Kids4Peace Camps in the News!

merk4p —  September 7, 2014 — Leave a comment
 

Marathoning for Peace

Jordan Goldwarg —  September 1, 2014 — Leave a comment

K4P Northwest Regional Director Jordan Goldwarg and Sam McVeety at the finish line of the Sunriver Marathon.

K4P Northwest Regional Director Jordan Goldwarg and Sam McVeety at the finish line of the Sunriver Marathon.

 

by Jordan Goldwarg, K4P Northwest Regional Director

Earlier this summer, Sam McVeety and I were thinking of innovative ways to fundraise for Kids4Peace Seattle. We decided to indulge our love of running and train together for a marathon, raising money and awareness for K4P along the way. While doing a marathon for charity is nothing new, we added a few twists by launching an Indiegogo campaign to help us with our fundraising. In true crowdfunding fashion, we offered some fun incentives to induce donations, including things like going on a training run with us (for a $200 donation), getting a cross-country ski lesson from me ($300), or getting some rowing lessons from Sam ($500).

The campaign was a success, raising over $1700 for K4P Seattle! And the marathon was also a success: yesterday, we competed in the Sunriver Marathon near Bend, Oregon, finishing together in a time of 3 hours, 24 minutes, and 18 seconds.

While the Indiegogo campaign is finished, people who want to support this effort can still make a donation directly to Kids4Peace. And if you want to take advantage of the incentives, we’re happy to oblige! Just email me at jordan@k4p.org after you make your donation.

by Nicole, American Participant

At the beginning of the week, a Shakespeare acting group came to lead a theatre workshop here at camp. We start off everyday with stretching and warming up our voices. We did some clown acting, using the “hmm…ohh…aha…voila..whoops” strategy. We also learned about a shape-shifting circle which is when one person makes a shape in the center and somebody adds their body to create a new shape. After this, the first person fades away, a new person adds his/her shape, and the process starts again.

One thing that I enjoyed, although everything was enjoyable, was the sound-motion circle. It consisted of one person making a sound and motion and then everyone would go around the circle and make the same sound and motion until it got back to the original person. The next person would go after. We did a bunch of different activities, as well, including the before/middle/after tableaux and some other fun games.

I enjoyed this two-hour sessions everyday because it gives everyone a chance to stand up and move around, instead of sit and listen, like we do in dialogues. Every day, we are excited to play zing pow, which is a fast-paced game that uses different sounds, motions, and all of our energy.

I think it is important for us to act with this Shakespeare group because it is a means of expression. We can share our opinions on certain topics through motion and sound, not just talking.

 

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by Kareem, American Participant

After breakfast we played some name games so everyone would get to know each other better because it was the first day for the Jerusalem kids in camp. The games that we played were the real facebook which is a spoken version of what would typically go on a facebook profile. We then played the group juggle which has someone throwing the ball to someone and then other balls or stuffed animals come into play and there will be about five items going at once. After the games local high school students came from their churches and synagogues to join us in what we would be talking about today.

A Pakistani woman named Yasmin spoke about the gender roles in Islam by using her grandmother’s life story. In the story Yasmin spoke about what her grandmother had done to support Yasmin’s father, she said that her grandmother had to make a sacrifice that would end up being the best decision for the family. The grandmother being a widow at a young age had to take control of the finances so the family could stay together. Yasmin’s story just strengthened what I already thought about Muslim woman and how they are such a big piece of the family. Following Yasmin’s story we ate lunch.

After that the Muslims of the groups prayed the Friday prayer while members of the other faith groups observed. After the prayer our guests from the church and synagogue departed along with Yasmin and her husband Javed. We then had a dialogue on prejudice where we spoke about where we were affected by prejudice and how it felt. The group thought of examples of private places like home all the way to public places like the streets, and one of the biggest emotions that was felt was loneliness.

After a short break we then had a discussion on how to be a good leader in terms of their morals, habits, and identity. We brainstormed as a group some good examples of morals and we realized how closely linked our morals are to our culture and religion. With habits we figured out how there is a cue then a reaction and ended by a reward for good and bad habits. We also discussed the definition of identity and how it is made up of our morals and habits. Because sunset of Friday was approaching it meant that it was time to welcome in shabbat so a Rabi from a Brattleboro synagogue to welcome in shabbat with us.

