Archives For Camp 2015

Eat. Play. Laugh.

merk4p —  August 13, 2015 — Leave a comment

by Selina Petschek, Counselor/Social Media Coordinator

8-12-15 (F) 8-12-15 (E)Early risers flooded the hallways of Rock Point School well before breakfast. Jerusalem campers, adjusting to the time change were eager to get going, tired of the monotony of travel and waiting for camp to finally start.

When breakfast was at last called, all the campers, with some reluctance, found their way to their peace groups, meeting kids from different faiths and parts of the world. They shared breakfast, exchanging a few words and starting to learn each other’s names.

By lunchtime, they had danced around together, devised special handshakes, played soccer, established a camp covenant, and played numerous name games. Needless to say, the midday meal was much more lively than the previous one as kids started to find things in common, comparing what they like to do, talking about their families, and enjoying the same delicious food.

During art class, they were once again in their peace groups, sharing supplies and ideas of how to decorate their appreciation bags, journaling kits and treasure boxes.

Dinner, the final meal of the day, was by that point routine. They knew where to sit, how to be quiet enough to be called up for food, and where to go to find what they needed. Instead of strangers, they sat with friends. People they had a shared a whole day of experiences with and could count on to be there alongside of them. In just one day, thirty new faces had become familiar.

by Leah, K4P Summer Intern

11882806_703657183073680_598313525766737926_o 11879117_703658353073563_9118155578323815440_oAnother exciting, hot, and action-packed day! The highlight of the campers’ day was definitely their movement session with Shuli. Shuli organized a session where they really got to explore their creative side. The unique part is that for the first time, they were told to make a mess.

Shuli gave the kids a ton of newspapers and asked them to rip them up into tiny pieces until the ground was completely covered in newspaper shreds. They got really into it and even started making snow angels in the newspaper! Though I suppose they’d be called newspaper angels…

Throughout the session she had them do different activities and competitions with the newspaper mess. First, she split them up into four different teams and asked them to choose a corner. Then they tried to get as many newspaper shreds to their corner as possible. The next exercise was a bit more challenging. They were asked to make a fort or home out of the furniture and other supplies in the room we were in and then create a presentation to show to the group.

BUT, they were supposed to do all of this without speaking. It was really incredible to watch them use their imaginations and work so well in teams, all without talking to each other. They cooperated so well with each other, and you could really tell how much they trust each other and each other’s ideas.

This is what Lour has to say about the movement session today:

“This is the fourth movement session that we have had during this camp, and every day it becomes more and more exciting. Shuli is very focused on helping us explore other cultures and letting our creative side run wild. I was a little bit surprised when she told us that we had to rip up newspapers and throw them on the ground. I remember looking around at her and the advisors with a very puzzled look on my face. I thought the idea was a little bizarre, but the moment I began ripping the newspapers apart and tossing the tiny shreds into the air, It felt very good. I felt like art and creativity can be expressed so differently and that it isn’t only limited to quiet and clean activities. It was also an amazing experience to try and build homes out of materials. My group was very successful at it and I must say, our presentation was hilarious. Overall, it was great to see everyone participate in making a mess and surprisingly, in cleaning it up. I felt like we were all very connected and could work together as a team.”11882398_703646379741427_4416038817952705029_o

After the session we planned our hike and poike dinner for tonight, painted the concrete shapes we made on Monday, and went swimming. We told the campers that we have a surprise for them tonight. We’re going to watch the meteor shower! Stay tuned to hear about our experience!

by Dala, K4P Muslim Counselor, Jerusalem
11846748_491779597655920_2136038619410923129_n 11836784_491780017655878_116455258060498258_nAnd we’re on the 6th day now, 5 more days to go. Today is our last night at Camp Allen so tomorrow we will be heading to the Islamic center to stay for one night.

We had another morning with a birthday and it was Lutfi’s birthday, one of the Jerusalem campers.

