Non-religious Families and Children Find a Secular Alternative with Camp Inquiry

For Immediate Release: June 8, 2009
Contact: Henry Huber, Assistant Director of Communications - (207) 358-9785

Physicist and bestselling author Lawrence Krauss featured in a wide-ranging summer program emphasizing critical thinking and science

Amherst, NY (June 8, 2009) — At a time when surveys reveal a rapidly changing religious landscape around the United States, a unique summer camp aims to provide a secular alternative for families who increasingly hold to no religion at all. On July 6-12, Camp Inquiry will open its doors to approximately 50 children ages 7 to 16, arming them with the tools to think through life’s questions—big and small—for themselves.

In addition to astronomy, magic, songwriting, visual arts, and outdoors activities, the camp provides an atmosphere where young people can learn to appreciate science as a method for understanding themselves and the world around them. “We live in bewildering times,” said camp director Angie McQuaig. “This is especially true for young people, bombarded by conflicting messages, who sense that no easy, ready-made answers will do.”

McQuaig, who holds a doctorate in educational leadership, pointed out that the goal is not just self-esteem building or self-actualization. “At Camp Inquiry we grapple with some serious ideas, and we approach them with the spirit of science: reason, evidence, self-criticism, and an honest commitment to the truth, wherever it might lie.”

The week-long experience brings these values to life with a series of special guests and activities, alongside the more familiar attractions of a summer camp. Guests this year include the acclaimed physicist Lawrence Krauss, author of the bestselling book The Physics of Star Trek; Professor Kevin Grazier, science adviser to the “Battlestar Galactica” TV series; magician Christopher Moore; mentalist and host of the popular podcast “Point of Inquiry” DJ Grothe; Nica Lalli, the author of the memoir Nothing: Something to Believe In, who is also an educator at The Metropolitan Museum of Art; as well as Monty Harper, a professional children’s songwriter with whom campers will write, perform, and record their original compositions during the week.

Said McQuaig, “Will there be camp fire songs? Sure, but we will be singing our own tunes, literally.”

Camp Inquiry, now in its fourth year, is a project of the Center for Inquiry, an international organization committed to fostering a secular society and humanist values. It is held at Camp Seven Hills, a landscape of woodland paths, meadows, streams, and hills on 620 acres in Holland, New York. The camp is operated by a staff of fully screened and trained counselors, teachers, and a trained medical professional.

Enrollment remains open until the last week of June. More information is available at


The Center for Inquiry/Transnational, a nonprofit, educational, advocacy, and scientific-research think tank based in Amherst, New York, is also home to the Council for Secular Humanism, founded in 1980; and the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (formerly CSICOP), founded in 1976. The Center for Inquiry’s research and educational projects focus on three broad areas: religion, ethics, and society; paranormal and fringe-science claims; and sound public policy. The Center’s Web site is

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The Center for Inquiry (CFI) is a nonprofit educational, advocacy, and research organization headquartered in Amherst, New York, with executive offices in Washington, D.C. It is also home to the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason & Science, the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, and the Council for Secular Humanism. The Center for Inquiry strives to foster a secular society based on reason, science, freedom of inquiry, and humanist values. Visit CFI on the web at