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