Camp Quest will be unable to be at Skepticon. Unfortunately, they only had one registrant for their camp and will have to cancel this year’s endeavor. We hope that they can come back in the future, but until then we’ll have to do without our beloved Camp Quest at Skepticon 6.
-The Skepticon Team
Teresa Morris · October 28, 2013 at 11:49 am
That ONE registrant was us. :-( My son is going to be very disappointed, he was really excited for the opportunity to meet other ‘like minded’ kids and have a great time as well. Maybe next year, fingers crossed!
I will say it was a bit hidden on your website though. Maybe if you made it stand out more and more of an extra attraction/perk, it would have had more success. It’s a great option for parents who want their kids to have a great learning experience. Unfortunately, it just wasn’t that easy find out about.
Carol Bronson · October 30, 2013 at 1:59 pm
Oh no, what will I do with my 9 & 11 yr old granddaughters….Can they come??
Misty · November 2, 2013 at 12:54 pm
I had no idea Camp Quest was even available! My son has attended in Oklahoma. Yes. Certainly make it more accessible on the site next year!
Lauren Lane · November 2, 2013 at 1:32 pm
We had Camp Quest on our registration form, social media and website on top of Camp Quest doing their own promotion. What other forms of accessibility for this information would be helpful? We want to make sure to have them there next year!
Many thanks for your suggestions!
Kathleen Gregg · November 7, 2013 at 3:28 pm
My daughter, my husband, and I are greatly disappointed to hear that Camp Quest is cancelled. Like the Morris’, I have also had the experience of registering for Camp Quest in conjunction with an event, only to find out just days prior to the event that there were “not enough” registrations to host the camp (my experience was a Camp Quest that was supposed to occur after the Reason Rally in DC at the American Atheists conference site).
I first visited the Skepticon 6 page much earlier this year, and was able to reserve a room far in advance. At that time, there was no Camp Quest registration, but I was pleased to see that they would be there. Camp Quest was only given a “watch this space” note. I came back and watched for awhile, and then finally forgot about it until yesterday. I would have registered months ago, if I could have. I would have registered the first day they were finally taking registrations, if I knew about it. “Watch this space” did not work very well. I also didn’t notice Camp Quest on the registration page.
After finding out about the cancellation at this blog, I looked around the conference site to see advertising for the camp. All I could find was a link in the FAQ about registering “tiny dinos,” at a question about “minions.” [That faq entry was written by someone who thinks parenting is “cute.”] On clicking the link, I was sent to a registration page, which says “Camp Quest is holding a mini day camp in conjunction with Skepticon 6 … Children ages 6-12 are eligible to attend this event.” I don’t think I am being picky to think that “is holding” is not the same as “might hold if an unspecified minimum number of children are registered by an unspecified deadline.” The cancellation is not even mentioned on their registration page! Also, what about families with children under 6 or over 12?
You say Camp Quest also promoted this event, but Camp Quest didn’t do any promotion with me, even though in the past I’ve registered a child at a [cancelled] Camp Quest event, had a child particpate at a Camp Quest event, been a donor to Camp Quest, and signed up to get information about their camps. I do not think Camp Quest is trying very hard when someone like me is not even getting emails from them.
Planning to bring children to a conference is a big deal for parents. My experience is that Camp Quest is doing a lousy job at supporting conferences. Too many more spoiled experiences and word will get around that atheist/skeptic organizations still don’t care about including parents and families, exactly at a time atheist/skeptic parents are more willing to come out of the closet and start participating. Event organizers need to do more to make sure Camp Quest does a better job, or start using local day camp and day care providers instead. As a start, here are a few things I think conference organizers need to do:
1) If Skepticon is going to continue to use Camp Quest, you need to give Camp Quest a special page on your conference site from day one. A noticeable link to it needs to be on the main conference page. That camp page must from day one include a tool to sign up for the latest updates on the camp, via email and/or text/voice messaging. Camp Quest must promise to send timely updates to those who sign up for updates (whether or not they register), and the conference organizer must make sure Camp Quest is doing so.
2) Since Camp Quest is obviously unwilling to run a camp without (a) minimum number(s) of registrants, Skepticon should require them to state that minimum number (or other conditions) on their conference page, and make the status of registrations public on that page and via the update tool. Have them include an explanation of why they need (a) minimum number(s) of pre-registered children, and why they won’t support walk-ins. However, I think there is a better solution than making the policy more visible.
3) If funding, rather than attendance, is really Camp Quest’s problem, why didn’t they solicit event-specific donations? I think plenty of non-parents and also atheist/skeptic groups would help families to attend. Obligate Camp Quest to implement the camp, regardless of the number of registrations, if a certain funding level is met. You should make this number public, and allow event donors to earmark funds for education/daycare. Once funded, the camp should be required to allow walk-in registrations until the maximum number of camp participants has been reached. Funds might also be earmarked for scholarships to local families suffering financial hardship.
This will be our first Skepticon, and we’ll try to make it work without Camp Quest, but I am not looking forward to figuring out which conference presentations and activities might be interesting or age-appropriate for my daughter. Parents with more than one minor child, especially if any are outside the 6-12 range, would have a much more difficult time enjoying the conference (and this may be part of the reason with low
Our experience this year will give us better ideas of the ways a Skepticon can be family-friendly or unfriendly. I am expecting that we will sorely miss Camp Quest, as my daughter is wanting to spend some time with “other kids like” her. It would also be very nice to have some social time for families on the schedule.
Assuming our experience will not be a hopeless disaster, my husband and I volunteer to help Skepticon 7 do a better job planning for day camps and childcare (preferably via Camp Quest), and possibly a family-friendly social event. Please contact us, or direct us to the right people.