll be able to then hear again as a regular podcast. There might be some special things I know. One thing I wanted to start doing was letters to the editor. You know, people asked me, want to ask me a question about humanism or, or whatever. And then in the next episode I’d read the letter and give my answer. And that’s something I want to start. Probably there’s going to be some material that’s exclusive to the radio station. I haven’t decided yet what that’s going to be, and then that will be available to people who sign up on our coffee page and it will be part of the perk as you’ll, you know, unless unless you are listening live to it. And I will give the schedule and it will be on our page.

[3:40] The only other way is if I share the recording with everybody and I’m going to do that through the coffee page, the coffee dot com. And that’s what we use for the, the bonus materials usually that you donate money for. And then and then we do that. So, so I’m really, really, really happy that Glass City humanist is going to be on the radio the regular, terrestrial they call it terrestrial radio and on the internet and hopefully we’ll expose more people to humanism.

[4:15] No pun intended. So keep an eye out for that. And again, I will let everybody know when that starts up. It should be real soon, probably within the next few weeks, and I’m really happy about it.

[4:30] Back in January, we had an in-person meeting of the secular humanists of western Lake Erie, and we had invited our guest, Joel Jill Burdick, from Camp Michigan to come and speak to us about Camp Quest. Well, due to unforeseeable circumstances, she was not able to join us in person. And so she participated and gave her presentation over Zoom, which we had hooked up at the library branch where we were meeting. And so I’m going to play for you a majority of her presentation time, including some of the questions from the people that were there in person to to for the presentation. I do apologize in advance because the audio for the people in the library conference room or the community room at the library is completely awful. I mean, in some cases you can’t hardly even hear it. I apologize. I tried to to finagle it or something. And what happened was it was getting input from my laptop microphone and I didn’t have a separate microphone set up and I should have. And that’s my fault.

[5:51] I think it’s more important, though, to hear the responses from Jill. So I’ve left the questions in so that it doesn’t seem like she’s just, you know, making things up in whole cloth as she goes. Like like it’s not a linear thought process. And then again, I do apologize that the questions themselves in some cases aren’t audible, but I did leave them in. So I apologize in advance for that. So we were really appreciative that she was able to join us now. The other thing I need to apologize in advance about is when she visited with us in January, the registration period had just opened for Camp Michigan. So if you had been to the meeting. Or I also made the Zoom link available to members and you would have to go almost right away and sign up because as of the recording of this.

[6:55] Podcast episode. Camp Michigan is full up. They have a waitlist now. Some camps are like that. Some camps are not like that. It just depends. Like I said, there’s Camp Quest locations around the country. There’s one in Ohio, the one in Michigan. They only had space for 50 or 60 kids, so it went pretty quickly.

[7:24] So don’t don’t make that hold off. Maybe put it in your calendar for next January to start checking camps or you might look out and find a camp location near you that has an opening. And I would urge you to go do that as quickly as possible. So. Without further ado, here is a socially meeting presentation by Jill Burdick from Camp Michigan. For starters, I, my husband and I lived in Richmond, Virginia for a while. While we were there, we went to the Reason rally out in Washington, D.C., and there was this group called Camp Quest with a booth set up there. And I had never heard of them prior. And I was thinking like, I remember summer camp as a kid. Let’s let’s see what this thing is. My first few slides are just the information that they put out there for everyone. So the idea is that these campers can come and just be themselves and have that summer camp experience that they might not otherwise really be connected to. Like, these kids aren’t necessarily going to church camp or things like that.

[8:47] It’s really about getting these kids to have an opportunity to form friendships, to find someone else like them. I love at the end of camp, there’s always kids that are like, I found someone else who’s just like me. And of course they’re not just like them, but they feel that way. They feel that connection to someone new. There’s always some educational programming. There’s always tons of fun stuff. So they say share in educational and inquisitive adventures. And it’s really like I went to church camp as a kid myself. I grew up in the United Methodist Church, so that was a normal thing. I went to a few summers and this has like all the good parts of camp, right? In my opinion.

