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Camp Report – 2012
What does it mean to be a peacemaker? That is one of the many questions that 24 Christian, Muslim and Jewish eleven-year-olds, eight adult advisors and five teen counselors wrestled with for two weeks in July. North Carolina Kids4Peace Camp, now in its fourth year, met again this summer in the calm, pristine surroundings of Lake Logan Episcopal Center. Here 12 youth from Israel/Palestine and 12 youth from North Carolina learned about each other’s lives and faith cultures, working together to build understanding and peace.
Now in its 10th year, Kids4Peace is growing. This summer marked the start of a new camp at Camp Allen in Houston and the second year of Leadership Camp, designed for 16- through 18-year-olds who were campers when they were 11. Of course, Kids4Peace continues to hold camps near Atlanta and Boston and in Vermont and North Carolina.
As it grows, the organization is also offering its special mission to children from areas outside of Jerusalem, such as kids from the old city of Jaffa in Israel/Palestine. The kids from Jaffa who we hosted this year live in different circumstances and face slightly different issues than those we tackled last year with the kids who came to camp from Jerusalem. Several of our Muslim and Christian campers came from Arab neighborhoods in Jaffa, where they are Israeli citizens but do not enjoy the benefits or the responsibilities that come with citizenship because of their Arab ancestry. Conversely, our Jewish Israeli campers had not had the opportunity to learn about this segregation and how they can work for change.
As a result, at this summer’s NC Camp we explored, identified, discussed and digested issues of self-identity, how we each fit into our societies and how we welcome and befriend “the other,” as well as how we integrate our spiritual and religious identities into
everyday life. Such discussions help build the knowledge and skills necessary to the work of becoming true peacemakers. These activities and lessons also resonated with our North Carolina campers in that they often deal with quite similar issues and life circumstances.
One of the very best outcomes of any Kids4Peace Camp, though, has to be the deep friendships that form between and among campers, counselors and adult leaders. These new friendships are nurtured and sustained through various social media, meetings in Jaffa and in NC over the years and continuing engagement in peacemaking education and practice as the campers journey through their teen years, becoming more thoughtful leaders and world citizens in our rapidly shrinking global society. Thanks be to God.
– Lyn Holt is one of the directors of Kids4Peace North Carolina.
We are currently seeking Muslim, Jewish and Christian adults who are passionate about the possibility of changing our world by educating and building relationships among our children.
Contact Kids4Peace at email@example.com if you’d like to get involved.
Kids4Peace North Carolina received the 2012 Bishop’s Medal >>