What is Peacebuilders Camp at Koinonia Farm?
Peacebuilders Camp at Koinonia Farm is a unique summer camp for middle schoolers in rural south Georgia. Koinonia Farm was a critical site during the Civil Rights Movement and continues to inspire social change through its example of community and its innovations in sustainable agriculture. In this setting Peacebuilders Camp welcomes youth from all over to learn, play, live, and serve together for a week at camp.
Peacebuilders Camp harnesses the overnight summer camp experience as an opportunity for growth, learning, and transformation. With the understanding that there is no peace without justice, Peacebuilders Camp at Koinonia Farm teaches youth the basics of human rights as a fundamental grounding for how to act in the world. We foster rich discussions of global issues while tackling the same issues at the local level and consistently applying the concepts to the campers’ own lives. We teach the principles through conversations, games, activities, stories, field trips, and service projects, but we recognize that much of the learning at camp happens organically as a result of our campers’ diversity and their own interest in reaching across lines of difference. Campers experience a taste of Koinonia’s community life through their time with each other and with the residents of the farm.
We focus many of our conversations around the stories of peacebuilders past and present with an emphasis on how different they all are. If campers arrive with a stereotype of what a peacebuilder looks like, we hope to break it before they leave. One way we teach the basics of human rights is through examples of peacebuilders addressing injustices in south Georgia–from the local fair trade coffee roastery to the rural health clinic for migrant farm workers. At the closing ceremony, each camper chooses a goal to work toward in the six months following camp that they believe uses their own gifts to make their community more just.
Peacebuilders Camp at Koinonia Farm is a secular camp run on donations and fueled by the combined efforts of a year round leadership team, seasonal staff, advisory board, the community at Koinonia Farm, youth, parents, people of faith, peace and justice organizations, direct service organizations, and many friends and allies. We strive to build peace through friendship and collaboration among many varied people and groups who believe in the mission of Peacebuilders Camp. Our aim is to live the principles we are teaching our campers by running camp in a way that resists systems of oppression and upholds the rights and dignity of all. We make sure each group of campers is diverse on many levels including urban/rural, background, income level, race and ethnicity, immigrant/refugee status, religion, and the like. Peacebuilders Camp is committed to reaching out to traditionally marginalized communities and making the camp financially feasible for all families.