Imagine the Unimaginable
By Diane Davis
“Unimaginable” was my foremost thought as I listened to the young Jewish, Christian, and Muslim teenagers from Kids4Peace ( during the Williston Federated Church August 7 worship service.  They were alumni of previous K4P camps in Jerusalem and Vermont chapters and had just returned from the K4P Global Institute in Washington, D.C.
It seemed unimaginable to me that these bright, articulate, animated young people who came to speak at WFC about the power of faith and love grew up in communities where fear and hatred of the “other” is the norm.
Williston EveryoneAs each youth spoke, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, heretofore only a story in the media, came alive for me.  Sadly, their stories are mirror images:
“Terrorist” a classmate flung at Lana, when she introduced herself as a Muslim from Iraq during a class at South Burlington high school.
“Spy” and “traitor” labels rained down on Aviv, a Jewish teenager who dared to suggest to his erstwhile friends that Palestinian youth are “just like us.”  He continued, “They didn’t believe me when I told them I have met Palestinian teenagers and they just want to live, like we do.  They are not dumb or mean like we thought.”
Talia, a Jewish girl from Jerusalem, shared that during a particularly tense time in Jerusalem she was afraid to walk to the corner store for milk or take the bus to school.  “We were so scared we didn’t know what to do,” she said.
Unimaginable. I don’t believe I have ever been that frightened in any situation.  How privileged I am, while these youth, their families and their faith communities live in terror and, yes, as they each pointed out, in ignorance about each “other.”
Yet, they also spoke of how they and their families reach out to other Kids4Peace families for solace and support.  They spoke about the recent opportunity in Washington where they visited the United States Institute of Peace and even lobbied state senators for actions leading to peace.  They spoke about the power of listening and learning from each other.
Williston with HenryThe Jerusalem teens met through the faith-based organization Kids4Peace and they can now imagine a different world for themselves.  Through simple dialogue with each “other” and building a small but committed network of Muslim-Christian-Jewish friends, they can now imagine living side-by-side in peace.
Henry R Carse, Kids4Peace Founder, poet, native Vermonter and long-time resident of Jerusalem said,  “I believe these young people will see peace in their lifetime.  Not in mine but definitely in theirs.”
Imagine that.  In fact, get a clear picture in your mind….because you know “If you can dream it, you can do it.”*
Imagine understanding differences.
Imagine acceptance of the other.
Imagine speaking up against bullying.
Imagine forgiving our enemies.
Imagine peace.
Through the wisdom of Yahweh, the love of Allah, and the grace of God, let it be so.
*  Quote attributed to Walt Disney

Walk4Peace in Burlington June 2nd

Join us June 5th at 2pm

Your donations support the Kids4Peace Vermont Summer Camp for youth from the USA.

Come Walk4Peace

Come support Kids4Peace and walk up and down Church Street. Pledge in honor of friends and family if you like. All funds raised will help to put on our summer camps in Burlington!

Details: Sunday, June 5th. Burlington, Vermont.  Meet at the intersection of Church Street and Pearl Street on the UU lawn. The Parade will be2pm – 3pm. With a parent/kid informational meeting to follow in the UU.

#ForwardTogether: Walk4Peace!

Exploring Emotions: Vermont/New Hampshire Spring Retreat

by Nancy Stone

Our Spring over-night retreat took place April 16-17 at sisters Lola and Zelda’s spacious home in New Hampshire with 15 alumni and adults attending.  Our first activity was lessons in Arabic. Then, divided into two groups, we were told to create skits using only Arabic, adding new vocabulary as needed.  One teen remarked, “That wasn’t super hard!”  Someone else commented, “It felt good to be a little part of your culture.”  Shukran, Abeer and Lana.

The unusually warm evening found us walking through a covered bridge leading to a pizza place.  After supper on the deck beside the Contoocook River, we returned home for popcorn and the animated movie “Inside Out”, which is a fun but richly layered exploration of personality, memory and emotions. Our follow-up discussions asked: Which emotions do you feel most often?  What are your core memories?  Which emotions do you think our society values over others?  The adult staff participated by drawing a map of their own “islands of personality.”

After breakfast the next day, we lined up single-file for a silent meditation walk down the quiet street, with a focus on our breath and steps rather than the environment.  This led to sharing time about how to use this skill to calm and focus in daily life.

Art teachers Jill and Nancy then taught everyone how to make their own musical flutes called, ocarina, from kits ordered on-line.  The pre-cut wooden sections were like a puzzle needing to be carefully pieced and glued together; cooperation was often sought from a neighboring crafter.  Once the four-hole instruments were completed, everyone gathered outside to practice songs.  The activity became a metaphor for the peace-making process that leads to making beautiful music together.

