Heather and I had a wonderful week in Media Literacy with your kids last week. Together we learned ways to be wise and mindful around all the advertisements that surround us. Experts estimate that the average young person in America is exposed to 2000-5000 advertisements each day. Most advertisers hope to succeed by making us feel that our lives are not yet good enough--we need another product to make us feel complete. Our hope was to give each Peace Village camper an age-appropriate tool for making sense of the advertisements each day brings. Here are the skills we taught; we encourage you to continue these conversations at home.
For the 6-7 year-olds we focused on being able to tell the difference between wants and needs. We played games to practice this skill, and each camper brought home a Wants/Needs necklace to help them think about ads they see: is this product a want or a need?
For the 8-11 year-olds we deconstructed advertisements. We learned to think about ads as stories that advertisers tell. We asked these questions:
For the 12-13 year-olds we focused on body image and values: our values vs. the values in advertisements. We brainstormed the qualities we like to see in the men and women in our lives (parents, teachers, our future selves, our future spouses, aunts/uncles). Then we looked at images of men and women in ads. We compared the qualities we saw there with our own list. Hmmm. We saw some big differences in the two lists. Each camper went home with a Message in a Bottle amulet that contains a list of the values campers want to keep closest to their hearts.
Here are some links that you may find helpful as you continue talking with your kids about ads.
Here's a short, powerful video from Dove's Campaign for Real Beauty
Kids (and adults) love to see this. A great conversation starter.
Here's a fun site for kids from PBS about truth in advertising
Here are a few more helpful sites to browse through:
Common Sense Media
Thanks so much for sharing your children with us last week. They are beautiful people! Debra Pennington-Davis
THURSDAY IS UNDERWAY! Even my seven year old bats are becoming accustomed to the schedule, and remain excited for the new activities each day. This week has been both crazy and fun with most of the time spent in the latter. The kid's favorite activity so far has been theater with the always energetic Nicole, where we learned how to tell stories of happiness, peace, helpfulness, community and many others with no words and just their bodies. They also loved working with paper pulp, clay, and water to make seed balls. This is where you take a pea seed and wrap it in the pulp mixture to make a ball that the seed can grow through, without the birds being able to smell it. Those are to be gifted to the community gardens, as well as trellises for the peas to grow on. While there are many hands on activities, as a few previous counselors mentioned, there are a few where you sit and have discussions. While it is difficult for my young bats to dig too deep into it, they certainly understand things like ads and the role media plays in society telling us we need things that we do not, and that peace starts with us. Overall between those aforementioned core activities and being able to choose their own activities during village fair, this week has left both the campers and counselors more peaceful, and perhaps a bit more tired, individuals.
-Bats Counselor Chris aka The minivan of piggy back rides
What a great camp!! I am enjoying my position as a counselor of the 13 year old Eagles so much. Each morning on the way to Peace Village I've been excited thinking about what classes and activities our group will be participating in during the day. I'm sure the campers feel all the more excited. The activities we get to enjoy throughout the day are so enriching. The classes are fun, uplifting and do a great job of encouraging us to think more profoundly about our role in contributing to peace.
I am seeing so much love and kindness coming from these campers. There is a lot of light in theirO eyes. This camp gives me faith that our world is in good hands.
You are invited to our closing ceremony on Friday from 2:30 to 3:30 in the Mosier school gym.
During the day on Friday, until just after close of camp at 3:30 we will also be running a silent auction.
Come bid and buy donated items of all sorts, many items made during camp.
Why are we still fundraising?
We have just a bit more to go to meet our basic budget for camp this year.
Where does the money go?
Our biggest budget items are not items, but people.
#1 budget category is Counselor Stipends-- we offer stipends to 2/3rds of our counseling staff. It's not a lot of money for the amount of work and heart given by our wonderful young leaders, but it's important.
Why? Some of our Counselors have returned for 6 years now, taking vacation from other jobs and prioritizing Peace Village in their summer plans. Many simply would not be able to do so without the stipend.
#2 budget category is Instructor Stipends—This year we offered stipends to about 2/3rds of our teachers. It's not the going wage for the amazing educators and artists that we have, but it makes a big difference.
Why? We believe that we are not just providing a fun day camp experience, but that we are creating a real Village. In this Village, we value our teachers, artists, musicians. All peace-makers. To be sustainable, we must also sustain them.
Why not get more volunteers is a common question, especially from folks setting out to plan their first Peace Village in other places.
Yes, I say, absolutely. There are very lovely Peace Villages running entirely on volunteers. They are a wonderful addition to any community. They just don't happen to look much like the one that has grown in the Gorge. There is something extraordinary about anything forged in this gorge wind. While most other Peace Villages serve 30 to 50 kids, we're at 3 times that size. No other camps offer the variety of Village Fair activities, feed 220 people a day, or draw campers from two states and many communities. Many camps are a one-time event. Volunteers are the bedrock of any Peace Village and our is no exception--- thousands, literally thousands, of volunteers hours go in to planning and implementing our Village and we would never be able to compensate for all the time, effort and love that goes in to creating this masterpiece.
The other common question: Why not just charge what it really costs to run camp?
It's a great question. We offer a sliding-scale of camper fees ranging from full-scholarships to full camp expense of $335-- and we invite families to pay what they are able. This assures that any family who desires can be a part of the Village and means that we all get to learn together, regardless of our ability to pay. The benefits to our Village of a diverse group of folks learning and playing together far outweigh the need to keep raising additional monies. Diversity of all sorts makes for stronger communities.
