Thursday, July 23, 2009

SEEDS OF PEACE CAMP 09 working with 'Maine Seeds' ( First week)

Sunday July 19
I got to camp and joined the other staff members in the usual orientation exercise led by co-camp director . There was a presentation on the Maine Seeds program by Tim Wilson. He Pointed out what is happening in Portland and across Maine,which is affecting our young peoples perception of life. The need for Seeds of Peace is so clear in Maine now, than ever before. The night was quite and peaceful after that and I slept through.

Monday July 20:

I went to line up and saw a couple of faces that I had known from the previous year. Every body looked happy as people were showing love by hugging each other. After breakfast I joined others at the infirmary to do a health check. I was given a clean bill of health. Next was the group challenge. This activity really helped me to understand how a climbing exercise can build trust, support, and leadership skills. Of course I had to climb too.
The first group of campers started arriving from Maine; suddenly the whole camp was turned into a party scene. Seeds of Peace have a tradition of welcoming campers that reminds me of my high school days. Staffers play drums, sing, and dance in front of the camp director's house while waiting for the buses to arrive. There is a continued communication between the fleet of buses and camp so we know when they will arrive. The music and drumming is hyped, as they get closer. They are welcomed first by the singing, dancing, smiling faces, and bear hugs. Then Bobbie (co-founder Seeds of Peace) also gives a personal welcome to all. After all the hellos campers are fed and meet with their facilitators and counselors. After the second bus and dinner, I went and played soccer for about an hour , and waited till the last bus arrived. That night I went to bed thinking and wondering why we as humans can’t just co-exist. ( a counselor performing whiles awaiting the arrival of the next bus)

Tuesday July 21:

My Co-facilitator and myself had our first meeting today in preparation for the first sessions of dialogues that are planned for Wednesday. Every one is busy and getting things done in preparation for Wednesday's Flag raising ceremony.. A ritual as old as Seeds of Peace itself.
There was a big all camp Facilitator camper orientation where head of all the Facilitators introduce us (facilitators)to the campers and we in turn spent the next our with them in the ' our home grounds' or the rooms that we will be holding our dialogue sessions.
I met all the Maine Seeds for the first time and i think they are awesome and ready to engage and explore how to make difference and changes in their lives, their Schools, their Communities, cities, State , Country and the world... they are ready to go. On my way to my cabin I can hear the Seeds of Peace band rehearsing for tomorrow's flag raising ceremony

Wednesday July 22

After morning line up and breakfast we all went back to our cabins and bunks to prepare for the flag raising ceremony, which is the ritual to official signal the beginning of the camp session.
Every one at camp line up at the entrance of the camp grounds with beautiful green trees and the pleasant lake as back ground, the press set their cameras and microphones whiles the campers and staff were lined up shoulder to shoulder for support , love and encouragement. The camp director introduced six young people who were previous campers to share their experiences with the current campers from their various Countries and Maine: namely Egypt, Israel ,Jordan , Palestine United States (yes there are Seeds from all over US) and Maine. Each of them led their group to sing their national anthems whiles their flags are being pull. The ceremony was beautiful and very patriotic. finally after a many inspirational speeches the flag of Seeds of Peace was raised and we all matched shoulder to shoulder back into the camp grounds singing the seeds of peace song to begin another memorable journey in search of peace.

We had our first dialogue session from mid- morning until the bell was rang for line up and lunch.After lunch I rested for an hour before joining my fellow facilitators to rehearse for staff talent show night. It was a night when the staff entertains the campers with music, art, sports skits, facilitation skits etc I think there are talents from all walk of life here.
Our second dialogue was after dinner and the campers were as determined as the ones in the morning. we had a good session and went to the talent show. the whole camp was present and the campers were all excited to see us staff on stage. I went to bed waiting for the bell to ring again for another day full of work , fun and thankful to be part of this.

⧏A staff member costumed as 'Troll' .. I told you,Seeds of Peace got Talent..

Thursday July 23
Today is much mellowed, every one is getting into the serious mood and getting things done. We had successful dialogue in the morning and I just came out of our second dialogue session tomorrow is my day off, meaning there is no dialogue until Saturday and I can leave camp tonight and be back by Sat morning. The campers will do all sorts of special activities including swimming , softball, basketball, art and canoeing etc.