At some point, a common thought has crossed the minds of all those who’ve spent a childhood summer at camp: the world would be a little brighter if life were a bit more like summer camp. Some organizations have taken this whimsical fancy to heart and are using summer camp as a vehicle for broader change in the world.
Sports summer camps promote peace and tolerance in the Middle East
Ultimate Peace is an organization that brings Jewish and Arab Israelis and Palestinian kids together to play ultimate frisbee. While many sports camps boast character development in their programs, this one takes sportsmanship to a new level. The sport has no referees to make a call on foul play or boundaries – the kids learn to work their issues out amongst themselves on the field. Rather than discussing their commonalities and differences, they use a common external focus (the game) to come to a point of mutual respect as athletes, competitors, and eventually friends.
The organization hosts a week-long sports camp each year, welcoming about 300 kids from Israel, Palestine, and the United States to play together and gain a new sense of respect for someone they previously viewed as “the Other”. Coupled with year-round coaching and leadership training, this organization is using summer camp to make significant progress in the world of sports and conflict resolution.
Organizations host dialogue-based summer camps for international peace building
Another organization, Seeds of Peace, uses a more direct approach in its conflict transformation summer camp in Maine. As opposed to Ultimate Peace’s action-based approach, Seeds of Peace digs into daily dialogue sessions with campers from all over the world. They discuss challenging aspects of their differences and their competing historical narratives, and ultimately chip away at their inherited prejudices. The summer camp includes religious components and services for those who wish to partake as well as leadership development through creative and athletic forms of expression and critical thinking.
These types of programs led by organizations and religious institutions integrate all of the joys of summer camp with all of the necessary tools to empower tomorrow’s leaders. Start your search for your own journey in shaping the world through the CampPage summer camp directory.