[9:38] This is just some of the pictures from various camp quests around. I love that there’s such a variety of activities because at camp there will be hands on like science activities, there will be physical activities, the tug of war. There will be run around and chase each other wearing silly things, things, activities, but just time to bond, time to make friends and time to have new experiences. One more side of the business side of things. So this is what like Camp Quest Nationals puts out as information for people I like. They describe it as all the wholesome, fun and freedom of a traditional summer camp, but it has the teaching and the growth and this inclusive worldview.

[10:29] I love the discussions that I had at camp because we encourage kids to ask questions, share their thoughts, talk to each other. And sometimes, like some kids have more or less opportunities outside of camp to do that, depending on their situation. We’re always like, especially this Last year was actually my first year at Camp Michigan. I volunteered as a cabin counselor there, and I just loved the the humanist values and just being a good person. That was like a constant theme in things happening at camp. I also volunteered out at Camp Quest, Chesapeake when we lived at Virginia. That’s where I first heard about Camp Quest and became involved. So I remember going to the first staff retreat and being a little nervous. I didn’t know anyone, and I just found an amazing group of human beings who were running this camp, and I was hooked right away.

[11:33] I was able to volunteer out there two years and then COVID hit, and then we moved and then we moved again. So we’ve had some adventures lately on the home front, but I like when we moved, I knew I wanted to find a camp community again to be a part of. And the last part of this side says, And where else can you spend your time attempting to prove that unicorns did not exist? That’s always a question that’s posed to the kids, like the first full day of camp, and they’re challenged by someone in leadership to prove. And they tell this story about these invisible, invisible unicorns at camp. And then the challenge is to prove that they do not exist. So we have a lot of fun. I remember when I first looked at the Camp Quest website, they had fun, friends and free thought as some of the, you know, the main pool for the kids. And it’s definitely an amazing opportunity for them. You can see we get silly, we get messy, we get wet. Most camps have some access to a lake or a river or something like that. So kids get to take part in water activities. And Chesapeake, we just had a swimming pool, but it was still a hit for the kids, especially that one is always the middle of July, the hottest week. So if any of you are familiar with that weather out there, it is nice and toasty.

[13:03] A typical day at Camp Quest. I base this off of Michigan this last year. We like to wake kids up with crazy, wild adventures. Our camp director would sometimes just be shouting things into a megaphone, something silly. Or there’s the air raid siren. Usually I was up before this, but there was one day I was so tired that they got me. I’ve heard rumors of a previous director who would play the bagpipes to wake up campers, So there’s lots, lots of opportunities there. We we keep the day fun from start to finish. Breakfast is like, of course, your typical breakfast. But I admit I went in with a low bar for my food expectations and it was actually pretty good. So at least as good as like school food today, which is better than when we were all in school.

[14:00] One of the great things at Camp Quest, Michigan, is they have cabin cleanup in the morning after breakfast. So the kids are expected to keep their things organized and neat and in their space. And they actually go back to the cabins and clean while the staff has their meeting for the day. So that gives us an opportunity to talk about like, is there anything wild that happened yesterday that needs to be addressed or anything like that, that.

[14:26] People need to be aware of the serious stuff, but also talk about programming for the day and things like that. Then the morning activity is about an hour and a half and they get to do great camp activities. Rockwall, Horses, Canoes, Recreation, Socrates Cafe. There’s tons of opportunities there. We’re really lucky at Camp Quest, Michigan, because we have a really good relationship with a Ford camp and. When like when I was in Virginia at Camp Quest, Chesapeake, we had to run all the activities. So we brought in someone who was certified for the Rockwall. They didn’t have horses there. We brought in people that were lifeguards. We like. We had to have all those people on our staff at the end of every meal. We had to take out the trash and things like that. So we ran the camp site and kept track of the campers. So we’re really fortunate here in Michigan that they take care of a lot of the business parts and we get to interact with the kids more and do more of the fun things.

[15:33] There’s always a lunch and of course camp lunch, but again, like pretty decent food. So volunteer if you’re able. And this is something that interests you. It’s honestly so much fun. Afternoon activities could be things like drama, archery, sex, education, power pull, giant ladder. These are some of these are features of that camp in particular and they like they had some some challenges that were for the bigger kids like for example the giant ladder. You have to be tall enough to do that one because it’s climbing a ladder where the rungs are like two people apart and you have to pick each other up and help each other climb the ladder. So I worked with the second youngest group this past year, so most of my campers were about ten years old. To avoid stresses or issues with COVID this last year, we kept our cabin group together all day. So just to try to simplify that, we tested everyone on the way in, tested everybody on Wednesday and got to keep everybody there. So that was excellent. Then after that structured afternoon activity, there would be free time and we call it free time, but really it’s still very supervised and we know where all the campers are.

