Conrad Grebel University College at the University of Waterloo is introducing a new summer camp that combines fun in the sun with a social justice twist. The first-ever Peace Camp is aimed at youths aged 11 to14.
The purpose of the camp is to spend five days helping young people understand how to practically make a difference in their communities.
Each day the camp will provide two guest speakers to come and interact with the students by using drama, arts, crafts and music. The guest speakers will share a little about what they are doing to make a difference in the world.
The speakers range from young people involved in the community to actors, mediators, a holocaust survivor and number of artists, all will be talking to the students about the causes they are involved in, the skills that the students need to approach different action projects and how to engage with the world.
“It is really just about connecting the kids to different parts of the community and understanding that peace can be approached in many different ways,” said Devon Spier, Peace Camp coordinator.
Spiers admits they are not going to save the world in five days, but the camp is an opportunity for students to connect with people and organizations outside their everyday lives.
“The possibilities for peace are endless when youth have a stake in the future of their world; indeed, childlike qualities such as creativity, understanding, and sharing are the cornerstones of what humans need to get along and live amicably with each other.”
Spier and her staff will work with the students to engage in collaborative peace games while exploring issues affecting communities around the world. The camp’s goal is to bringing together a diversity of youth to learn strategies for justice and peace through recreation programming.
“We are hoping to draw some connections and help youth realize that they have a part to play whether they want to be a scientist or a volunteer overseas or work in their faith community, it’s about building relationships,” she said.
The camp will not be holding lectures in the classic school formula. Guest speakers will be very interactive with the students and will participate in recreational games.
“We are using typical recreation, like volleyball, basketball and Frisbee, and are changing the games a bit to teach youth about what it says about conflict and how we interact with each other,” said Spiers.
The summer session of Peace Camp runs Aug. 8-12. Full-day (9 a.m. to 4 p.m.) and half-day (9 a.m. to noon) options are available. Anyone interested may apply at www.grebel.uwaterloo.ca/peacecamp.