Have you ever been in a place, space or community where you have been encouraged to try something new? Have you been challenged to take risks and leap out of your comfort zone? Have you tasted the confidence that comes with mastering new skills?
At summer camp, youth often have the opportunity to take these risks in the form of tackling a high ropes course, canoeing for the first time or performing in a talent show. These experiences are transformative and life-long confidence builders.
At Peace Camp, jumping out of your comfort zone looks a bit different. It’s practising a new conflict-resolution strategy and learning how to advocate for an issue you’re passionate about. It’s having a dialogue with someone who has different experiences, and learning that together we can make a difference.
Peace Camp is a week-long day camp for youth who have finished grades 6 to 8. In 2018 it’s held at Conrad Grebel University College in Waterloo, Ont., from July 30 to Aug. 3. The camp is designed to inspire campers to volunteer in their communities, and they learn from local peacebuilders who have found innovative ways to make a difference. Through crafts, games, guest speakers and field trips, Peace Camp is a week filled with activities and discussions to equip young people with the skills to create peaceful change in their schools, homes and friendships.
Whether learning from a local peace advocate or playing a justice-themed game, Peace campers explore how they can create peace. One previous camper commented, “I learned that lots of people create peace, and that inspired me to volunteer somewhere next year.”
Campers share that their time at Peace Camp shows them how they can take steps toward change. Another camper reflected, “I learned that you can do small things to be peaceful, even though we usually think about the big things.”
This year’s superhero theme will invite campers to discover their own peace super powers and learn how they can use them to build peace locally and globally.
Katie Gingerich is director of The Ripple Effect Education (TREE) and Conrad Grebel University College’s Peace Camp.
To learn more about Peace Camp, or to register, visit uwaterloo.ca/grebel/peace-camp.
Johnny Wideman of Theatre of the Beat shares his peacebuilding wisdom with campers at Conrad Grebel University College's Peace Camp. Peace Camp is a day camp and peace educational program for youth aged 11 to 14 in Waterloo Region. Campers learn that peace is possible as they share stories and learn from people in the community and meet people from various cultural backgrounds, faiths, and orientations. (Peace Camp photo)