[16:55] The kids really enjoyed, like, for example, at Camp Quest, Michigan, We’re fortunate enough to be on a lake there so the kids can go down there. There’s an area, there’s rules. They have a swim test at the beginning, the first day during free time, but then they can go down there and there’s lifeguards. Everybody has a buddy. Then everybody’s getting about worn out. By then. It’s dinnertime. And then after dinner, there’s a lot of different activities during the week. Some nights there was a capture of the flag option for the kids who still had some energy left. And then there were different special things each night, like the campfire or the carnival. The.

[17:38] I’m trying to think of the name. Here in Virginia, they called them peer leaders. They just call them sits counselor in training. So that group of kids, it’s like 16 and 17 year olds had some extra responsibilities. They would do s’mores at the campfire for the other kids. They would put together some games, run games for the carnival, for the younger kids. The fashion show is very popular. I’ve done that at both camps, and it always comes with some kind of insane challenge. Like you have to dress your person in your group as if they are going to some planet where there’s like certain resources available and not others, and their clothes have to help them survive. And then they’ll have like a box of random clothes and some wrapping paper and random things that we dress these kiddos up in. And they have to then like explain how their fashion item, their outfit would help them survive. So there’s always like thinking challenges along with the fun, there’s art opportunities along with the science. I feel like it’s it helps meet the needs of all the kids and things that they are good at or want to do or want to share about themselves.

[19:01] Usually at the end of the week there’s a dance one night and a talent show one night. And of course that’s always like a huge thing. It’s amazing what the campers can do. Sometimes we get some staff with some special talents as well, but regardless, it’s always a ton of fun. Before I go on to anything else, is there anything you want to ask about? Anything so far? Will activities we assign or. And.

[19:39] I couldn’t totally hear you, but I think you asked if the activities are assigned or if they can elect what they want to do. Depends on the year and the camp. When we were in Virginia, this was pre-COVID, so they had a lot more opportunities for deciding there were like two or three times a day and they decided which one they wanted to do from a variety of things. Once COVID hit. And I was at Camp Quest, Michigan, this last year, everybody stayed with their cabin group. So basically leadership decided ahead of time. What were the most appropriate activities for that age group and made sure that pretty much you got to do everything. But there were a few things that the big kids did that my group didn’t do or the other way around. So that will vary. I know like we’re we were talking at our board meeting just a few nights ago about what COVID precautions will be taking this next summer and checked over and updated COVID policy. So we haven’t officially talked yet about what that will look like in Michigan this year, but that’s still. Something that could vary a lot. Where is.

[20:51] The camp? And Michigan is I’m going to grab my phone because I can’t remember the name of the town. This one’s over on the west side of Michigan. Um.

[21:06] It’s near Lake Michigan, but not on Lake Michigan. It’s called Forage Camp Kidwell. If you want to look that up, just a kid. And well, that’s how it’s spelled, just like you would think. And the nearest town is Bloomingdale. I guess it’s like small. The nearest big town. It’s not too far from Kalamazoo. Oh, so the one in Michigan is over there? I know there is also a Camp Cuesta, Ohio, because I was we lived in Cincinnati briefly between being in Richmond, Virginia, and being in the Detroit area now. So I had looked into volunteering with them. I can’t remember where that one is. But if you Google Camp Quest, Ohio, you can for sure find that quickly. Any other southern Ohio near Jackson County. Then have a few more slides and then you can ask again. Of course, safety is super important. I’m a school teacher so I’m like always thinking about keeping my kiddos safe. One thing I love about Camp Quest is they push this rule of three with everyone. There’s always three people in your group. If you are.

[22:21] At and a little reference point. Camp Quest Chesapeake in Virginia is like the whole camp is all spread out along one main trail, basically. But there’s some distance in between different cabins and the mess hall and things like that. So especially out there, we tell the kids, you know, you always have three people in your group because if someone falls down and hurts their ankle, then someone can stay with them whilst someone else goes for help.

