Youth ages 11 to 13 were busy making confetti paper mache bowls, playing games, and making new friends of different ages, ethnicities, and religions. On top of the array of activities, campers learned how to create peaceful changes in our community from several community members, including Elle Crevits of Food Not Waste, Brad Golding of Homelessness Everywhere Lacking Publicity, and Stephen Svenson of Patchwork Community Gardens. Under this year’s theme, Ripple Effect, Peace Campers were educated on how their actions, no matter how small, have the ability to create big impact.
“There are many ways we can help with issues that may seem bigger than us. This experience is meaningful because it seems like what we feel and do matter, and our opinion matters,” said a 13-year-old youth.
Peace Camp, a five-year-old peace education organization, actively builds leaders and peacebuilders in camp and classroom settings, out of the Mennonite Savings and Credit Union Centre for Peace Advancement at Conrad Grebel. Equipped with sponsorship from the Lyle S. Hallman Foundation, Josslin Insurance, Mennonite Credit and Savings Union, and The Kitchener and Waterloo Community Foundation, the camp is able to provide a unique and engaging summer experience for several underprivileged youth.
“Their joy and curiosity is infectious,” says Camp Coordinator, Katie Gingerich. “We spend a short amount of time with them, but we plant seeds of peace and justice. We hope that one day those seeds will bear fruit, creating more peaceful citizens and better communities.”