Peace Leader Camp 2017 – Day 7, Saturday, August 12

We spent our last full day together reflecting on how we have grown at camp, both individually and as a community, how we want to continue to grow after we return home, as well as what we are taking home as peace leaders. When you meet a K4P camper, ask them about their “stones” (ways they have grown at camp) and their “sticks” (ways they want to continue growing after they return home).

This week, we had so much fun swimming and boating, playing capture the flag and many different sports, hanging out with new friends, enjoying the beautiful surroundings of camp, singing at meals, trying new activities, laughing with our counselors and counselors-in-training and more. At the same time, we learned about the 3 Abrahamic faiths and about what it means and feels like to be effective peace leaders. We explored how to form a community, take risks, expand our awareness, build trust, see different perspectives, work for justice and grow as individuals and as a group. To help us remember the impact of our week together, today we created lanterns to take home so we can continue to “shine our light” as peace builders with others. We ended our day, taking turns speaking around a camp fire with our K4P community and then sharing our thoughts during the camp-wide evening reflection. We look forward to sharing with our families tomorrow at the Celebration of Learning!

You can see some photos from our day here.

Peace Leader Camp 2017 – Day 6, Friday, August 11

Wow – what an amazing day of sharing, learning, and fun! In between swimming, boating, sports, an egg drop team challenge and more, we expanded our knowledge about Islam and Judaism by observing Muslim Friday (Jumu’ah) prayers and some Jewish Sabbath (Shabbat) prayers. We had the incredible opportunity to respectfully watch our Muslim campers and counselors during Jumu’ah prayers which was held a long side a waterfall in the woods near camp. It was an amazing setting (although the stream was quite low) in which to see our friends pray, and then have a chance to ask them questions. The Muslim campers and counselors explained all the steps as they prepared for prayer as well as what they did and said during the prayers. We also had the chance to learn more about Judaism. In the morning, we all baked challah, the bread eaten on Sabbath. We each made our own challah (with special additions of chocolate chips, raisins, cinnamon and oreos!) which we enjoyed during Shabbat dinner later that night. After showering and putting on clean clothes, we got in the spirit by listening to one of our campers play a Shabbat song on his violin! Then our Jewish campers welcomed Shabbat by doing the blessings over the candles, wine, handwashing, and challah. They answered questions from campers as we ate a delicious meal of chicken, rice, vegetables and chocolate cake, which was specially prepared for Kids4Peace and which we enjoyed together as a group, rather than in the dining hall with the rest of camp. Our day ended with the Kids4Peace Camper and Staff talent show. From card tricks, singing, dancing, motivational speaking, joke-telling and other hilarity, this was an event not to be missed! Tomorrow is our last full day of camp – which is hard to believe.

Check out some photos from the day HERE!

Peace Leader Camp 2017 – Day 5, Thursday, August 10

Perspective….How and why do people see actions and understands words differently? How do different perspectives impact a community and impact us as peace leaders? How do we learn about and challenge our assumptions? These are some of the questions K4PB campers grappled with during activities today. We even got to see camp from a new perspective as we canoed across the lake to have lunch in the woods along the shore and complete a team challenge focused on building group communication skills while exploring the concept of perspective. During the evening activity, “association nation”, campers reflected personally and with the group about their responses to key words – Muslim, Race, Faith, Jewish, Refugee, Peace, Christian, Gender, Home and more. Campers were challenged to listen to the perspectives of others and allow everyone’s voices to be heard.

As we head into our last 3 days of camp, we are all making the most out of every moment – singing in the dining hall, celebrating another camper’s birthday, finishing our interest groups, swimming and boating, and enjoying our new friends!

Don’t forget to look here for some pictures from our day!

Peace Leader Camp 2017 – Day 4, Wednesday, August 9, 2017

The days are flying by at camp! Today was a really busy, activity-packed, and meaningful day! We continued to have so much fun while also achieving our camp goals:

  • to build trust,
  • to foster new friendships,
  • to encourage empathy,
  • to establish a community,
  • to learn about the different religions,
  • and to share and feel confident in our individual story and identity.

During a trust walk and raft building activity we continued to build our community by strengthening our trust, both in ourselves and in the other members of our group.  Campers paired off and took turns wearing a blindfold and using their communication skills to guide each other on the walk down to the waterfront. All arrived without a scratch and experienced the challenges of depending on others for help and using detailed communication skills to give support and guidance. Upon arrival at the lake, the pairs (with one still blindfolded) were divided into larger groups and presented with raft building supplies – canoes, wood, and ropes. As a group, they had to work together to build Noah’s Ark which is part of all 3 Abrahamic traditions. This sounds easy…except that those without the blindfolds were not allowed to touch the materials! They had to guide those who had their eyes covered, telling them where and how to build a raft. As you might imagine, the groups had to overcome many challenges to achieve its goal. After a lot of hard work, communication, and of course some frustration, both groups took their rafts out for a successful test ride!

Make sure you CLICK HERE to see pictures of our campers on their “arks” in the lake, as well pictures of interest groups, a 50s themed dinner, an energizing game of capture the flag led by our Counselors-in-Training, and our camp fire!