[22:50] Typically, we’re in much bigger groups than that anyway, but we really enforce that and the kids are good at it. They’ll be like, Hey, the two of us want to go to the bathroom, which is in another building and we need someone else to go with us. And then pretty soon they’ll have a group of five to go. And safety is a priority everywhere. I also loved at it Camp Quest, Chesapeake, the last time that I was there. So just before COVID, they had water appreciation moments, so the nurse would literally just get on the radio and you could the campers were always close enough to a staff member to hear the radios and he’d be like, This is a water appreciation moment. Everybody stop what you’re doing and take a drink of water. So there’s a lot of things just put in place to keep people safe, because that week it was like 90 plus degrees day and night out there. It was honestly kind of miserable. But I was lucky because I was with the younger kids and we had air conditioning in our cabin. There’s definitely no air conditioned cabins at Camp Michigan, so we put fans in the windows, one facing in on one side, one facing out on the other. And that is our airflow.

[23:59] It’s very safe. There’s staff training that comes from the national level. People are background checked and Asia is the, I want to say, American Camping Association and camp, cos Michigan is beginning that process to be an ACA accredited camp, which is just like one more group looking at us and saying they’re doing the right things and they’re being safe and they have people who are certified to do these activities, doing these activities, which we do anyway. So it’s honestly a lot of things that are already happening. But. Do you like what you hear? Would you like to support the show so we can make it better? You can write a review for podcast apps that allow reviews. You can share our website, Glass City Humanist Show with your friends and you can donate to the show using the donate link on the website. Any support is appreciated.

[24:56] Music.

[25:03] One thing that is really fun I’ll mention from this side, you see the girl with the face paint and there’s always a ho nab, which is House of Nails and Beauty. And at Ho NAB, it is encouraged that anyone who wants to try any makeup can try it. So in Virginia, we would let campers paint each other’s nails and put on whatever makeup they were comfortable with or wanted to try. And sometimes it was like hilarious and outrageous, and sometimes it was some kid who was just like, afraid to try something, and they’d try it there. And there’s always a rule that we’d talk about at the beginning. If someone says, No thank you, then you stop. If someone’s partway through it and they’re like, I have to take the stuff off my nails, you help them take it off. And the kids are so good to each other, Like, we never had a problem with that. They’re really respectful of each other and each other’s ideas and thoughts and wishes and things. You also see on this side, there’s lots of like team building opportunities just to get to know the other people that you’re there with and work with them.

[26:11] For me personally, I volunteer with Camp Quest because it gives me hope for, the future of our country and our world. These kids are brilliant. They have good ideas. They’re just a lot of fun. Hope for the environment. There’s kids that really care about the environment and know a lot like little kids that know a shocking amount of information. And I’m a teacher. I know a lot of kids that know a lot, but camp kids always amaze me and just hope for anything that a leader can do. Also, I love the people that I’ve met. There’s a lot of people at both Camp Quest that I’ve been to that are just really good humans that I keep in touch with and enjoy. And the campers at closing campfires the last night, you’ll have these kids that are just like, I got to be myself, and everyone accepted me. And I’m just like, Oh, like. Wow. Like because kids, you know, when they’re at school, they have this pressure to fit into a box and be what the other kids expect them to be.

[27:15] And even like one of our littlest kids was like, I can be me here at camp. And I was like, Oh, you’re so little. Like, I don’t even want you to have to worry about being yourself yet. But it’s the world we live in. And another one of the little kids in my cabin one year was like, Everyone’s so nice here. Even the big kids, as if they thought the big kids would be really mean. But we always see some of the bigger kids will really take the little ones under their wing, like at Camp Quest, Chesapeake. We had mixed ages in the activities. They would occasionally have an activity where they would say, this is they had like sun and moon groups or whatever went with the theme that year. So like the sun group would have been like 8 to 11 and then the moon group would have been like the 12 to 15. And because some activities are more geared for one or the other.