After breakfast we continued with our regular schedule with art, music, and Olympic Games.
Today was the last day to swim in the lake, so everyone had fun doing the blob, giant swing, iceberg, and the canoeing. After 2 hours of swimming and laughing it started to rain, so everyone started to run so we can get to the cabins as quickly as possible. This is Houston, it is very hot that it even starts to rain from that high temperature “Crazy Houston”.

We ended our night with a great movie “Apollo 13” which was considered a failure, but then ultimately a successful mission to the moon. Everyone sat with their pillows and blanket all in one room to watch that movie and we were getting the kids ready to our adventure tomorrow in NASA.

By Talia, Roots camper

10344283_703390589767006_3898699421493161243_o Today we got to go to the beach in Eilat, experience some cool water sports, and spend some time in the Ice Mall food court. The water sports were really awesome, and were super fun. We had a few different kinds, such as tubing, boating, and riding on the banana boat. When we weren’t playing water sports, we got to enjoy the beach.  After the amazing experience in Eilat, we continued onto a movement session, and even got a movie night! It’s so cool to be able to participate in such a variety of activities at camp.

Quotes from all the girls

Anaghim: Each day gets better and better.

Devorah: It was fun to see the Jordan crossing and learn all about the politics between Israel and Jordan.

Mais: Water sports was the best part of the day.

Tia: The people with us are really cool, especially the advisors and counselors.

Adan: My favorite part of the day was water sports, but I like how camp keeps getting better and better.

Loure: My favorite part of the day was when I fell on Zeena during tubing and then we both fell in the water!

Yasmin: Banana boat was my favorite part.

Lour: This camp is very well planned, and no day is like the other. Today was very different from yesterday, and tomorrow is going to be even more different.

Nina: It was fun to push Samer in the water!

Zeena: Tubing was my favorite part.

Arrivals in NH/VT Camp

merk4p —  August 12, 2015 — Leave a comment

by Selina, Counselor/Social Media Coordinator

8-12-15 (A)The day we’ve all been waiting for! The official start of camp!! Staff preparations finally came to a close around 4:30pm as we all waited eagerly for the American campers to arrive.

They trickled in over the next hour, receiving Kids4Peace T-shirts, water bottles and bags, some eagerly dismissing their parents, others holding on just a little bit. Name games were started and the process of getting to know each other began.

After dinner and a few more games, kids headed up to their floors to prepare the rooms for their Jerusalem roommates. When bedtime rolled around, everything felt a little empty with only half the beds occupied.

A little after midnight, a big yellow school bus, loaded with Jerusalem kids and their Faith Advisors rolled in. Jet lagged and in a new place, the campers headed off to their respective floors, reluctant to fall asleep after so much traveling.

Finding their way around their around the American campers, the Jerusalem kids finally settled down, waiting to see what their first day at camp would bring.

by Selina, K4P NH/VT Media Coordinator

8-11-15 (B)It was another full day of working to prepare for the campers who arrive tomorrow!

The Jerusalem kids have already begun their long trip to Vermont. After spending the morning discussing details and learning Kids4Peace songs, the afternoon was happily spent getting ready for the official arrival of the campers.

Jeff, our camp director, reminded us to enjoy the work, not pushing through it in order to start life after our work is finished, but rather to recognize work as life, and savor the experiences of working as much as the resting.

In the evening, over ice cream and peach cobbler, we discussed this value as well as what it means to really, truly put yourself in another’s shoes, and have empathy for another person. Coupled with this was how to find time, in our own lives, to slow down, think, and make careful choices about what we do and how we interact with the people around us. One quote, from Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment, rang true for many of us: “Nothing is easier than to denounce the evildoer; nothing is more difficult than to understand him.”

