By Jen Konkle, Conrad Grebel University College
This spring, Waterloo Region elementary school students will be discovering something normal and radical all at once: peace and justice. Peace Camp, a peace education organization at Conrad Grebel University College, will facilitate peace-building and conflict resolution workshops with elementary school students for the third consecutive year. School participation numbers have increased each year, and in May and June alone, 121 classrooms will participate in Peace Camp workshops.
Striving to work within the learning objectives of the Ontario curriculum, the workshops encourage students to engage in nonviolent conflict resolution and social justice awareness. “Conflict is normal,” said Peace Camp Coordinator, Katie Gingerich. “Every day we encounter some kind of structural or interpersonal conflict. It’s important to learn how to manage these situations peacefully because we’re inevitably going to experience them. Tangible peace-building skills are the crux of our activities for students.”
In 2014, Peace Camp visited 60 classrooms, where educators believed the lessons made a difference in the lives of their students. One educator said, “I was impressed by the depth of thinking that the facilitators were able to draw out of the younger students. Students felt that it was a highlight of the week and connected with our class meetings.” Another educator said, “Thanks for offering this great program - so good for the students to experience a different perspective!”
In addition to educational workshops, the Peace Camp summer day program will run from August 10-14, 2015 at Conrad Grebel University College for children ages 11 to 14. It is led by students in the College’s Peace and Conflict Studies program.
Peace Camp is a peace education organization in its fifth year of operation as an initiative of the Mennonite Savings and Credit Union Centre for Peace Advancement, a hub of peace research and practice in Waterloo at Conrad Grebel University College. Whether in elementary school classroom workshops, or a week-long summer day camp, Peace Camp works to equip Waterloo Region’s youth with practical peace building skills. At Peace Camp, youth share stories, learn from organizations and individuals working for peace in our community, meet people from various cultural backgrounds, faiths and orientations, and ultimately, learn that peace is possible.
Registration is now open for the 2015 camp and subsidies are available through a grant from the Kitchener Waterloo Community Foundation.
Peace Camp at Conrad Grebel University College, University of Waterloo.
Inspiring Lives. Strengthening Ties. Making Peace Happen in Waterloo Region.
Katie Gingerich – Peace Camp Coordinator
MSCU Centre for Peace Advancement
Conrad Grebel University College
140 Westmount Road North
Waterloo, Ont. N2L 3G6