Still reading with me? Thank you and thank you for your support of our Columbia Gorge Peace Village. See you on Friday!
If your child created a piece in ceramic clay or has chosen to take clay home to make a ceramic piece, you can take finished pieces to get fired into a permanent piece of pottery at KV Ceramics on the heights in Hood River for a small charge of about a dollar. They can also teach your child how to glaze their piece.
Below is their contact info:
KV Ceramics Studio
1082 Tucker Rd Hood River, OR 97031
A few tips if your child chooses to work on their piece at home:
*Ceramic clay is water based and will get messy. Be sure to put a plastic garbage bag or other protection down on whatever surface your child will be using.
*Ceramic clay dries to a fine powder that is toxic to breathe when dry. Be sure to wash all surfaces that have touched clay with soap and water to eliminate any possibility of generating clay dust in the air.
*Keep your child’s ceramic piece sealed in its zippy bag till you can get it fired. If left out, the piece will dry out and become very fragile.
Hope your child enjoyed working in clay! I certainly enjoyed working with your amazing children!
Last year, for the first time, we fed the campers and cut down our overall garbage to a mere 13 pounds for the week! Without the chip bags and juice boxes of packed lunches, we were able to recycle and compost much more effectively.
This year, we're stepping it up! Each day, a different cuisine is gloriously featured in a buffet-style lunch line. Day 1 was Mexican food - make your own tacos, add chips and salsa, and don't forget those veggie sticks! Day 2 featured Italian food, accompanied by a delicious tomato pesto. And today, we tried Mediterranean food!
I'm looking forward to tomorrow's Irish food and Friday's Asian food - I know the kids will find many more different and delicious foods to enjoy!
Day 3 of Peace Village 2013 has begun! The campers are much more comfortable with their schedules, their surroundings, and most importantly their fellow campers.
During my morning core class, my group of 13 campers were discussing what peace means to them. Many of them simply shrugged and said they weren't really sure. Peace can be a very abstract concept; it's no wonder 8 and 9 year are overwhelmed by the overall idea of peace. However, one of my campers sat quietly trying to articulate what peace really meant; finally, he spoke up saying, "Peace isn't war, isn't weapons...and isn't pinching."
What a simple answer for a complex question. Peace is a very global undertaking, but it is also something simple every day. Each day we make decisions to create peace: helping a friend, saying thank you, and maybe not pinching a brother or sister.
In many ways this is what Peace Village is about. For these five days, these children and adults are encountering peace in small ways and life-changing ways.
-Claire (Coyotes Counselor)
Today, at the close of our morning core activity, my campers were asked, "What did you discover this morning?" Answers ranged from "I discovered that I can eat a whole cinnamon roll in five minutes," to reflections on the activities of the morning, to recent discoveries on Minecraft (a popular video game). Then one boy said, "I discovered the true meaning of community."
We prompted him to share further: "Community is working together and caring for one another."
Such clarity and insight from an eight-year old sums up the very best of Peace Village. Peace Village is our community, which continues to grow each year as we add more campers and more activities. Older campers, or veteran campers, welcome and mentor the younger and newer campers. Our focus on service this year has encouraged a sense of support and belonging between campers, counselors, volunteers. I have heard so many 'thank you's today as campers lend a hand to their friends. The ability to offer help, ask for help, and receive help gracefully has been a major theme to the last two days, and it goes right to the heart of that boy's discovery: Community is working together and caring for one another.
Over the week, so many of our kids have/will have these moments of revelation - moments that they will share with the rest of us. Our Peace Village community will continue to be nourished by the energy and insights that all of our children bring. And I can't wait to see what that looks like!
~Sullivan, Otters Counselor
This year at Peace Village, kids are exploring how they can use their voices and their bodies to create healthy relationships. Through theater games and movement, campers are exploring the concepts of Consent, Equality, Respect, Trust, and Safety in their relationships with peers, teachers, classmates, and really, anyone. Younger campers are learning to listen to the words of others as well as attend to the messages that people are sending with their faces and bodies. Older campers are learning to seek and give permission for any activity they may do with a friend or partner. Through improv games, kids are attending to the emotions of their peers and matching the intensity of those around us. These activities help kids develop empathy and explore how it feels to trust your group enough to act silly with all your energy and know that they will do the same with you. Lots of laughter and body movement has helped campers integrate healthy relationship habits into their Peace Village experience. As we move through this week, each camper will work to embody one healthy relationship habit from the list at the top of this blog. As we continue to learn and grow, may we do so with respect for all the life around us. Peace within, peace among, peace around. Peace to you.
As director of Peace Village, I can spend a lot of time managing spreadsheets, returning emails and phone calls and trying to figure out how to get all our various web resources to work together. I am joined by an absolutely amazing group of volunteers we call "The Dream Team". These folks donate countless hours to dreaming up all that is our unique Columbia Gorge Peace Village. They are thoughtful, passionate, dedicated, kind and so much fun.
If you see Bill, Jody, Molly, Pamela and John at camp, please thank them for their full year of work to make this camp a reality. (Erika will be thanked later-- she's missing camp this year, but the work goes on)
Since I am immersed in the numbers-- here are just a few: 145 campers, 28 Turtles (childcare kiddos), 32 Teen and Young Adult Counselors, 33 teachers and activity leaders, 53 volunteers.... at least that was my count on day one.
Thank you to everyone who contributes time, money, love and especially your wonderful kids-- you make this camp the true Village it is. --DeLona Campos-Davis
Now a few Day 1 Photos
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