Archives For Peace

Under Pressure

Kids4Peace —  July 2, 2017 — Leave a comment

Contributors: Ada (8th grade, NH), Deklan (7th grade, NH), and Fiona (Counselor, NY). 

As the rehearsals for the musical dramatic event “Peace Child” are in full swing, the campers and staff of Kids4Peace Vermont and New Hampshire’s first year camp are beginning to feel the challenges of memorizing, staging, and mounting a production. Fiona, a Senior Counselor from New York, NY, offers some perspective on the performers and their progress. Putting up a show in six days with six hour long daily rehearsals has her “nervous about their energy” on the day of the performance, for “it’s going to be a big stretch”. Ada, a rising eighth grader from New Hampshire, echoes Fiona, acknowledging that “it’s a lot of work”.

However, while the work can be stressful and exhausting, it is also just as rewarding. Now the campers are working on scenes and character development, helping them to realize the thematic value of this piece. Fiona believes that “they grasp that it’s something about peace and that it means more than other shows they might have seen or been part of”. That appreciation for the play has many of the campers eager to perform.

One in particular is Deklan, a rising seventh grader from Sunapee, NH. Because Deklan is “never one to get anxious or anything” while onstage, he is finding great excitement in his work. Especially in exploring his character, “Character”, in the play. Understanding his role and how Character connects to the other characters and action of the play is making him “feel more confident that [he] is going to enjoy it and have a really good time”.

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Downstage from left to right: Deklan and Mariam

While the play is helping the campers to find meaning and joy for themselves, it is also helping them to connect to others. Ada is finding that the activities they do at camp and rehearsals have helped her to connect “to the [other] kids and enjoy being around almost all of them”. Deklan has also “made friends with kids from K4P through the play”, and has had “fun [meeting] people and [hanging] out”.

But the impending audience incites nerves and excitement. Fiona cannot wait for the kids to have a “really cool experience” with a “whole sea of people all there supporting” the group. And among that sea of people will be familiar faces. Looking forward to “maybe get[ting] to hug them” and maybe “ask[ing] for a picture with them”, Deklan cannot wait to see his family. Surprisingly homesick, this performance is also an opportunity to reconnect to his loved ones and share a beautiful story.

A story that Deklan claims “speaks for itself and … is very persuasive”. Addressing peacemaking and bullying, they hope that they play inspires the audience to go out and lead change in their lives and schools. But do not be alarmed at the portrayal of bullying onstage. Deklan reassures us that “the bullies on stage are just acting”. Don’t let their impeccable acting fool you; the Peace Child “is not hurt, she’s totally okay!” To all planning to witness this event- please sit back, relax, and enjoy the peacemaking.

Brian SullivanBy the Rev. Brian Sullivan, President of Kids4Peace Atlanta.

As I am walking to my car about to leave Kanuga to prepare for the children to arrive in Atlanta, I had a familiar feeling.

I feel aspiration. It is the feeling I get when the actions of others cause me to take action.

Whereas, inspiration makes me think big thoughts, aspiration is a catalyst to make those thoughts a reality.

After 13 years of being involved with Kids4Peace, aspiration is the reason for our continued existence. People from all over the world have aspired to make Kids4Peace a reality.

People like you are what make Kids4Peace possible. You know Kids4Peace is about children coming together to see one another for who they are, not what they are. Kids4Peace makes space for simple questions, to get simple answers, but it also about experiencing the complex meanings behind those answers. What could me more simple than a child asking a new friend at the dinner table, “Why can’t you eat that?” The simple answer is, “because scripture says I can’t eat it.” But at Kids4Peace we are also exploring the more complex meaning, which is “because this makes me who I am.”

In today’s society we like clear answers, and Kids4Peace is giving us those answers along with the complex meanings.

Kids4Peace is a community of Jewish, Christian, and Muslim children. We are from the United States and Palestine/Israel. We love to play soccer, draw pictures, share thoughts, paddle canoes, and hike trails. We are also surrounded with conflict, confusion and sometimes violence.

However, by coming together and respecting the complexity of who we are, Kids4Peace is making peace a daily reality.

Clearly Kids4Peace is an inspiration. But the reason you are reading this has more to do with the fact that you want to be inspired. Whether you are reading this as a leader of your own chapter, volunteer at a camp this summer, or JUST AS IMPORTANT a financial supporter; I hope that you take action to help Kids4Peace remain one of the most aspirational programs many of these children will ever experience.

 

 

Why do American youth love Kids4Peace? Watch and learn from the inspiring peace leaders of Kids4Peace Boston.

My apologies for not updating sooner. This blogger got a bit inundated with other camp responsibilities. But let me take this opportunity to fill you in on the last few days of camp.

On Wednesday, we returned to business as usual at camp. We began the day in dialogue groups. We discussed the way that the north star helps us to find our direction, our goals. In small groups of new friends, each kid thought of one goal for the next year and wrote it on a piece of yellow paper. Then, the kids fit the pieces into the shape of a star. Each person’s goals fit together perfectly. With the help of our friends, we can achieve anything.

During the afternoon, the kids learned about intentional communities. A representative from a kibbutz explained how the kibbutz is organized to reflect the ideology of its members. After her explanation, the kids got to design their own kibbutz…out of ICE CREAM! And then eat it!

In the evening, our group had a pool party with lots of delicious food and fun music.

On Thursday morning, the New Generation campers joined the Roots campers on a trip to learn about environmental stewardship. We learned about compost toilets, rolled seed balls, and made bricks out of mud and straw.

