“To know who you are is the greatest power of all.” – Sherrilyn Kenyon & Dianna Love
Kids4Peace Boston campers opened the day, faced with a small table covered with various objects: a book with a gold inscription on the cover, a tall wine cup, candles, beads, and many other items commonly found in Muslim, Jewish, and Christian households and places of worship. As they sat in a circle around this table, our Peace Leaders took turns asking their peers what each item meant in their respective faith traditions. One Muslim camper, curiously holding a box of shabbat candles, asked, “Why do Jewish families use so many candles during shabbat?” Many of his Jewish friends raised their hands and took turns sharing their knowledge and perspectives with him. Though our experiences with faith often differ, even, at times, within the same faith tradition, we found that our similarities far outweighed our differences— from religious texts and stories to the very customs we practice at home. Using this activity, Kids4Peace staff introduced our theme for the day: Identity and, more specifically, its importance when we consider making change in the world around us.
At breakfast, Kids4Peace had the chance to give back to our host-camp community through a tradition known as Arlos (in real-world terms, helping do the dishes!). Unlike doing the dishes in the real-world, however, Arlos is an incredibly high-spirited camp tradition that involves working together and, of course, singing and dancing! Following Arlos, we congregated in our three faith communities and continued planning our respective weekly religious services and joined our host-camp for interest groups shortly thereafter.
We revisited our theme of the day, identity, in the afternoon during our Discovery Block. Returning to the beautiful open-air chapel, our Peace Leaders were asked to position themselves in relation to the four directions of a compass represented by signs on the floor. Each direction— north, south, east, and west— represented a leadership style opposite to the one from which it was across. For example, ‘north’ represented a self-assured, take charge personality, whereas south represented a selfless, compassionate personality.
As campers sauntered, taking time to read each of the different leadership types, they situated themselves by the one which they felt best represented their personal leadership style. In these groups, campers were asked to create structures using materials placed in the center of the chapel. Creating, breaking, and recreating, the different ‘directions’ all finished with impressive structures. As learned in the post-activity reflection, the leadership style of each group played a role in how they created their structures. Many campers also expressed that the personality they chose did not fully represent their identities, as they felt that they were a combination of multiple leadership styles. Our Peace Leaders understood that, while difficult, developing a sense of identity by looking inward is imperative for solving problems in the real world.
Our day ended with “Crazy Dinner,” which meant dressing up in goofy outfits and (you guessed it!) more singing and dancing, and a camp-wide variation of a tag-game called Gold Rush. As campers got ready for bed, there was a lingering feeling of camaraderie and joy. In just three days, we have made massive strides in coming together and fostering a community upon a foundation of faith, trust, and identity.
You can see photos from our day here!