by Jack, Christian Advisor, Jerusalem Peace Builders
Before heading to bed after a long day of traveling by car, plane and bus, we all got reacquainted and familiar with each other’s names through some icebreaker activities and designing our name tags to represent a part of our identity.
Once everyone finished creating their unique name tags, each participant explained the meaning and story behind their names. It was interesting to hear everyone share their different stories around such personal and deep parts of who we are.
On Day 1 of the camp, we had a nice yummy breakfast of pancakes, hash browns, fruit and cereal before hiking along one of Camp Allen’s wooded trails towards the new Discovery Center. Here, the group was introduced to Stuart and all of the camp staff and then launched into a discussion and sharing activity around four main questions:
What I expect from the camp?
What I expect from my friends?
What I expect from myself?
What I expect from the staff?
The activity allowed each of us to think deeply and reflect upon our expectations for the 12 days ahead. Once finished, the group headed back for lunch and a music-making workshop with Billy Jonas. Billy beautifully led the group through some basic rhythms and peace songs to get everyone engaged and feeling their creative spirit coming out. We each received a pair of drumstick-pencils and were instructed to find some object or thing in the room to make sound with. The campers got very creative in their choices: coolers, cafeteria cups, chair legs, knees, decorative plants, door frames… you name it! It was a lot of fun watching the group work collectively and as a team to make the drumbeat.
Working up such a sweat from all the drumming required a refreshing dip in the pool. After swimming, we had a great scavenger hunt where the youth were running around the main campus looking for different clues and asking Camp Allen staff for help. The dramatic conclusion of the hunt led us to a nice spaghetti and meatball dinner. After a little free time, we met up with Billy for some more songs and song writing. We all laughed as we did different hand and body motions to the words of the songs. Part of our experience at camp this summer is to write and perform a song for friends and supporters of JPB-K4P. Tonight we came up with a few lyrics to get us started:
“Inside were all the same, from our hearts to our brains, let’s all break the chains, of hating, open up the gates, find your friends and mates, drop the hot plates, start creating…