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Today’s activities were soothing for both the soul and the environment.

The seventh graders started off the day with a relaxing bike ride through Kibbutz Ketura and the nearby date fields.

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After pool time, the kids geared up for a field trip to Lotan, a nearby eco-kibbutz. Their tour guide, Mark taught the kids that the prefix “eco” comes from the ancient Greek word “oikos,” which means home. The idea of eco-projects are to take care of not only our individual family homes, but also the earth, the home we all share.

Mark demonstrated the way the kibbutz does a lot with a little and uses recycled materials to build houses and structures around the village. The youth learned how to make rich soil through composting and ethanol gas with the use of old kitchen scraps. They built their own mud walls using the ancient technology of arches and crafted seed balls to plant in the ground. DSC_0316.JPG

With the guidance of Avi from Kibbutz Ketura, the sixth graders hiked into the vast, deep desert for their dinner. They roasted pita and marshmallows over an open fire and adorned these masterpieces with falafel and salad, or nutella for dessert. The kids sprawled across a large tapestry, eating by lantern light under the wide-open sky. Mars, Venus, and Saturn could be seen among the millions of twinkling stars. Quds, Sema, and Siba graced us with their beautiful voices and sang sweet serenades to the group as we said our final goodbyes to the desert.

Screen Shot 2018-08-16 at 1.31.56 PM.pngWhen we arrived back at camp, we had a spontaneous dance party! They boogied the night away and put off going to bed as long as possible. It was the perfect happy ending to a perfectly wonderful day.

Special thank you to USAID West Bank/Gaza for making it all possible.

 

And we are off!! What a day it has been! Despite the the drastic change in climate and environment the campers are adjusting well and excited to be learning and playing together. To ensure they stay hydrated in the heat, we play fun drinking games (with water!).  Pathways Summer Seminar is part of our Interfaith Jerusalem project, funded by USAID West Bank/Gaza, which fosters youth leadership and civic involvement, celebrates the religious diversity of Jerusalem, and engages 288 youth and their parents from critical neighborhoods to support a pro-peace agenda in their communities.

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The kids were divided into small, intimate groups of seven to eight, with which they will meet twice a day throughout the week. They shared personal stories and funny anecdotes to break the ice and form bonds. They learned that this circle will be a safe space for them to come with questions or concerns for the rest of the week. Together, these teams will plan special projects or performances to present to the rest of the camp.
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A highlight of the day was the Ketura tour during which the youth learned about kibbutz life and the way Kibbutz Ketura functions and sustains itself. During the tour, the guide showed the kids a beautiful olive tree that grows from a 2,000 year-old date seed.

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The culture and atmosphere of a kibbutz is a new experience for many of our campers. “This is my first time on a kibbutz. I’d never even heard of a kibbutz before this,” said Gowan, one of spirited 6th grade campers.

Later after dinner, the kids cracked codes and solved puzzles, leading them around the kibbutz in search of hidden treasure and then retired to their dorms for more bonding and a good night’s sleep.
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by Leah, K4P Summer Intern

  11864890_704135219692543_7241628479877859214_o 11872022_704135076359224_8688489099147585843_oThe theme of the day was learning about how to “go green”. We spent the morning at Kibbutz Lotan, a small Kibbutz that is just down the road from Ketura. There, we went on a tour of their eco campus where we learned all about composting and reusing our resources. A highlight of our visit was making bricks out of mud and hay.

The kids learned about how we can use the earth and the resources around us in order to build homes and other buildings. At Kibbutz Lotan (almost, if not all of,) their homes are made out of the same material (clay and hay) that we created. In making these clay bricks, the campers got their hands dirty and mixed sand, clay, and water together. Then they shaped the mixture into bricks and put them out in the sun to dry. After, they took already dry bricks and built bridges out of them.

The bridges they built were strong enough to bear their weight so they had a lot of fun walking around on the bridges and testing their new creations’ limits. It was amazing to see how well the kids work together in a team when they are working toward a common goal. After mud building, the kids completed their tour by getting to see the homes made of clay and seeing what an ecological bathroom and kitchen looks like. We finished off our time at Lotan with lunch there, and the campers got to experience composting their own food scraps for themselves.

11882313_704135596359172_1550955720072931400_oOn the way back to Ketura, we took a detour and went to Yotvata, Israel’s dairy capital. The kids loved buying their favorite dairy products there and trying the delicious ice cream. Once we got back, the kids listened to a presentation about the Arava Institute that is hosted here, at Ketura. Learning about the institute really helped them round out their eco experience. Later, they had their movement session with Shuli.11856301_704135749692490_8064042934508902601_o

For the last night here, we had a barbecue and pool party. The kids loved swimming, dancing, and bonding. We are sad to leave but excited to see what Kids4Peace brings us in the future. The campers can’t wait for Leadership!

A very special thank you to the US Consulate General in Jerusalem for making Roots Camp at Ketura possible! The campers are so thankful for their experience this summer.