Peacebuilders Camp at Koinonia Farm

Are you up to the challenge?

All of Session 1 campers from Peacebuilders Camp 2018 are home, or on their way. Many are probably napping, while others are telling their families of the friends they met, the things they learned, and the new things they experienced during a very full week of camp. While they, like our staff, will appreciate a couple of days of rest and relaxation, we are confident that they are not finished thinking about ways they can change the world. In fact, we believe that in the coming months, we will be hearing great things from many of them about how they are impacting their communities.

To help them focus on how they might put all they learned this week into action, our campers were presented this morning with a list of challenges, based on the human rights we explored this week. Campers chose one to three of these challenges to accomplish in their home communities. We want to share these challenges with you, and we’d love to hear if you, like our campers, accept one or more for yourself. Which of these can you pledge to accomplish in the next few months? Let us know, and we’ll check back in with you and see how you’ve done!

The right to dignity and equality — we challenge you to:

  • Make and effort to always thank workers who are usually not noticed or respected, like janitors, grocery store clerks, and garbage collectors. (One of our campers shared her own family’s practice of noting and honoring the birthdays of their mail carrier and others.)
  • Make it a habit to notice who is being left out of groups or activities, and invite them to join you.
  • Start or join a group at your school that addresses problems of bullying.

The right to a fair wage — we challenge you to:

  • Talk to your family about trying to buy only fair trade chocolate, coffee, clothing, or gifts.
  • Learn about the gender pay gap and call your elected officials to say what you think should be done about it.
  • Find out if there are businesses in your community that hire people with disabilities or people who have been in prison. Write them a letter to thank them.

The right to a nationality — we challenge you to:

  • Learn about the situation in Israel/Palestine so you can explain it to others.
  • Choose a country you don’t know much about and learn to cook food from that country.
  • Get to know someone from another country and find out what they value about their nationality.
  • (One camper suggested celebrating holidays from another country. For those of us not of US American heritage, invite neighbors to celebrate your country’s special days with you!)

The right to food and medical care — we challenge you to :

  • Organize a food drive for a local food pantry.
  • Pack small bags of snacks and hygiene items to give to people who are asking for help.
  • Raise money to send to an organization that provides healthcare in a developing country.

The right to freedom of expression — we challenge you to:

  • Practice a form of expression that is new to you until you become comfortable with it. (Examples: dancing, writing poetry, public speaking, drawing, joining protest marches)
  • Write a letter to your senator, representative, or other elected official about an issue that is important to you.
  • Have a conversation once a week with someone you disagree with and listen to their opinion respectfully
  • (One of our CITs also reminded us that,  for adults, voting is a form of expression and suggested to campers that they could encourage others to vote, or participate in campaigns for candidates whose positions they support.)
Two of our newest Peacebuilder alumni, Giselle and Jay, wait to be picked up from camp. Now the real work of peace building begins!
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