In the afternoon, there was an all camp presentation. The dance and movement group had a recital in front of the whole camp and we enjoyed the premier of Roots’ new song (video forthcoming)!

Be on the look out for videos from the Roots and New Generation groups in the next few days!

WEDNESDAY

DSC00246Opening the Day

DSC00254Our own Big Dipper

DSC00276…and North Star

DSC00275Planning their ice cream community

DSC00274Another Ice Cream Community

DSC00280Barbecue and Pool Party

THURSDAY

DSC00314Recipe for Seed Balls

DSC00318Learning how to make Seed Balls

DSC00317Making Seed Balls

DSC00327…and Mud Bricks

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The Roots Camp Debuted their song with the help from some New Generation Campers

DSC00352And a conga line ensued. 

P1020162Kids4Peace!!

Last night, we learned how to use the starts to find our direction. Today, we learned that, like stars, our friends help us to find direction in our lives. As a result, it is important that we make wise decisions when choosing friends. We learned more about the commonalities between each other through some circle games.

After a short break, we broke out into our cooking and dance groups. The cooking group learned about the traditions of Rosh Hashana and made delicious small honey-apple cakes. The dance group continued to work on their performance for the Thursday morning program and seem to be embracing the challenges.

Then, we hopped on the bus and headed down to Eilat for an afternoon of waters sports! Together, we clung to giant tubs as a motor boat drove us around the Mediterranean Sea. Later, we jumped on a giant, inflatable “banana” with 11 of our friends for another choppy ride on the water. My favorite moment was yelling the Kids4Peace chant at the top of our lungs as we were pulled along by the motor boat. We finished up with kayak rides with the counselors.

Our time in Eilat concluded with dinner and shopping. Groups got to choose how they spent their evening by the beach. Some went to the mall and visited The Gap, while others had fun looking through the outdoor vendors on the boardwalk.

Tonight, the kids enjoyed popcorn and a movie in the outdoor theatre.

Morning Dialogue Sessions

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DSC00188Pictionary word: Mohammad

EILAT: WATERSPORTS

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Relaxing before Water Sports

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Ready to get on the banana!

IMG_1755The Banana!

DSC00233And they’re off!

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IMG_1780Kids and Counselors after the banana ride!

EILAT: SHOPPING AND EATING

IMG_1837Waiting for food at Burgerim

IMG_1853Showing off the food!

 

2013: A Jerusalem Odyssey

A group of youth from Kids4Peace recently spent the afternoon exploring the Old City of Jerusalem as “time-traveling explorers” from the future. The three teams—“The Investigators,” “The Champions,” and “The Christopher Columbus”—spent their time learning about the composition of Jerusalem’s population: Muslims, Jews, and Christians, along with a healthy number of Tourists!

They found that the tourists were the easiest group to identify: they wear hats, colorful shirts, and sunburned noses. They walk around with heavy cameras and large travel books. The groups learned a great deal about these tourists: they come from all over the world and love Jerusalem for its history and beautiful people. The groups met with local storeowners who told them that most tourists are looking for wooden crosses as souvenirs of their time in Israel.

As part of their mission, the teams had to explain the way from the meeting point near Jaffa Gate to: the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Dome of the Rock, and HaKotel. This was a relatively straightforward activity for the Christians and Muslims, who each agreed on one single route to their holy sites. However, when the Jewish kids were asked the way to HaKotel, they pointed in different directions. However, when we tested out their different paths, we found that both were correct!

At the end of the day, kids and parents shared a meal of pizza and stories about their shared experiences of Jerusalem: weddings, bar-mitzvot, Christmas, birthdays, Ramadan. The city is full of wonderful memories for everyone!

The Treasure Hunt!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAworking together to learn more about the Old City

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnother group working together on the treasure hunt

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAoutside the old city walls

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The Awards Ceremony!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe Certificates: Outstanding Explorer and Peace-Maker Certificate

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAwaiting for the ceremony to begin!

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The Pizza Party!

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALearning from each other

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAListening

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThumbs Up!

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Kids4Peace!

So many opportunities to be thankful this Ramadan!

The Kids4Peace family has truly been blessed with abundance this Ramadan season. In preparation for their trip to the USA in August, the Boston group met together for a wonderful Iftar meal. Not only did they join together for a magnificent meal and incredible views of Jerusalem, but also, they had the opportunity to join in conversation and learning about the traditions of Ramadan from two of the youth. As we watched the group come together around a shared table beneath the stars of Jerusalem, we couldn’t help but dream of the peace that these young leaders would bring to their communities.

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Explaining Iftar to the group.

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And stories about Ramadan.

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Yummy food.

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Kids4Peace!

Greetings from Jerusalem, where many in the city are celebrating the holy month of Ramadan. Ramadan is a month of remembering and giving to the poor and hungry.  As part of Kids4Peace’s commitment to learning and understanding our varied spiritual and religious practices, we organized an Iftar dinner for our families. It was a great evening to reconnect and pray together for peace.

We want to take this opportunity to thank the steering committee members for their great support in arranging for this successful event. Thanks to Ibrahim Abu Dalo, Dr. Raouf Azar, Dr. Kholoud Dajani, Rana Khatib, Arie Melamed-Yekel, and Lilach Shelly.

The event helped us raise 2500 NIS for this year’s local camp. We are grateful for the generosity of so many families and friends of the organization who attended or made donations.

Great Food!

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Great Conversation!

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Were you unable to attend but still wanting to contribute? We recently launched an online fundraiser for our local summer camp. Every contribution brings us closer to goal of one, peaceful Jerusalem:  http://www.razoo.com/story/Support-Interfaith-Youth-Summer-Camp.