[28:06] But just that the kids formed bonds with kids that they wouldn’t even know sometimes. And I just love the values of camp. We leave camp better than we found it like this last year at Michigan. We always make sure to like they form a giant chain of all of the humans and we walk across camp and pick up any trash that’s there. Even some of it that I’m sure was left from the group before us. And they also make a point to make a donation of something that the camp needs. So I know one year they did showerheads to make those showers a little bit more pleasant for camp time. And I can’t remember what was decided on the shoot because several things were discussed and I don’t remember what we ended up going with. But there’s always something to better that campsite for others. I know that one other camp talked about that they had people on staff who were woodworkers and legitimately knew what they were doing. So they built a wheelchair ramp for their mess hall so that more campers could access that camp. So sometimes it’s something that’s kind of a wow moment like that, and sometimes it’s something simpler, But we make sure to improve things. So again, you can see more camp silliness going on. You will definitely see some crazy clothes and activities and dress up things and.

[29:35] Just tons of fun. So I hope you consider being a part of Camp Quest volunteer if you’re able. I know not everyone can take a week in the summer, but a spoiled teachers can escape for a week. There are so many roles that need to be filled. Cabin counselors always the big one because that’s hard. That is tiring. It’s the one that I’ve always done, but it is so much fun. But by Thursday you’re like, How am I going to make it through Friday? But somehow you do you drink more, more coffee or tea that day? I’m a tea person.

[30:07] Sometimes they need a technology person, someone just to manage the supplies. There’s some behind the scenes stuff, and if you’re interested, I know some. Several of the camps had openings on their board, so if you just want to be a board member to help make camp happen some way, I put links in here. I was planning on being there in person and clicking on them and giving you a quick show. We can look real quick anyway, but for Camp Michigan or Camp Quest, Ohio, because depending on where you’re at there, either one could be closer, work better for you and just the the general camp site. So do you have any questions? They’ve said in the past that Toledo is pretty much halfway between each one. Okay.

[30:52] So everyone they want to go to depending on what the schedule is. Yeah. And when when I first moved here, I honestly intended I was going to volunteer here and in Chesapeake just because I loved it so much there. The same week I was like, No, I want to do both so bad, but I can’t split myself in two. We haven’t made that yet. So any other questions you have? And then I’ll just show you the websites real quick, just so you’re familiar, if you want to look at it yourself or point someone else to it. If somebody wants to volunteer to be such as academy counselor or a technology or supply manager or whatever, what’s what’s the time commitment? If it’s one or two weeks, three weeks, it’s typically one week. Michigan this year, I think, is still just planning on one week. Just prior to COVID, they had expanded to two separate camp weeks. Because there’s so many kids, there’s always more kids that want to do it than we have room for. It was the same thing in Chesapeake. So this last year was like our build back up after COVID year and things went so well, like we had the cabins full.

[32:03] But we have to get more people if we want to expand to that other week. So definitely if you’re available and interested, let me show you camp across Michigan, because that’s the one I’m most familiar with. Yeah. If you come here, we’ve got registration opening the 23rd. I know the early bird registration for kids who’ve already been there just opened up and they said so many people signed up. We’re going to need more volunteers for sure. And then you can do get involved and volunteer. And when you apply to volunteer, there’s a program. Let me think of the name of it. It’s going to pop up right here. Uh huh.

[32:43] Going to have to go a little further into it before I can think of it. But there’s a program that the camp uses that has like training things in it and. It looks like it’s freezing up on me right now, but yes, thank you. Thank you. I couldn’t think of the name. Yeah. So Ultra Camp has all the information and it was pretty smooth. I mean, I’ve done the whole process in Virginia. And then again here. There you go. Yeah, it’s ultra camp, so you make your username and password and it is like be prepared to sit down and fill out some forms. They’re serious about getting people who are going to be safe with kids. So you have to answer questions about your experience with kids and why do you want to do this thing? And of course, if they approve you, then you have to do the background check and then you have to go. If you’re volunteering to go to in-person training, if it’s done online, that varies by camp as well. When I was in Virginia, they did have a like weekend retreat that was in person training before camp this last year in Michigan. It was all online things, so it can definitely vary some by camp. That’s actually something they’re working on sort of mainstreaming and putting together better because some of the videos were just sort of old and outdated. So Camp Quest Nationals I.