Peace Leader Camp 2017 – Day 3, Tuesday, August 8

Today, campers became more aware of each other’s faiths, of the “recipe” to become successful peace builders, and how to be our best selves as part of our community. Campers opened the day by asking questions and sharing their knowledge about the 3 Abrahamic faiths. All were presented with a selection of objects associated with each faith and discussed the significance of some of the selected items (including many similarities), learning about Muslim prayer beads, rosary beads, a mezzuzah and more. After sharing their voices, campers experienced the challenge of not being heard during a silent breakfast. Somehow, without saying a word, everyone still helped each other fill their plates with waffles!

During the morning, campers started their selected “interest groups” along with the rest of the campers from our host camp. From archery, to yoga, basketball, arguing for fun, kayaking, improv, soccer, friendship bracelets and paddle boarding, all were a great way to meet new friends and have fun. Energized from these activities, we dove into the topic of the tools we need to become peace builders and how we can support each other in this important role. Check out the great photos in the link below – drawings of what peace builders look like and skits of our “commercials for peace”. Luckily, the sudden down pour of rain stopped and the sun came out in time for us to enjoy the lake. K4PB campers love to kayak, paddle board, canoe, and swim!

There is no question that campers “awareness” grew throughout the day as they took initiative during activities, shared their thoughts during discussions, helped clean-up after meals, resolved conflicts through compromise, and continued to try and learn new things. To end this amazing day of peace building, we celebrated by singing “We Can See That Peace Is Coming” in English, Arabic, and Hebrew during a full camp gathering!



Peace Leader Camp 2017 – Day 2, Monday, August 7, 2017

Today, the first full day of K4PB camp started with “Go-getters” – an active way to begin the day! Everyone had the option of participating in touch football, joining a group skipping around camp, or playing volleyball. What a great way to wake-up and begin a day filled with sunshine and a blue sky. Throughout the day, we encouraged campers to try new things, take on some challenges and figure out the best way to support others as they took risks as well.  Campers discussed the importance of challenging themselves by taking risks and the kind of help they needed to feel supported. Then, during the day, they really tried to step out of their comfort zone whether it was on the rock wall or other elements in the climbing course, through team challenge activities, or in the lake. Everyone pushed themselves to the best of their ability and encouraged their friends to do the same. By expanding their comfort zones, campers learned more about themselves and each other. Not only did they learn to work together during team challenges, but they also supported each other while overcoming solo challenges – key parts of building any successful community! We ended our day with a lively game of charades (also a challenge!) and then a chance to reflect on our first full day together as a community. We can’t wait to take on the challenges that await us tomorrow!



Peace Leader Camp 2017 – Day 1, Sunday, August 6, 2017

A new year of Kids4Peace Boston Peace Leader Camp has begun! Our week kicked off with a beautiful, sunny day. The fun started on a bus ride full of songs and laughter. Once we arrived at camp, both new and old campers got to know each other and the staff through icebreaker games. Campers then split into their groups or “peace pods”, led by experienced Counselors-in-Training and Counselors. Together they discussed rules, the camp routine, and what it means to be a part of a Kids4Peace community. During swim tests campers showed courage and support for each other. (The lake is beautiful and the water felt great!) After swimming, we regrouped for our first meal in the dining hall which was energetic, filled with song, laughter, and a special birthday song for one of our campers. After a delicious meal campers split up and played basketball, volleyball, ga-ga, and soccer and enjoyed a beautiful evening surrounded by the mountains. Shortly after we began our evening activity – an epic battle of brannboll (a “baseball-like” game with crazy rules!). After a long fun-filled day, K4PB campers closed the day satisfied but still excited for what tomorrow has in store.


Peace Leader Camp – Day 7 – August 6th

Today we spent time closing our week together, thinking about what we want to take from our week growing as peace leaders back into our home communities.

We began our day with extra special Kids4Peace-only interest groups – led by our wonderful Counselors-in-Training! The CITs taught us how to become ninja masters, brush up on our handball skills, and Zumba around the world, just to name a few.

After lunch we spent some time relaxing together and being silly around our lodge, enjoying the last day together as a group. It was a hot one, so we were super glad to head down to the waterfront for a bit! We were able to go boating again today, one of our favorite activities!

Once we were all cooled off, we set off on a scavenger hunt throughout camp to search for the values we are going to take home with us. We were led to the smoothie bike, arts & crafts lodge, garden, activity center, everywhere! We then spent some time sharing with our Peace Pods what values are most important to us and what they mean to us individually. A lot of people discussed taking the values: healthy risks, perspective, empathy, creative solutions, and tolerance home with them.

We then spent some time preparing for the Celebration of Learning tomorrow. We are so excited to see you all and share how we have learned and grown this week with you!

To close our day, we came together around a campfire. Our Jewish friends lit the havdalah candle, signifying the end of Shabbat. We had some time for more questions before we moved into our closing festivities.

Our campfire was brought in via torches on canoe, thanks to our wonderful cooks! We shared what being a peace leader means to us, and lit the candles of those around us. The closing campfire was a reflective time for us all to come together and think about what we have learned and where we are going.