After our service we all talked about what Jerusalem means to us whether it is a home for the international campers or a place that has not been visited by some of the American campers. We spoke on what our favorite places were if we have been there and what we expect it to be like if we have not. At the end of the conversation we wished our friend Nicole a happy birthday by eating cake.

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Roots Camp Day 2

merk4p —  August 20, 2014 — Leave a comment

by Maggie, K4P Jerusalem Intern

Movement session:
By focusing consciously on our bodies and movements we gained an understanding of our physical reactions to things as well as our control over our bodies. This was furthered by partner work where we learned that if we are aware of our own selves we can bring that awareness to the task and compete it with less energy and in less time. This was a fun and interactive session where the youth experienced something new and interesting.
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Group project:
This group will become leaders next year within K4P and in preparation for this we have focused this camp on exploring the growth and development of the youth through out their time in K4P. Now we are looking forward to the next phase and hope to take all that we have learned and aspire to and integrate that in our work. With that in mind the youth are making individual masks of their faces. This mask will come to represent “The Best That They Can Be” Today we began the discussion and soon you will see the progress that we have made …
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We watched a movie outside under the stars with popcorn. A beautiful way to end a great day. The movie: “Skyhigh” – a story of one boy’s journey through acquiring superpowers and using them with and in order to protect others.
As part of the theme, “My Land, Your Land, Whose Responsibility”, Roots camp focuses on issues of identity and responsibility. This project shows just one example of how the process works
 
Each kid made two individual watercolor paintings depicting 1.) who they were when they began K4P, and 2.) who they are now (including their hopes for where they are going on their journey with peace). Each youth then presented both pieces, all of which will hang in the camp activity room for the duration of the program.
 
The discussion showed how far the youth have come from the beginning of their participation with K4P as they finish their third year in the 6-year program. Many spoke of how they need to work at peace, one youth even painted a battery with a peace sign, with connecting wires of both the Israeli and Palestinian colors, noted that we need to constantly re-charge our selves and engage in the work with renewed energy. Peace will not just come – we need to work at it. This sentiment was echoed by the participants and noted as a key learning in their participation with K4P. Many youth, through their paintings, referenced how things are less black and white for them now, how things have become “messier,” but that with this comes more understanding of the other and a desire to be more open.
 
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Here’s a glimpse into the first day of camp:

The energy on the 4-hour bus ride down to the desert felt nothing short of miraculous, as ten Israeli and Palestinian teenagers from Jerusalem took the brave step of joining together for a week of intensive learning, sharing, and growing.

Opening of the day: Fears/Hopes/Expectations:  Youth spoke about their fears in leaving home during this turbulent time, all who had reservations were happy they decided to come. Many felt concerned that their close friends were not attending camp this year, but they saw this challenge as an opportunity to get to know others in the group better. It seemed that the concerns about loneliness were lost on the bus as they felt they came together as a group.

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“Personal Key of Success”: Each participant stated what they could bring to the camp to make it a success and placed a key around their neck.
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Pool time was a great break from the heat. All the youth passed the camp’s swim test with our on-site lifeguard with flying colors, cheered each other on, and enjoyed popsicles and relaxing and hanging out together.
 
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“Desert Solo”:  Night hike under the stars, with guided time for group and individual reflection. This is always a turning point in camp for bonding with each other, and the land we all connect with so deeply. 

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*All donations to Roots Camp 2014 have been matched by actress and K4P supporter Natalie Portman! We are so appreciative to her incredible generosity. We loved meeting Natalie at our offices this past winter, and could not be happier with her support.
 

by Nancy, NH/VT Art Teacher

As we awaken to a new day, we are flooded with mixed emotions, knowing it is our last day.  

