Year after year, Kids4Peace Jerusalem has grown. We started in 2002 as a summer camp. Then we grew into a year-long program. Eventually one year became 2 and then 3, 4, 5, and so on and so forth.  Kids4Peace now is not just a camp and not just a program, we are a community. As part of our mission to end conflict and inspire hope in Jerusalem, we have launched the official Pathway to Peace.

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Pathway to Peace is a six-year educational program for Jerusalem youth (age 12-18), which includes local and international camps, bimonthly meetings, conflict-sensitive dialogue groups, community service, social action, and leadership training. Each year in the program has its own age-appropriate programmatic theme which builds upon the previous year’s program.

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Join our team!

merk4p —  September 30, 2014 — Leave a comment

Kids4Peace Jerusalem seeks faith advisors and facilitators!
Click here for more detail!

Faith Advisors
Kids4Peace Pathway to Peace programs have one Faith Advisor for each faith tradition represented. Advisors are responsible for the interfaith and informal educational content of Kids4Peace programs. The Faith Advisor will work with an interdisciplinary/interfaith team in devising and implementing appropriate programs for youth. Faith adviser works closely with parents and youth in his/her faith group and with the rest of the participants.
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Facilitator/Youth Worker
Kids4Peace Leadership program has 2 facilitators/youth workers from each nationality represented. They are responsible for the mentoring youth, facilitating dialogue and creating and implementing informal educational content of Kids4Peace programs. The facilitator/youth worker will work with an interdisciplinary/interfaith team in devising and implementing appropriate programs for youth.
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“Two years ago we filled this same room [at the Ambassador Hotel in Jerusalem] with Kids4Peace alumni from 10 years of our programs,” shouted Kids4Peace Executive Director Fr. Josh Thomas to a room full of cheering youth and parents. “Today we fill this entire room with only ONE year of Kids4Peace!”
Over 250 Kids4Peace Jerusalem community members came together with their families for an evening of inspiration and looking forward to the new year. Kids4Peace Jerusalem Directors, Education Directors, and Steering Committee chairs welcomed the 7th-12th grade youth and families, shared upcoming opportunities for involvement, and showed a slideshow of the 7 summer camps that went on despite the increased violences this past summer.
While staff were available with program dates and descriptions and the Steering Committee presented opportunities for parent leadership, the youth enjoyed picking up their official camp pictures, decorating picture frames for each other, writing thank-you notes to sponsors, watching the 2014 slide show, and of course lots and lots of drumming.
“Despite everything we’ve been through as a community, we are sticking together. We are stronger than ever,” said co-director Rebecca Sullum. “We have heard from you, our community, that it’s time to take our message to the world and we’re ready for that. It is going to be an incredible year.”
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It felt like a family reunion, full of hugs, kisses, shrieks, and camera flashes all around. After an intense summer of violence, tension, and uncertainty here in Jerusalem, the Kids4Peace Jerusalem staff came together to appreciate one another and reflect. With lingering sadness due to several Palestinian team members not having permits to attend the celebratory event in Jerusalem, the staff made the best of it.

Everyone spoke. Dinner started to get cold, but there was too much to say. Below are some of our favorite quotes from the evening, followed by pictures.

“I wish I could change my last name to Kids4Peace…because it really feels like family.” -Montaser, a Muslim advisor 

“The hardest part was before camp, knowing how we are going to build the group and what our dynamic was going to be with the kids during the conflict. But the kids came, and they were so uplifting and motivated. They gave me hope, they really did. Seeing the kids together, I felt so grateful.”  -Dagan, Jewish Advisor

“I thought the biggest challenge would be getting the parents to let go of there kids this summer and send them to camp with us. We had a really great group and each kid added so much. When they talked about the challenges together and then went off and played soccer it really inspired me. It was so natural for them. Instead of us giving them hope, they gave us hope.” -Marianne, Christian Advisor

“Especially this summer, I and so many people felt desperate that I couldn’t do anything. Once we got to the airport I felt so thankful for the K4P team. What was needed of me was to be there for the kids. I feel so thankful to have been in Kids4Peace this summer.” -Amirit, Jewish Advisor

“I just kept waiting to hear that there wasn’t going to be a camp. How could we have camp here, in the south, during a war? But we did and it was amazing. A bit of gold…”  -Hamze, Muslim Advisor

“It was such a difficult summer and we didn’t know how it was going to turn out for us. But somehow despite it all we were so successful. I am so impressed with all of you and with all of our programs.” -Mohammad, Kids4Peace Jerusalem co-director

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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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