Omar, one of the camp counselors talked about these principles in terms of the conflict between Israel and Palestine. He said that: “Back home, people don’t necessarily think in terms of empathy. Years and generations have passed but it is very rare to, as a Palestinian to put yourself in the shoes of an Israeli, or as an Israeli, put yourself in the shoes of a Palestinian and really understand that world and that perspective.”

by Dala, Muslim Counselor, Houston Camp

11781603_491338397700040_5975133429892608350_n Time passes so quickly.  Here we are on the 5th day. We started our day with birthday’s songs because we had two birthdays for Stuart who is the director of camp, and for May who is another Jerusalem counselor, so lots of delicious cakes were eaten by everyone.

The next part of the day was the activity part and we went to the high rope courses.  It was so nice seeing the kids supporting each other when they are all on very high heights. We went swimming after the high-ropes because we needed a cold place to be in because Houston is so hot.

We ended our night with a campfire and we did s’mores. A camp with Kids4peace can’t be finished without a campfire which everyone sits together and just chat over the campfire with music and everything.

11836627_491336987700181_3886225047278757635_n

“Today we went to the high ropes, I was scared at the beginning, but then I got a lot of support from friends and I had so much fun I even did the zip-line.” -Marianne, 13, Christian

“Today I had so much fun I was partying so much and I had a blast at the lake because the activities were new to me and I experienced it for the first time.”  -Mira, 13, Muslim

by Leah, K4P Summer Intern

 11232917_702987846473947_8754832709214966157_oDay 2 began bright and early with a morning bike ride. We met at the bikeshed at 6:15, and we were off to ride around the rocky trails near Ketura for about 45 minutes. The campers who did not know how to ride a bike got to ride in the backseat of a pickup truck through the trailers. Everyone was included no matter their skill.

As we rode through the dusty paths, we saw sand dunes, mountains, thousands of date trees, and most interestingly: Jordan. The mountain range across from Ketura is in Jordan. Seeing just a glimpse got the kids excited about tomorrow’s visit to the border. The campers loved getting to start off our day with something so active.

After the ride, the campers headed back to their rooms to recharge and get ready for the rest of the day. We were then off to breakfast.11054416_702988049807260_3594209053802510506_o Since we are switching off prayer days for each religion, today was our Jewish campers’ turn to say prayers before eating.

When breakfast was over, the campers had another break and then we had our morning meeting. We went over the schedule, talked about what the day has in store for us, and what we are most excited for. The kids then left for their second movement session with Shuli.

They had a really good time with her and they seem to be having a very meaningful experience communicating with each other through their body language instead of verbally. It is exciting to see the impact the movement sessions have left on the campers.

After the movement session, we got crafty. All of the campers were divided into teams of two to create a special art project. We mixed sand and water together to make a mold for a concrete-like mixture. The kids had a lot of fun exploring their creative side by carving different shapes into the now muddy sand. It was really fun watching them bounce ideas off of each other so they could make a unique art piece. They really seemed to understand the importance of using teammates when working in a group, and they genuinely enjoyed having a partner to work with.

11879085_702988639807201_660067227713121880_oAfter facecasting, we headed to lunch and then had the afternoon to recuperate after our busy couple days. The campers had the choice of swimming or resting in their rooms. Either way, it was nice to cool off either in the water or in the air conditioning. At 4:30 pm, we left for a session led by the Ketura about what a Kibbutz is.

After we learned about the structure of Kibbutz Ketura, we were split up into three separate groups and each given a controversial Kibbutz scenario. For example, the Kibbutz was running low on water, especially because it is in the desert. Therefore, the campers had to decide alternative ways to use less water. They came up with not planting grass and replacing it with synthetic grass. Then, they presented their ideas to the group, had a group discussion, and voted on whether or not they should replace the grass. The purpose of this exercise was for the campers to understand how a Kibbutz committee meeting is run. After this session, we had dinner.

