Active Duty Marine Dedicates Himself to Secular Youth

Each Summer, between 80 and 90 children travel to Camp Darden near Franklin, VA for summer camp. Like all summer camps, they’re set for an adventure filled with games, outdoor activities, water activities, and exploration. What sets this camp apart, however, is that it is the only camp between Virginia and Maine providing a safe haven for the growing secular community to openly share perspectives, learn, and discuss moral growth from a freethought perspective. It is also unusual because it is headed by an active duty Marine.

Visit Camp Quest Chesapeake and support their spring fundraiser to help youth find out who they are. If you can be there in person, drop by Bad Wolf in Manassas, VA on March 4th.

Camp Quest provides an educational adventure for children featuring freethought, critical thinking, scientific literacy, humanist values, and fun. “I’m a strong believer in teaching children how to ask good, relevant questions in a respectful manner,” said Korvin Kraics, a Marine Corps judge advocate, father of two young children, and Chairman of Camp Quests Chesapeake and Mid-Atlantic. “To that end, Camp Quest’s mission drew me in.”

Nonreligious families like those supporting Camp Quest celebrate moral values and ethical precepts based on rational problem solving, personal autonomy, thought independence, compassionate not corporal punishment, a questioning spirit, and empathy. Cultural stigma against humanists and nonbelievers can alienate and discourage children of secular families. Camp Quest provides a supportive environment.

“I think there is an untapped demand in the Northeast region for families to express secular values in a fun and safe environment, said Kraics.  “We want to connect non-religious volunteer mentors with children from non-religious families to share ideas and build positive relationships.”

Regarding the connection to his military service, Kraics added, “Camp Quest celebrates personal empowerment, problem solving, moral courage, integrity, and cooperation. I find those values consistent with values we espouse in the military.”

Camp Quest Chesapeake is growing beyond capacity. The 2016 session showed a camper increase by 14 percent and a volunteer increase by 8 percent from 2015. Additionally, the camp increased scholarships, aka camperships, by 60 percent that same year. With demand in mind, Camp Quest Chesapeake created Camp Quest Mid-Atlantic to expand its mission beyond Virginia. CQ Chesapeake is just one camp of more than ten across the country all the way to California.

To support their growth campaign, Camp Quests Chesapeake and Mid-Atlantic are holding a fundraiser on March 4, 2017, at BadWolf Brewery in Manassas.  “We’re raising money to support more campers and recruit more volunteers,” said Kraics. “We currently have an energetic, dedicated, and smart Camp Director, Sarah Henry.

Sarah recently graduated from Lynn University in South Florida with degrees in Political Science and Photography. This is her first year as a Camp Director at Camp Quest Chesapeake, but she has been involved with Camp Quest for eleven years. Sarah also has served as the Secretary for the Secular Student Alliance Board of Directors for the last four years. She does the yeoman’s work for our camp, and we’re looking for more volunteers like her who share same talent, creativity, and commitment.”

“Learning is a lifetime endeavor,” he added. “We aim to empower children to learn properly, have broad perspectives, and apply knowledge in a way that is fun and celebrates life. We can all learn to ask more questions than we provide answers, and I can’t wait to meet our new crew of campers and volunteers to see what questions they have.”

Opinions expressed here reflect personal opinions and experiences only and do not imply endorsement by any government agency.

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