[34:12] What was it called? I went to the leadership summer back in the fall, and that was one of the things that a whole session was about excuse me, giving feedback for better training. What else should be in the training? What was in the training that was outdated? So that one is a work in progress right now. It varies by camp, though, if it’s online in person or a combo. I think for Michigan this year we’re planning on some online, some in-person. But if you can’t make the in-person having an online option to sort of make that up or actually most recent discussion was come one day early and have the in-person training. But if you’re not able to make that still have an option so that that doesn’t exclude someone from volunteering. For more information about the topics in this episode, including links used, please visit the episode page at Glass City Humanist Dot Show.

[35:14] Only kids are generally enrolled. Last year at Michigan, we had. Right about 50.

[35:26] And we would have like in the cabins there, all of the cabins are like these cute little boxes that are the same size there that have 11 beds. So we had two adults and nine campers in each cabin. When I was in Chesapeake, there is a lot more there. And we, I think, ran like 70 or 80 kids at a time there. But they have a very different camp setup. So it will definitely vary by camp. Something that was really neat this year when I signed up to volunteer, they were like, We’re doing gender inclusive cabins this year. And in Camp Quest, Virginia, there had always been an option for that. So there was like the boys cabins were down at one end of camp, the girls cabins were down at one end, and gender inclusive cabins were in the middle. And they just did all gender inclusive cabins this year. So every kid that was like eight and nine years old was in the cabin, the little ones. And then I had like mostly ten with myself, mostly ten year olds. And they just did it by age. And I was a little like, nervous. I was like, Man, I haven’t been with kids this young. Will it be like they didn’t even notice. It wasn’t even a thing. Like we went up to the bath house to put on our pajamas and get ready for bed and came down and went to bed. And it was just really smooth. So they that’s one thing I love about Camp Quest is they’re all very inclusive of, you know, come as you are.

[36:53] Kind of you mentioned educational activities. What kind of things you’ve had in the past varies, again by camp when we were. In Virginia one year we did like bubble making and like making giant bubbles. And we knew like some ingredients that would help make the bubbles bigger and just let the kids just mix stuff together to make giant bubbles. So it can be like very laid back like that. Some camps have like access to microscopes and things like that. You could see in the pictures. And we also made and I had to look up what these were because the person who was going to do this activity like, got sick and couldn’t come or something. But sextant, the tools that like people could use on a ship to, like, line up where they were and using like degrees and the stars and using the angle. So like we had a protractor and a weight and a string and, and made a basic tool. So it can vary a ton depending on what the camp has, what people are there. And just what’s available. It’s it’s definitely like a new experience every year. You won’t get bored if you do it more than once.

[38:13] Oh, our volunteers are supposed to have a medical checkup and pass a medical inspection or anything like that. I think they just. Ask you like a general health question and you do have to like tell if you’re taking any prescription medication because it does have to be locked up at camp. So like I take thyroid medicine, so I have to give that to the nurse and like, go get in line with the kids to take my medicine in the morning. So that part is like a little bit weird. But I mean, it also shows the kids that like, hey, adults are like doing this, too. This is a normal thing, you know? I’m wondering. I work in the field of developmental disabilities, so I work. Now, I primarily work with adults, but I have worked.

[39:11] Teens and young adults. With autism. And I’m just wondering how you guys approach. Developmental intellectual disabilities. People with like sensory issues or anxiety that. So I’m flipping back in my notebook right now because at the Leadership Summit this last fall, there were several different sessions on inclusion. And I love them because it wasn’t just like we’re making sure to include like kids on the LGBT spectrum or something like that, right? This went deeper, talking about.

[40:01] Like working toward full inclusion and really having that least in and least restrictive environment. Because we definitely see kids with autism, like I’ll tell you 100%, like just being a school teacher in the classroom. I don’t know if like they have some official diagnosis or not, but it’s definitely a thing. And we in particular talked about like, you know, if you do something with the same group of people a lot, you’ll have sort of a hidden curriculum that other people won’t know about. There’s things like between you or inside jokes, and we talked about making that accessible to everyone. We talked about presenting information by having more visual things, having more signs, labeling more things, so that because when you’re the new kid at camp and you don’t really know what’s going on, you can feel really shy.

