Camp Quest of the Smoky Mountains

Special Appeal for Donors

Camp Quest of the Smoky Mountains has been growing, setting new records for the number of campers in each of the past two years, and we expect to set a new record with the 2010 summer camp. With this growth comes new opportunities and challenges to broaden the range of camp experiences. Last summer we offered more optional activities to better span the range of ages and interests of our bright young campers, and this year we would like to offer still more. But some of the activities we want to offer incur additional start-up expenses and we do not have resources to cover this, so we are making this appeal for help. We start by listing some of the proposed new activities with descriptions and costs.

Overnight wilderness camping. As envisioned, campers participating would leave their air-conditioned dormatory at Tremont after dinner and hike two miles over Fodderstack mountain to a National Park campsite on the West Prong of the Little River. There they would set up tents and sleep overnight. There are no amenities at the campsite. In the morning they would get up early, pack up their gear, and hike back over the mountain to Tremont for breakfast.

For this we need two 4-person tents (cost about $150 each), two backpacks capable of holding one sleeping bag, one sleeping pad, one tent and additional necessities (cost about $100 each), and eight sleeping pads (cost about $25 each) to cushion the rocky ground. Campers and accompanying staff would provide their own sleeping bags. They would carry a two-way radio that could reach the camp staff at Tremont from the top of the mountain in an emergency.

Fishing with spinning rods. This is intended to develop the skills of fishing on the Little River. Campers participating would develop casting skills in camp. Then they would practice these skills in the river environment. Fishing licenses are not required for children under 12 in the Tennessee side of the park, but we would probably use fishing lures without hooks as this is for skills development, not for catching fish (although medhods for catch and release would be taught).

For this we would need about six spinning rods, reels, and lures (cost about $50 each at Walmart) and six flotation vests (cost about $75).

Orienteering. Campers would learn to use maps and compasses to follow a preset course. Targets would be placed and groups of campers would try to find them using given directions.

For this we would need at least ten compasses (cost about $20 each) and topological maps (cost unknown).

For these activities we are asking for donations of money or equipment (if you can get it to us). An added bonus would be to receive youth-level books (and/or DVDs) on these activities to add to our Camp library. Beyond these, there are a few other worthy items.

Camperships. Each year we try to offer partial camperships to worthy campers (see link to financial aid), when we have funds for this purpose available. At present these funds are depleted. A typical partial campership is presently $100.

Additional counselors. While Camp Quest is intended for children with adults volunteering their time, we do pay for counselors' room and board. Counselors find the experience very rewarding, but the number we can support from camp fees is limited. One new (20 year-old) counselor wrote last year, "Secular Humanism is a large part of my identity and I find it important to encourage freethinking in everone." Another (18 year-old) wrote "Coming from a religious family I always felt isolated, and even looked down upon for my beliefs. I would never have been allowed to attend Camp Quest." I find this appeal to be heart-rendering. Please support some additional counselors if you can. Cost is about $400.

If you could make a donation, please contact the Camp Director, or send a check payable to "Camp Quest Smoky Mountains" to:
Camp Quest Smoky Mountains
Jonas Holdeman, Camp Director
1056 Lovell Road
Knoxville, Tennessee 37932
Tel: (865) 966-6478