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Kids at Wonder Works day camp/Contributed photo

Palouse humanist day camp offers alternative to religious youth camps

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Kids at Wonder Works day camp/Contributed photo
Kids at Wonder Works day camp/Contributed photo

When Tara Howe saw a poster for Wonder Works day camp hanging at One World Café in Moscow, Idaho, she didn’t hesitate to enroll her 8-year-old son.

There are plenty of Vacation Bible Schools to choose from in the Palouse, but a humanist day camp was a way to teach kids about consciousness and humanity, without bringing religion into it, she said.

Her son, Ronan Polson, was one of 16 children who participated in the Humanists of the Palouse first youth camp, which concluded on July 25.

The weeklong camp, held at The Yellow House in Moscow, offered activities based on a progressing theme of “individuality extending out into the larger world,” explained Camp Director Janny Stratichuk.

Activities included children’s yoga, exploring DNA science, making personalized placemats for clients of Meals on Wheels, building and stocking a Little Free Library, fostering environmental awareness and folding giant origami cranes for the Peace Crane Project, she said.

Activities, Howe said, that fit well with what she teaches at home.

“My son has ingested states of being that are already part of our family philosophies, like helping the earth, being kind to one another and celebrating our uniqueness and sameness,” she said. “I love that the kids were learning to respect themselves, be inclusive of others and honor the earth all within engaging activities with no particular faith attributes.”

She hopes to send her two other kids to the camp next year, including her oldest son who lives with his father and is being raised in a fundamental Christian home.

“I believe the tenets of this camp hold similar concepts of the positive elements of Christianity and it would be good for my son to see the similarities between viewpoints,” Howe said. “I think that seeing how inclusive this perspective is would shed light on the fact that those who are not Christian are not heathens either.”

Stratichuk said Humanists of the Palouse weren’t trying to provide an atheist day camp, or a non-theist camp, but simply to provide another outlet for non-religious families. Because so much interest was shown in Wonder Works, the organization is planning to make the camp an annual one.

It’s the only humanist day camp in the Palouse region and is open to children ages 7-11 years old. For information visit the camp’s Facebook page.

 

Tracy Simmons

About Tracy Simmons

Tracy Simmons is an award winning journalist specializing in religion reporting, digital entrepreneurship and social journalism. In her 15 years on the religion beat, Simmons has tucked a notepad in her pocket and found some of her favorite stories aboard cargo ships in New Jersey, on a police chase in Albuquerque, in dusty Texas church bell towers, on the streets of New York and in tent cities in Haiti.
Simmons has worked as a multimedia journalist for newspapers across New Mexico, Texas and Connecticut. Currently she serves as the executive director of SpokaneFAVS.com, a digital journalism start-up covering religion news and commentary in Spokane, Wash. She is also a Lecture of Strategic Communication at the University of Idaho.

She also writes for The Spokesman-Review and for the Religion News Service.

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One comment

  1. My daughter’s attended this camp and loved it! Thanks so much to everyone who made this happen!

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