We went on a walking tour of the Kibbutz Ketura after dinner. On the tour, we got to see and learn about what a home on the Kibbutz looks like, the algae factory, and the solar panel field. The solar panel field was the campers’ favorite part. We got to see robots cleaning the solar panels, how cool! Right after the tour we headed to the highly anticipated Kids4Peace vs. Ketura kids soccer game. Everyone who wanted to play got the chance to. I was so impressed with how well the campers worked together and rooted each other on. Not to mention how great their soccer skills are!

It was a long but fun and relaxing day. We learned so much about Kibbutz Ketura today that the campers were more than content with staying here and experiencing all this place has to offer. Tomorrow, we go to Eilat, and the kids can’t wait to go tubing!

by Ariel, Jerusalem camper at NC camp

We will spread peace
(to the tune of ‘We will rock you’)

Buddy you’re a boy making big noise playing on the streets
Gonna be a big man some day
You’ve got Ketchup on your face
Amazing grace
Spreading the peace all over the place

Chorus

Singing we will we will
Spread peace
We will we will
Spread peace!

Buddy you’re a young girl sweet girl
Playin with  the kids
Gonna be a counselor some day
You’ve got humous on your face
In a different place
Wearing your tee shirt all over the place

Chorus again

Buddy you’re an old man rich man
Seeing with your eyes what you did that day
A smile on your face
Such a sweet taste
The look of peace all over the place

Chorus again three times

Kids 4 kids 4 kids 4 peace

by Dagan, Jerusalem Jewish Advisor, Seattle Camp

“All we need is here…”

This chant (led by our Christian faith advisor Malcolm) has become one of our camp’s many anthems.  I found myself contemplating the meaning of these simple words, and would like to share my thoughts with you on this blog post today.

11844930_511692845647533_3277266647454671294_o Since landing in Seattle last Wednesday, I’ve been experiencing a strong sense of expansion and space. Coming from Israel, a land so dense and over-stressed, I can notice an inner hint of new air, of new opportunities. Must we go so far to renew? We are seeking a process of deep transformation, first within ourselves, and next, hopefully, for the world.

The Washington environment seems to me profoundly abundant; the trees grow so tall, with such grace… Fresh, clean water everywhere…  Vibrant green is the predominant color. Here in the Tracey Levine Center, we have all these beautiful meeting spaces for our activities, meadows for soccer and frisbee…  Here we are enjoying delicious food and comfortable accommodations. All this abundance is, no doubt, a wonderful starting point for the Seattle Kids4Peace camp.

Then add the richness each of us (staff and campers alike) brings, in our bodies, minds and souls. Together we form a unique creation, which expands and evolves each day. As camp enters its 5th day, it seems that our common quest, for peace, is to be reached through the non-conventional means of truth, the human heart, and the faith that unites us as living beings.

Peacemakers! We who choose to see, to keep our hearts open, to not accept the “truths” of the conflict. We choose to remain sensitive in the midst of hardening. We are peacemakers! Boldly saying, “No” to the violence. We who wish to live together. To believe peace in our turbulent land is possible. We resist, by building an alternative of love…

Yet, each of us is bound, by his own borders of perception… So at the Kids4Peace camp we create safe spaces, where we can study and question ourselves and others. As we explore ourselves, so we begin to meet the other more profoundly, more truthfully; without fear. I know myself, I trust myself, and therefore I am willing to listen to you and willingly accept you. I am not  afraid that your story will take my place. You are not my enemy. Hey, you can even be my new best friend!

We collect tools of the heart to help us on our journey to peace. We do this in community, each sharing his perspective and knowledge. In our community, words such as “gentleness”, “feelings”, “compassion” and “trust” do not denote weakness – on the contrary,  they are a sign of inner-power. 11875036_511685965648221_5621357679019118551_oThe true power of the future is the quality of inner-wisdom. And when this rippling power emerges in more and more people, peace will find its way back to our land.

Indeed, all we need is here. We live in such abundance; there is no need for violence. We have all the knowledge and heart we need. Let us have courage to celebrate our differences, and come together to realize a greater union.

(And thank you to Pam Orbach for help editing this post!)

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