[40:55] This particular session. I don’t know if you’ve heard of her or not. She the speaker was Lisa Drennan from Diverse Abilities and. She was like. Um, genuinely just like a really interesting human to talk to. She helped us think of, like, if a parent is coming to you and saying, like, my child has this disability to talk to the parents about, like, what are their strengths? What do you want them to get out of camp? What frustrates or overwhelms them are their day to day tasks that they need help with. And what’s your child’s typical school environment like and what are some of the things that they enjoy the most so that you can really understand that to make sure that we have staff that can fill that role? Because, you know, some kids who have a disability can get along just fine in the mainstream and some definitely require some more support. So we talked about then the same lady presented the next day with moving from inclusion to belonging and just talking about really.

[42:08] Making sure that everyone feels a part of the crowd and how you can encourage others to. You can encourage the kids to do that without even. Making a big deal out of it. Right. There’s things we can do to just. Wrap everyone in, I guess. I don’t know. This is Glass City Humanist.

[42:29] Music.

[42:39] The cost for a camper. Generally, that will vary by camp for sure. We. Just set our cost. And we did have to approve a an increase in cost this year because the camp charges us like a fee to use the campsite and a per camper fee. And both of those numbers went up this year. We had been holding steady, I think, in the five hundreds, and I think we had to go up to like 625 or 650 this year. They also have camper ships available, though, because.

[43:18] They realize that that’s a lot of money and there’s also a sibling discount. So if you have more than one child going, you’re not quite paying the full price for both. All connected. Our kids during the week are really a lot of fun. And you try to limit that. No, we we tell the parents to just take those cell phones right back home with them.

[43:42] They’re I guess, actually at Camp Michigan, the city. So counselor and training, they were allowed to be on their cell phone with very strict restrictions and not in front of the other campers. So maybe just like in their cabin at night, they could check up on things or something. But it was very it’s very little. And in Virginia, it was just no phones, which I honestly am a fan of, because then the kids are really bonding with each other. They’re not just sitting on their own bunk doing their own thing. They’re always talking to each other or playing a game of cards as they’re winding down at night or sharing something, or the little ones are looking at some picture book together or something. So. So I’m assuming then that you have you had a process in place for parents who wanted to get a hold of their children quickly? Oh, yeah. Yep. Here you can email the director with non emergencies that can be dealt with that night and you can call the director at any time. So like last year, Tim gave his cell phone number to the parents and said, if there’s an emergency, you call. Which we had.

[44:53] Good cell service at the camp in Michigan. In Virginia, it was much more spotty. So I know that there were like several numbers given to parents and also an email option. But it was a little a little harder there because it was a little more rural. The camp in Virginia was at a Girl Scout camp. You mentioned the Girl Scout camp earlier, and that was it’s called Camp Darden if you’re ever out east for anything. I am excited about how excited you are about Camp Quest. I love it so much. Like, I just. It’s a blast, like. The the people I meet are amazing. Like being a teacher. I always get myself stuck in a super conservative world and teaching somehow. Like right now I teach at a school that is 95% of my kids are Muslim students, so I always like end up living in this bubble. So Camp Quest is like my escape.

[45:56] I think we’ll go ahead and wrap wrap it up for today. And I really appreciate you visiting with us today. It was a lot of fun. Good luck with your camp experience this summer and hopefully you have a lot of people show up for that and we’ll make sure that we promote it in the group and I’m sure, are interested in attending. Thank you for listening. For more information about the topics in this episode, please visit the episode page at Glass City Humanist Dot Show. Glass City Humanist is an outreach of the secular humanists of Western Lake Erie. Scholey can be reached at humanists W-League org Glass City Humanists is hosted, written and produced by Douglas Berger, and he is solely responsible for the content. Our theme music is Glass City Jam, composed using the Amplify Studio. See you next time.

[47:06] Music.

Transcript is machine generated, lightly edited, and approximate to what was recorded. If you would like perfect transcripts, please donate to the show.


Written, produced, and edited by Douglas Berger and he is entirely responsible for the content. Incidental voice overs by Shawn Meagley

The GCH theme is “Glass City Jam” composed using Ampify Studio

This episode by Glass City Humanist is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 4.0.

By Douglas

Host of the Glass City Humanist