The deadline for the Camp Quest fundraising contest ends September 3! So I’m re-posting this piece — to remind you that the contest is still happening, and my singing pledge is still on. Remember: the more money Team Awesome wins by, the more songs I’ll sing!
Raise money for Camp Quest — the kids’ camp for children of atheists, freethinkers, humanists, and other non-supernaturalists — and watch me make a singing fool of myself! Plus there’s a matching offer on the table from the Stiefel Freethought Foundation — so all your donations, up to $50,000, will be automatically doubled!
Last year, about eighty zillion bloggers teamed up against PZ Myers in an epic battle between good and evil, to be determined by who could raise the most money for Camp Quest. PZ was crushed by the Army of Awesome — and this year, he seeks revenge! So we’re doing it all over again. (This year’s Army of Awesome includes me, Hemant Mehta of Friendly Atheist, Jen McCreight of Blag Hag, JT Eberhard of WWJTD, Adam Lee of Daylight Atheism, Sikivu Hutchinson of Black Skeptics, Matt Dillahunty of The Atheist Experience, Cuttlefish of Digital Cuttlefish, C. L. Hanson of Letters from A Broad, The Chaplain of An Apostate’s Chapel, Phil Ferguson of Skeptic Money, and Dale McGowan of The Meming of Life.)
Now. You may remember that, in last year’s fundraising contest, several members of both teams made assorted wild promises about ways that we would make public spectacles of ourselves if our team won. Team Awesome prevailed, as the good and the righteous always do… so as a result, Jen McCreight learned to ride a bike on camera, JT Eberhard shaved his head and waxed his legs, Adam Lee grew a beard, Matt Dillahunty did an episode of The Atheist Experience in drag.
And I did karaoke. For the first time.
I’m not going to do that again. (Shudder.) However.
I was completely inspired by Crommunist’s songfest in the Secular Student Alliance blogathon. For every $10 donated to the SSA during his round of the Blogathon, Ian recorded a song requested by the donator — and wound up performing a total of 22 songs. (What can I say? Guy is hardcore.)
Now, of course, Ian can actually sing, which puts the whole thing into a different perspective. I can only sing okay. But I was inspired… and when I was thinking what wild promise I could make for this year’s Camp Quest Fundraising Battle to the Near-Death, I decided, “What the fuck.” (Also, I would like a second shot at this, and would like y’all to know that I can actually sing okay when I’m not singing through a shitty microphone in a noisy bar at the tail end of a weekend-long conference when my voice is shot.)
So I hereby make this pledge to you.
If Team Re-Defeat PZ — a.k.a, Team Awesome — wins the Camp Quest Fundraising Contest, I will sing, and video it, and post the video on this blog.
I’m not going to do karaoke again. Fuck that noise. But I will sing, on video, a capella, in the privacy of my own home. And I will post the video to this blog.
And I’ll go further than that. For every $100 that we beat PZ by, I will sing another song, and record it on video, and post the video on this blog. In other words: If we beat PZ by $1, I’ll sing a song; if we beat him by $101, I’ll sing yet another song.
Yes, you can make requests. I won’t promise to sing them. But I’ll take them under advisement.
I’m not the only one pledging foolishness, by the way! JT Eberhard has pledged that, if Team Awesome hits $5,000, for each talk he gives for the rest of the year he will sing a different argument. And if we hit $10,000, he will get a bunch of lyricists and musicians together and try to orchestrate the creation of Atheism: the Musical, and he will sing on the concept recording. How can you pass this up?
So who is this Camp Quest anyway, and why are they inspiring bloggers to engage in this epic battle?
If you’re not familiar with them, Camp Quest is the first residential summer camp in the history of the United States aimed at the children of Atheists, Freethinkers, Humanists, Brights, or whatever other terms might be applied to those who hold to a naturalistic, not supernatural world view. The purpose of Camp Quest is to provide children of freethinking parents 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.
The nontheist community offers many programs for adults, but very few for children. To provide a future for our values we need to provide freethinking families with a place for their kids to find community, develop critical thinking skills, and learn ethics and values. Fortunately, that is what Camp Quest is all about. Well, that, and all of the summer camp fun that you can pack into a week.
Camp Quest builds a community for children and teenagers from atheist, agnostic, humanist and other freethinking families. They provide campers a place to explore their developing worldviews, ask questions, and make friends in an environment supportive of critical thinking and skepticism. Camp Quest is open to campers from all backgrounds. They encourage campers to think for themselves, be comfortable with who they are, and engage respectfully with people who have different views.
And yes, Camp Quest is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation, and donations are tax deductible.
Camp Quest provides an amazing week of fun, friends, and freethought for hundreds of children. We are growing by leaps and bounds with new camps launching in Arizona, New England, Oklahoma, and Washington State, but they are still barely keeping up with demand. Each year they have kids on waiting lists to get into camp. They need your support in order to bring Camp Quest to more campers through launching new locations and helping our current camps grow. This year that support counts double thanks to the generosity of the Stiefel Freethought Foundation!
Here’s what some of their campers had to say when they asked them, “What have you learned at Camp Quest?”
“Camp Quest helps me remember that there are other people my age who think like I do.”
“To be kind to others of different beliefs.”
“…to be a leader, about photography, different plants, about the oil spill, and many other things.”
“That it’s okay to be myself.”
“how to make really good friends in just a week.”
“I’ve learned how to question things better.”
“That it’s okay to be an atheist.”
“So many things I can’t even count.”
In 2012 we are working hard to provide the Camp Quest experience to more families. Here’s how:
1. More camp locations than ever before.
This year there will be Camp Quest events in at least fourteen different locations in the U.S. and Canada, with a few more on deck for 2013! This means Camp Quest is available to more children and families across North America, and families don’t have to travel nearly as far to take part in the Camp Quest experience.
2. More campers attending Camp Quest sessions.
Registration numbers for several of their locations are higher than ever this year, and several camps had to close registration early because they filled up. More than 620 campers will attend Camp Quest week-long sessions in 2012.
3. More help to Camp Quest camps to make 2012 our best year yet!
At Camp Quest, Inc. they provide all kinds of support to Camp Quest camps to help them launch, and help them improve and grow from year to year. Camp Quest, Inc. provides financial support, publicity, technological services, training, troubleshooting and all manner of other help. The matching offer from the Stiefel Freethought Foundation will allow them to hire a second staff person who will focus all of his or her attention on providing that support to our camps. That will make it possible for more groups of dedicated volunteers to launch, and run amazing Camp Quest camps serving freethinking families in even more locations in 2013 and beyond.
You can help support this awesome cause, strengthen the future of the atheist community… and help stave off the crushing arms of PZ’s cephalopod army! Just click on the handy Chipin widget. That number again:
How can you pass this up? Get that jolt of good altruism chemicals in your brain… and get the entertainment value of seeing your favorite atheist bloggers make public spectacles of themselves! It’s win-win!