With everything that is going on in the world right now, with Covid-19, politics, wars, and just day-to-day life, it is hard not to think of all the suffering, violence and stress that accompany these things. So having Learning Peace: A Camp for Kids this year was like a weight being lifted.
I was tremendously excited to help with Peace Camp and to teach the kids and adults Play for Peace games. There were a lot of games that we played throughout the four days, but the most popular ones were blob tag, moon ball, and hula hoops. Blob tag has two people start off being it and then once they tag someone they add to the blog until everyone is tagged. With moonball, participants must bounce the ball in the air without it touching the ground and they count how many times they hit it. Finally, with the hula hoops, participants must hold hands and get each person through the hula hoop without letting go. Each game taught the kids that if they wanted to win then they had to work together and be peaceful to get the result they wanted.
Besides games, the kids went to classes that showed them different ways to be peaceful in the world such as yoga and nature, where they got to practice different yoga poses and plant trees at the park across the street from the Hispanic Cultural Center.
Even though the games and classes are a big part of what makes Peace Camp what it is, the main thing that makes it a wonderful experience is the relationships between the kids and the volunteers. When I was not teaching games, my favorite thing was to go around and talk to all the kids I could and get to know them and what they liked because, if they knew me, it made them more engaged in learning the games and having fun, which makes them want to come back each day and each year.