It's Beyond Belief!
Welcome to Camp Quest of the Smoky Mountains! In the Spring of 2002 some caring people from the
Rationalists of East Tennessee in Knoxville had the vision
to establish the second summer camp especially for children of secular parents. For the first five years
it was very small, almost family size. Since 2008 it has grown rapidly, but we have been able, so far,
to retain that friendly, family atmosphere. And now we are offering a new second session to be held in Alabama.
Our Tennessee camp has been held each summer in a small valley, nestled away between mountains in the Great Smoky Mountains
National Park. Our host is the Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont.
These wonderful people provide our facilities and make the natural world come alive for visitors throughout the year.
With our wonderful staff of volunteers, we swim in the Little River, hike the mountain trails, talk around the
campfire, play games, and learn about science, nature, and philosophy. We leave our friends, old and new, with the
dream and expectation of returning next year.
Our new Camp session in Alabama will be held at the
Alabama 4H Center near Birmingham to better serve children from Alabama, Georgia, Florida,
and Mississippi. We are excited because this is the finest site we could find in all of Alabama and Georgia.
We will have many new attractions, including canoeing on Lay Lake, a swimming pool, archery, a climbing wall,
a field for outdoor games, and our usual campfires. We expect to have some of our campers and staff from Tremont, and are
looking forward to greeting many new campers and volunteers. We might even be able to offer Family Camp again here.
We are still planning activities, but welcome inquiries at any time.
If you are a secular family, you can find others like yourself right here at Camp Quest of the Smoky Mountains and
Smoky Mountains - South. If you are uncertain about your beliefs, we are here for you too. If our dates don't fit, learn about
our other camps. CQSM exists as a place where volunteers from the free-thinking
secular community can do good things for our children. If you share our goals, we invite you to become part
of our support community.
REGISTRATION OPENS IN JANUARY
Summer 2014 will be our twelfth camp, so save July 27 - Aug. 2
for Camp Quest of the Smoky Mountains for Tremont, and July 13 - July 19
in Alabama. We will be accepting applications for campers, ages 8-17, and staff for 2014. In 2013 we had 53 campers plus staff,
a slight increase and about the limit that Tremont will allow us.
2014 application forms will be available by clicking on the Forms links on the left or by reviewing the links below.
For more information on Camp Quest 2014, contact our volunteer staff at (865) 896–9270. Keep checking our website
throughout the year as we add more information about the upcoming activities, and follow us
We are looking for people who are willing to help organize the new Camp session in Alabama in a timely manner. There will be a
camp in Alabama in 2014, but it is difficult to continue managing it from Tennessee. Beyond 2014 there must be local support.
We could accept as many as 35 campers and a dozen staff, but that will be difficult to do at the last minute.
A startup involves additional costs, so donations are welcome.
2013 CAMP REVIEW
Big is not always best, but our best was big. We had more campers in attendance, but we kept the
intimacy of a small camp. The counselors and many campers work hard to know everyone's names.
The hike to Spruce falls and the swim in the river were favorites as always. We went tubing instead of canoeing as in the past.
We did not have Nick this year, but Stan,
Russ, Lisa and Matt led the group of campers to camp out overnight on the West Prong. They took food with them for dinner
and breakfast this time. The night hike with quiet and no lights was dark as ever. There was less interest in catching magnetic
fish with casting rods, but two tried their hand with real fish.
Traditional activities, swimming, field games, stilts, badminton, Socrates Cafe, science experiments, campfires, a movie,
and much more were all enjoyed. Campers did a great job on the service project, and Tremont staff seemed truly amazed at what
we were able to accomplish. As usual, the closing campfire was an emotional time.
Each year we have some special needs and we seek some special people to help us. If you think you can help,
please go to this page.
Camp Quest of the Smoky Mountains is a secular residential summer camp for the children of atheists, agnostics, humanists and freethinkers,
and its purpose is to provide children of non-religious parents with a residential summer camp, dedicated to improving the human condition through
rational inquiry, critical and creative thinking, scientific method, self-respect, ethics, competency, democracy, free speech, and the separation
of religion and government guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States. However, registration is open to all children regardless of their
beliefs or the beliefs of their parents.
Camp Quest of the Smoky Mountains is supported by the Rationalists of East Tennessee
and UU friends and donors:
"Thinking people doing thoughtful things."