Edit: I’ve been asked to make clear that the reference to “Camp Quest” in the title of this post was metaphorical – this retreat is sponsored by the American Humanist Association and the American Ethical Union, not Camp Quest.
Ever wanted to spend a week in a mountain lodge, ziplining and hiking in-between rousing discussions of freethought, Humanism, and community? Now you can! This Summer the American Humanist Association and the American Ethical Union are joining forces to present Adventures in Humanist Community: a week-long retreat at The Mountain Retreat and Learning Center in NC, where you can learn more about how to build Humanist community, develop lasting friendships, and have a great time – kind of like Camp Quest for grownups! Find out more here!
The week will be a mixture of structured and unstructured activities. You’ll be able to choose activities for the week from activities such as five workshop threads (described below), a one-day rafting trip, zipline adventure or a guided hiking trip (there is an extra fee for these excursions), hiking, networking and conversation, personal meditation and reflection, catching up with your reading or writing in a peaceful natural environment, volleyball and other sports, trips to town (Highlands NC is nearby), forming spontaneous interest groups around such issues as parenting, and more.
Each evening will include a common and participative humanist celebration, and time for small groups to gather for sharing and reflection. And yes, there will be music and dancing several evenings. Bring musical instruments for sing-alongs and, weather permitting, a campfire. Families are welcome (there will be a children’s program running parallel to the retreat).
Throughout the week five “workshop threads” will be offered, each providing four sessions on a given topic, to develop your understanding of aspects of Humanism and your skills to develop your community. The threads are:
- Adventures in Humanist History – led by Fred Edwords of the AHA, Camp Quest, and the United Coalition of Reason, teaching you about the history of modern Humanism
- Community Building Communication – led by Diane Kirschner of the Brooklyn society of Ethical Culture, exploring the art of Nonviolent Communication
- Ideas that Sing: Bringing Humanism to Life – led by me, showing you how to convey Humanism to the public with passion and conviction, using the arts and compelling emotional narratives
- Living Ethics: Living Our Values, Humanist Style – led by Jone Johnson Lewis, a Leader at the Northern Virginia Ethical Society, investigating Humanist ethics in action
- New Paradigm for Living on Earth – Peacefully and Sustainably – led by Joy McConnell (consulting Leader for the Ethical Society of Asheville), asking how we can live more responsibly
In short, the retreat is like nothing that’s happened in Humanism since I got more involved, and looks like a fantastic opportunity to learn in a wonderful natural setting – the perfect opportunity for Humanists, atheists, skeptics and secularists to recharge their batteries and develop new skills!
The cost is extremely reasonable given what you get: a week of occupancy at the retreat, all meals, and all the educational programming (though some of the more adventurous aspects of the trip are extra) – $1200 to share a room, or $1460 for double occupancy. So if you’re looking for a fantastic way to spend a week in the Summer, learning from some of the most thoughtful names in Humanism (plus me =P), sign up now!