After months of anticipation, Kids4Peace Boston campers, staff, and families all gathered this morning for the official start of the 2019 Peace Leader Camp! Beaming with excitement, campers and staff kicked off the day in true Kids4Peace fashion— playing games, singing songs, and sharing laughs. As campers introduced themselves to one another, bonds were fostered almost instantaneously; before we even boarded our bus, one returning camper began making plans to come back next summer!
When we arrived at camp, K4PB campers got to meet with the wonderful on-site staff, who gave them an introduction to the culture and expectations of our generous host camp. This began with an orientation to the White Mountain Eating Lodge (or, E-Lo, for short!), in which campers share meals. Among many camp traditions, one that particularly stood out to our campers was ‘ORT’ (an acronym for Our Remaining Tidbits), a system to reduce food waste across camp. Essentially, ORT are leftover food items that cannot be composted. Each meal, the camp strives to yield the least amount of leftover food, or ORT.
Following a delicious lunch in the E-Lo, we jumped right into playing games with our ‘Peace Pods:’ our smaller groups within our larger Kids4Peace community. In these small groups, campers brainstormed their “group-norms” to follow throughout the week. These Peace Pods went on to collaborate with one another during ‘low’ challenges: Challenges that required campers to work together as parts of a whole in order to complete certain tasks. For instance, in the ‘whale-watch’ challenge, a team of fifteen campers needed to balance themselves on a large, wooden see-saw, so as to avoid either end of the board touching the ground. Though certain campers emerged as leaders, the team’s collaborative approach ultimately proved to be successful.
The campers were given time in the afternoon to cool off at the Waterfront— the lake in which campers are able to swim, kayak, and sail— before dinner at the E-Lo. At dinner, our Peace Leaders continued to learn camp traditions through asking questions and observing their peers. Kids4Peace later joined the larger camp community once again at the Opening Fire— the highlight of our first day at camp. Campers sat in an amphitheater-like setting around a large campfire known as the Founder’s fire. Here, we shared “We Can See That Peace is Coming,” a traditional Kids4Peace camp song, with the community, and joined them in the singing of classic camp tunes.
After a jam-packed thirteen hours, we closed the day together in our Peace Pods, reflecting on what it means to build a community and what they hoped for in the days ahead. Our campers have already began to cultivate a sense of leadership, responsibility, and most importantly, belonging at Kids4Peace. We are all so excited to watch them grow as Peace Leaders over the next five days!
You can find our photos from day-one here.