We are excited to see our families tomorrow at the Celebration of Learning and share even more about our wonderful week!

 To see the pictures from today, click here.

K4PB Camp 2016 – Day 6 – August 5

Today we were glad to all come together again after our grand adventures yesterday! We traded tales of our hikes, camping out, and making s’mores. Today began the weekend of sharing our traditional weekly faith practices together.

After settling back in at camp, we made challah together in preparation for Shabbat dinner. The campers enjoyed braiding their bread, learning about the tradition behind challah, and decorating their breads with cinnamon sugar, chocolate chips, and raisins! It was fun to play with our food!

We enjoyed a delicious lunch in the eating lodge with an especially long round of song challenges. We are doing a great job learning the camp songs and sing them passionately!

After lunch, we watched our Muslim friends make wudu and pray Jum’ah. It was a quiet time to pray for those of us who are Muslim and a quiet respectful time to observe for those of us who are not. Afterwards, we spent time asking questions and learning bout one another’s tradition.

We cooled off in the lake with a rousing game of water volleyball and some swimming to break up our afternoon. Our competitive sides really came out!

Once we cooled off, we shifted gears and spent some time returning to the ideas that we have worked so hard on all week. We participated in an activity where we were each given a new identity, faced with difficult circumstances and situations. We discussed the ways we could step into action in response to these circumstances, as the person with the identity or as a bystander. We thought about the needs we see most clearly in our communities, and the ways that our voices can be heard best.

Before dinner, our Jewish friends lit the Shabbat candles and did the Kiddush, while we respectively observed. Over a delicious Shabbat meal we asked questions and learned about our Jewish friends’ practices.

After dinner we had a ton of fun sharing our talents with our Kids4Peace community during our talent show. With a Hamilton rap, a motivational positive speech, magic tricks, Hebrew tongue twisters, soybutter and jelly silly hands, gymnastic tricks, and telekinesis, we were laughing the whole time!

We are all excited to head to bed early tonight after our long day today, and are looking forward to our special Kids4Peace interest groups tomorrow!

To see more of the fun we had, view the pictures from today here!

K4PB Camp 2016 – Day 5 – August 4

As always, we’ve packed our day full with the sort of playful, silly, and joyful activities that make a camp day oh so sweet! In fact, today was one of the highlights of camp…our hike! You won’t believe how amazing the views are from the top of the mountain, but our sore legs sure are a testament to the heights we climbed! Check out photos from the hike and more at this link:

Day 5 Photos – Click Here

But one of the things that makes Kids4Peace so special is that while we’re pushing ourselves to climb mountains and form new friendships, we’re also constantly focused on what it means to be peaceful and what it takes to make the world more peaceful. Recently we had the opportunity to share our thoughts with the other campers at Merrowvista. Here’s a blog update from Merrowvista’s website that describes the experience from their perspective (see the original at this link here):


On Sunday, Merrowvista welcomed Kids4Peace campers to our community. Kids4Peace brings Muslim, Jewish and Christian young people together for a week of interfaith dialogue with the goal of building understanding and respect. From this foundation, they leave camp with skills and goals to be a Peacemaker in their communities.

These Peacemakers in training join the larger camp community for meals and for two interest groups a day. Last night, they led an Evening Reflection on the concept of peace. They shared their thoughts on what peace is and why peace is important.

Some young people referenced how things they heard on the news made them feel, both as a person of a specific faith group but also as a peacemaker wanting equality for all people. Some quietly shared their vision for peace in our world, and others spoke passionately about their desire to create change and inviting all the campers and staff to stand against prejudice and stereotypes.

They spoke from the heart, and with honesty.

Peace … can be achieved if people will listen to everyone’s opinions. The key is to have discussions rather than arguments.”

“Peace allows people to be who they are. Peace to me means hope and a connection to your inner self.”

“Peace to me means equality, everybody and every single stereotype being together. Peace is important because with it, everybody can be equal.”

“I think some people should have more positive actions and words. Sometimes people talk about how bad Muslims are when that is really a stereotype. I’m Muslim and some people in this wonderful camp are Muslim too. We should just take time to understand who Muslims really are.”

“Peace is important because it gives each religion the respect and equality it needs.”

Peace needs:    Honor and Trust, Diversity, Making Friends, Love, and to get rid of Stereotypes and Racism.

“Peace means everyone getting along and feeling safe anywhere they go and not having to change themselves for safety and happiness.”

The evening ended with a few minutes of quiet where campers were invited to reflect on a few questions – what peace means to them, why they think it is important, and what they think we need to do to be peacemakers.  Great questions for us all to consider!

One of the most wondrous parts of living at Merrowvista each summer is that it is a community created and cared for by our campers. Our staff facilitates and guides, but the power of this community is that what is created is theirs – the campers’!  We begin each day with their thoughts on topics important to them, and often end our days with their voices. Their own, best selves bring the values to life. It is hard work, but filled with learning. Listening to the Peacemakers share last night, and watching our campers listen thoughtfully and respectfully, brings such hope for the future! If only all adults had the chance to really hear what these wise campers have to say.

Peace ~ Salaam ~ Shalom

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