Archives For Summer Camp

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.

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 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!)

DSC_0475

by Leah, K4P Summer Intern

11221555_702556333183765_537692727224051429_oIt was an incredible and action packed first day at Roots Camp! We began the day at the Kids4Peace office at 6:30am. The kids came energetic as ever, hugging all their friends, singing songs, and eager to get down to Kibbutz Ketura. After a three and a half hour bus ride, we arrived.

Nadav, one of our Jewish faith advisors was there to greet us, along with other members of the Ketura staff. Campers filed off the bus, one by one, each with a wider smile than the next one. We were here! And boy, was it hot.

From the bus, we headed straight to the Roots meeting room. There, we recharged with cold water, lemonade, fruit, and coffee cake. We started with an ice breaker because Samer, the new Muslim faith advisor, and I, the Kids4Peace summer intern and camp media manager, had not yet met the kids. We soon went over camp rules, expectations for the week, and what we hope to do at camp this summer.11794520_702557073183691_5203347602640481250_o

After our opening session, we headed to the Kibbutz’s cafeteria for lunch. Each day this week, we will listen to kids from each religion say a prayer before meals. Today was Christian day, so the six Christian campers presented a prayer to the group. Next, we ate. There were lots of options so all the campers found something they liked. After lunch, the campers headed to their first movement session with Shuli, our movement instructor. Shuli will be here with us for the week, leading movement sessions, followed by discussions, for our campers. Reports back from the campers were “really fun!” “interesting!” “cool!” They are excited to see what Shuli has in store for tomorrow.

Later, we moved into our rooms. The girls and boys are split, each with their own suite. Each suite has four bedrooms, with three or four beds per bedroom, a common room, two bathrooms, and a kitchenette. We then headed to the pool to relax and cool off. The kids couldn’t wait to get to the sand dunes.

The dunes was the highlight of our day today. The bus pulled up to an opening in the middle of the vast desert. Once we got off the bus, the campers were each given a sheet of paper with a question on it:11791985_702556336517098_9140927453872220006_o 

How do you feel now, sitting by yourself in the desert?

Loure said: “I feel so thankful to be sitting in this peaceful desert.”

Adan: The view reminded me how beautiful God is and how amazing his creations are.”

Talia: “I feel like I’m part of what’s around me. I can feel the sand, on my feet, in between my toes. Every little sound is magnified. The rustle of the paper, the scratching of my pencil. The wind doesn’t resist me. It acknowledges my presence and bends around my lone figure. I would stay like this for hours.

11223880_702556866517045_1906811591494242401_oWe each shared how we felt, sitting alone in the desert. It was a special time because all the campers were listening to each other, intent on how their peers were feeling. This was a unique experience for us. We connected to the land and most importantly, each other.

To wrap up the night, we had a bonfire next to the dunes. For dinner, we made pita bread by shaping dough and putting it on a huge round pan to bake over the fire. Ketura prepared a huge spread of things to put on our pita breads, including falafel, labneh, hummus, and white and milk chocolate spreads for dessert.

By the time we got back to Ketura, the campers were tired and ready to head to bed. If this is just day one, I can’t wait for tomorrow!

Special THANK YOU to the US Consulate General in Jerusalem for sponsoring this camp for us! 2015-08-09 (1)11794435_702557319850333_4516872084762313894_o

by Bar, Jewish Faith Advisor, Houston Camp

11850747_922733204449971_7011123391240170244_o Today is a beautiful, cool morning with the birds singing, the sun coming out of the trees and the lake begins to shine bright. We have some nice ladies in the kitchen, who welcome us each day with their smiles. Some of the campers dressed nice for Sunday worship.

We went to the outdoor chapel to hear Rev. Dub Brooks preach about the importance of our mission and purpose. He showed us with exercise weights that you need to share your burden because we all have a bunch of weight that we carry. Peace can be a heavy weight, but if we all carry it together it can be a wonderful gift.

Later, each group had their own different activity. With my group, we went to do art with Natalia. We are doing a mural project, and our group got the letter D to design of Kids4Peace. Everyone was making their own design, and at the end we tried to find a way to bring them all together. The combination of all the camper’s designs looks beautiful. We also began to paint it, but we still have a lot to do.

11794296_922733174449974_6042341932211129231_oAfter lunch, we went to the basketball court and everyone got ice cream, candy and a basketball to play with. All the campers were smiling and happy. Afterwards, we all went to archery and then to swim. The campers were really excited, and waited patiently to get into the water. Everyone was surprised to feel how warm the water was. Most of the youth tried all the lake water park options: giant slide, blob, iceberg and canoes and paddleboards. After a nice dinner with lots of fried chicken, we closed out the weekend with a fun country dance.

A new Kids4Peace cheer

merk4p —  August 7, 2015 — Leave a comment

by Jack, Christian Advisor, Jerusalem Peace Builders

11865045_921381674585124_5174237745787187931_o   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?

11141748_921380491251909_6215707509080103438_oThe 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:

11794080_921380384585253_5963426609229845729_o“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…

by Matt Loper, Kids4Peace Boston Director

Soccer before breakfast has become the usual. Everyone has learned where to find the Kosher, Halal, and vegetarian food options. We are all ready for the moment of silence before our meals, and we wait expectantly for the song challenges when camp finishes lunch and dinner.11836725_10153388589886066_5879165978718833164_n

In the mornings we work through interfaith and leadership activities, and in the afternoons we join Camp Merrowvista’s woodworking, boating, swimming, rock-climbing and other activities.

As our camp routine takes hold, our community is growing stronger. We are building on our Discovery activities, to take on bigger topics, and this morning’s Discovery block prompted us to consider the stereotypes we hold of others.

After breakfast, the group made their way to the chapel for a program called “paper bags.” They each received a stack of little papers and a pencil, and entered the room quietly. Each bag had one word written on it, including: “Jew,” “Safety,” “Muslim,” “Mosque,” and “Army.” The staff asked them to walk slowly around the room and write down the first word that they thought of at each bag. They put their papers into the bags and broke into their “peace pod” discussion groups when everyone was finished. As the de-brief slowly started, there was a tension in the air – kids admitting that they didn’t like what they wrote, and others worrying about their new friends’ thoughts.

“Paper bags” held remarkable moments of growth, in the context of a strong community of friends. As the facilitators read what was written in each bag, the kids had a chance to discuss how they felt and how they could work together to overcome stereotyping, conflict, and prejudice.11822822_10153388590251066_6323094357021691123_n

But what makes our camp unique is not simply the way that we foster powerful peace education. What makes camp unique is the way that this work builds deep trust, empathy, and love.

Fast forward to the very end of our day…the annual Kids4Peace Talent Show!!! This year’s Talent Show was a special one. It was a full display of this remarkable community of new friends. Imagine acts as far ranging as Dabke dance, magic tricks, a basketball lesson, a “cup song,” modeling sunglasses, doing back handsprings and just eating an apple. The applause did not just get louder with each act; cheering and laughter filled the show from start to end. Everyone was celebrated for who they are and cheered on to be their very best. There was a palpable feeling of trust and safety in our community…you could get up and share anything you wanted, and you’d receive nothing but support. Now that sounds like the kind of world we all dream of living in!

These young peacemakers are not just learning to wade through rigorous conversations to confront injustice and build understanding. They are doing their work with celebration, joy, and dance.

THE PICTURES MAKE THIS STORY ALL THE MORE POWERFUL – CLICK HERE

11831685_10153388591706066_4551140675189015962_n 11222296_10153388591656066_4793884408679241520_n