Our summer season started in June in Seattle where 30 youth leaders from across the United States met for our first annual Interfaith Youth Summit.
During 24 youth-planned and youth-led sessions, these leaders learned, led, and took action.
We explored the impact of hate speech on our communities
We learned how to effectively use social media as a tool for activism
We deepened our understanding of the role of faith, spirituality, and beliefs in our work as leaders for peace in our communities.
As these youth travel home, they’re already planning their activism projects for the year. We can’t wait to update you on their progress!
I am not _______, I am _________
During the Summit, youth discussed the assumptions that are often made about them, which minimize their voice and their power. They shared the things that they want people to understand about them as youth activists.
“I am not cute, I am concerned.”
“I am not helpless, I am angry.”
“I am not loud, I am open about my feelings.”
“I am not cute, I am powerful.”
“I am not wrong, I am saying something you don’t want to hear.”
“I am not an overthinker, I am concerned about the future.”
“I live the conflict. I’ve been a part of ‘one side’ of the conflict for my entire life. When I heard of K4P, I got excited because I knew I would get the opportunity to learn more about ‘the other side.’ “
Evyatar – Jewish Israeli Participant, 9th grade
Growing up, everyone around me believed what they heard on the news, which can be really biased, so I wanted to learn about ‘the other side’ for myself. I wanted to see what ‘they’ thought and what ‘they’ heard on ‘their’ news about my community.
That’s why I joined K4P. After joining, I learned a more nuanced view of ‘the other side,’ and it wasn’t ‘the other side’ to me anymore. Because of the Palestinian friends I’ve made through K4P, I don’t see it as an ‘us against them’ thing anymore. It’s more of a ‘how to live together’ thing now.
K4P has been incredible for me. The topics we learn about and discuss during the educational programs and the fun activities we do in our free time have both been amazing experiences. It’s really special that we can talk about hard topics like the Oslo Accords or our religious differences; we can be such close friends and respect one another deeply even if we have different opinions and beliefs. I can’t wait to come back next year as a counselor.
There is so much we can learn from each other. Every year, we learn about each religion, but every year, I feel like there is still so much to learn. It was so, so special to me to see my friends talk about their faiths, and it was incredible when I got to share Kabbalat Shabbat with them at camp and when we all danced and sang together. It was beautiful.
One of my favorite moments from camp was when we talked about the conflict during our education sessions. We discussed history, Oslo, and our thoughts. Then we pretended to rewrite Oslo the way that we thought it should be written to solve the conflict. Everything we wrote is what we would want in an ideal world; it’s far from reality because not all Israelis agree with what I think, and not all Palestinians may think the way my Palestinian friends do.
But I think that’s the beauty of K4P. It’s allowed us to open our eyes and see beyond the headlines in the news, and see our friends as who they are: human beings.
For me, ‘peace’ isn’t us kids solving the conflict in one night. Peace is every time we laugh at a joke together, every friendship we make, every deep, vulnerable conversation we have. Peace is me, a Jewish person, learning about my Muslim friends’ faiths and prayers; it’s me observing and respecting their rituals during the Jumma prayer we experienced, just like how they respected and participated in Kabbalat Shabbat with me.
That’s what K4P is about. That’s peace.
120 Israeli & Palestinian youth came together for an intense week of interfaith dialogue, skill building and forming friendships that will create the foundation of peace.
Peace begins with small steps. And for Evyatar, that happened at this summer’s K4P Jerusalem Camp.
“I live the conflict. I’ve been a part of ‘one side’ of the conflict for my entire life. But when I heard of K4P, I got excited because I would finally get the opportunity to learn more about ‘the other side.”
At camp, Evyatar and 120 other Israeli & Palestinian youth had that opportunity to understand each other’s lives, discuss the issues that divide them, and form the friendships that will create the foundation of peace.
This Kids4Peace Camp is one of the largest interfaith youth programs in the region. As racism, hatred, and demonization of ‘the other’ are growing, Kids4Peace is creating a more powerful movement based on respect, trust, and a commitment to build a more just and peaceful world.
And that starts with the courage to cross divides and meet people who are different – especially those you’ve been taught to hate and fear.
“I learned a much more nuanced view of ‘the other side,’” Evyatar said after camp. “And it wasn’t ‘the other side’ to me anymore. Because of all the Palestinian friends I’ve made through K4P, I don’t see it as a ‘us against them’ thing anymore. It’s more of a ‘how to live together’ thing now.”
Special thanks to Children of Peace and 100+ individual donors for supporting this year’s camp.