May Marathons4Peace



Peacebuilding is a marathon. Our brave young peacebuilders in Jerusalem and the United States spend six years in Kids4Peace, building the skills and community they need to help heal our divided societies. This May, two Kids4Peace staff members will be running literal marathons to raise money for this summer’s programs that will bring together our Muslim, Jewish, and Christian youth — Palestinian, Israeli, and North American — as they take step after step after step in their journey toward peace.

Jeff (Northern New England Regional Director) will be running the Middlebury Maple Run (half-marathon) on Sunday, May 1. On the other side of the continent, on the same day, Jordan (Northwest Regional Director) will be running the Vancouver Marathon.

Our goal is to raise $5200, which represents 50 youth getting one day of Kids4Peace programming this summer. Will you help us to meet this goal? Help provide one day of life-changing programming that allows our youth to meet the other, to learn about each other’s religion and culture, and to develop precious skills in peacebuilding dialogue. Help provide one day of programming to heal the rifts in Jerusalem and to combat the rising tide of religious intolerance in the United States. Help us move #ForwardTogether.

A weekend seminar with K4P NH/VT

by Nancy, K4P NH/VT Art Teacher



Many Vermont and New Hampshire campers, counselors and staff members of the three faiths met for an over-night retreat the last weekend of January. It was great to meet everybody, whether we shared common memories or made new ones with alumni from different first and second-year camps. “It made us feel part of something bigger!”

The weekend included hearty meals, Acro Yoga, noisy card games, and a movie that led to a good discussion as to its pertinence to our lives. After our new friend Hadil taught us to do a traditional Dabkhea dance, we sang some K4P songs to her as thanks.

Following breakfast the next day, Jill led us in mindful meditation. Then camp director Jeff led a hike across the rolling hills and through the silent woods. Of course, the natural quiet had to be disturbed by a vigorous snowball fight! One camper especially appreciated the Trust Walk game when partners took turns leading the other person whose eyes were closed… ” I felt completely safe, knowing I wouldn’t get hurt”.

We attempted, fairly successfully, to hold a Social Media Flashmob by contacting K4P friends in Jerusalem and the U.S. via Facebook, Skype and Google hang-outs. Such fun!! Then, we worked on an art project for posters to be used in the Walk4Peace, held in Burlington, VT each Spring as a fund-raiser. The new posters more clearly state the mission of Kids4Peace and list our website on the backside.

Here’s a favorite interaction from the weekend:

Jeff: “I asked the group to form a circle but this looks more like an egg. Do you believe you can form a circle?

The kids responded: “No!”

Jeff: “Oh. Well, do you believe Peace is possible?”

Kids: “Yes!!!!!!”

By Nancy Stone, chapter art teacher

Kids4Peace NH/VT Reunite

by Nancy Stone, K4P NH/VY 
Vermont and New Hampshire kids and parents of recent Kids4Peace local and national camps met Saturday November 21st for a much anticipated reunion.  Though some of us keep in touch via social media, it’s so much better to meet in person as we play outdoor games, listen to guitar music, and gobble snacks.  Meeting in the lovely Dartmouth College chapel, we ended our reunion by reflecting on how the Kids4Peace experience has affected us personally.  Zelda Will GaemHere are a few of the shared comments:
       *  K4P gave me a new sense of the world and now my best friends are people on the other side of Earth.  It was an amazing experience.
      *  K4P has transformed my view of the world.  It has given me an outlet to share love, understanding and empathy with people from many different cultures and backgrounds.  K4P is also a vehicle for us all together to join in the effort to expand mutual respect, human dignity and with them, to build a peaceful world.
     *K4P opened a new world for me.  It showed pain, suffering, and hatred.  I have learned that no truth is the same truth but it is the truth of your heart. I’ve learned that if you don’t go into a difficult topic with an open mind, nothing is possible.  K4P shows peace is possible, even with kids.
     *  K4P helped me to understand how people are connected to each other and what different religions are about.
     *  Kids4Peace changed my life because it made me realize that I am not the only one who matters and that I should put others before me.reunion group photo


We can do it better, we can live together…Kids 4 Peace!

Interfaith Service 8/15We were so fortunate to have campers from all three levels of K4P VT/NH: Will was from this summer, Shoshana and Aaron were from the continuation 2nd year camp and Lana was from Leadership camp.  The campers read teachings from their faiths while Nancy and Areej led other parts of the service.  Then, Jeff and each of the kids spoke about the rich experiences they had through Kids4Peace.  A member of the congregation played the concertina to teach “Peace Salaam Shalom” that we’d learned from Chelsea at camp.  The benediction was composed from phrases taken from the Prayer Flags made at camp, now divided between Jerusalem, New Hampshire and Vermont.  The congregation was most appreciative and we adults were so very proud of our young ambassadors!