That was in the back of our minds yesterday as we played “Touch the person who…..”  Every camper and staff member sat or laid upon the grass under a gorgeous blue sky and tall trees.  Our facilitator Cata tapped the shoulders of a few people who opened their eyes and stood up.  They had several assignments to touch the person who made them laugh, or inspired them. who had helped them, etc.  After a few rounds, they were asked to join the silent circle with closed eyes and another set of people were tapped to stand and and do other rounds of “touch the person who….”  With 36 kids and all the staff and counselors, the time was limited but evereyone had a turn to stand.  At the end of the game, we opened our eyes and reflected on our feelings.  There were mixed emotions of frustration that “we didn’t have enough time to touch all those we wanted to” and that we really felt happy, surprised, “warm and fuzzy”, and “near to tears”.  Someone said this game connected us even more.
 

On Friday, we attended services at the Manchester mosque followed by attendance at a Shabbat service at the Concord synagogue with dinner and an overnight there.  Saturday we had breakfast after a short service, lunch in the nearby park (carrying all the food along the street…quite a sight), games and Abraham’s Tent play practice on the grass, dinner back at the temple and return to camp after sunset for a campfire on our last night.

 
Today, Sunday, is a Christian sharing, followed by dialog time, packing, lunch and swim before a short rehearsal while American parents and special guests arrive for the celebration of Abraham’s Tent.  That performance will start with the kids entering in a parade of posters, kazoos, plaster gauze masks and song; then groups of mixed faiths will present skits about the three faiths.  Followed by the bar-b-que supper, the Americans will depart after saying goodbye to the dear friends they’ve made, adult staff, teen counselors and all the campers.
 
This has been a week of fun, friendship, hugs, games, long talks, and challenges that were solved with peace-making skills.  The staff and kids are AMAZING!  Our time together has changed us all, and deepened our commitment to making this a more caring and peaceful world.
 
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by Jack, American Counselor and Leadership Trainer 

unnamed-6Session Two, Day 1: Our American participants arrived at 12:00 noon and enjoyed some introductions and icebreaker activities to start forming strong relationships. Hassan and I worked alongside the youth in prepping the bedrooms and common areas for when our Jerusalem brothers and sisters would arrive the following night. It was a good start for our young leaders to practice respecting and giving back to their environment. That night we had delicious homemade cheese pizzas and watched the film “Budrus.” The movie provoked much rich discussion about the Palestine-Israel conflict and how the international community plays a role in it. Our American participants have been showing great energy and willingness to learn and understand from those on both sides.
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Day 2: Today we began with some icebreakers and teambuilders to strengthen the bonds initiated yesterday. We all took part in building a canoe rack for Acer Farm as a way to give back to the camp and engage in a practical teambuilding task. Everyone was eager to help and this energy aided the project’s success. Following lunch, we took a nice walk along one of several trails that run across the farm’s rich woods. Along the trail we encountered a large tree that had fallen down. The group proceeded to remove many of the limbs blocking the trail so that horseback riders could continue along their rides. We returned to the farm for a introductory discussion about dignity and its connection to leadership and the global community. Our Jerusalem friends arrived around 9pm and were greeted with open arms from the rest of us at the farm. After some grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner, we all headed to bed to catch up on sleep and rest for a very exciting tomorrow.

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by Nancy, Art Teacher at Kids4Peace NH/VT

As a global faith youth movement, Kids4Peace has teen alumni become counselors and adults guide as Faith Advisors, directors, facilitators, etc.  After interviewing some of them here at camp, I’ve learned that our own faith has been strengthened, both by putting it into action and by learning from the wisdom of children.

Through sharing of faith traditions and dialogue/activities that teach peace-making skills, K4P creates a summer camp experience that is  truly unique.  In my sixth year as art teacher, it is a delight to recognize former campers who are now counselors.  And, last year the Staff Development Camp visited teen alumni at the Leadership Camp in Brattleboro, VT; three of them are counselors here.  
 
One of our staff members began as a camper in Jerusalem ten years ago; he is now an adult Faith Advisor.  One sixteen year old JLM counselor wants to continue her work with K4P into college; when friends or teachers make disparaging remarks about her commitment, it only makes her more enthusiastic.
 
In Kids4Peace, children and adults are weaving relationships into a strong tapestry that crosses the barriers of age, religion and geography.  
 
Together Peace is Possible.
 
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