On the morning of day one, camp is always full of excitement and nervousness as every camper says goodbye to their home life and hello to camp life! We are all ready for a week full of fun, adventure, learning, and peace.
Today, in our morning staff meeting, we discussed our theme word for the day is CONNECT. Our priority, especially on day one, is to learn all of your kids' names and connect with them as we launch into a full week of Peace Village. It is fun to watch every camper transform as we play name games all together and break the ice, from hesitant to happy.
Then we moved into the gym for opening ceremony, getting to play silly games with everybody at camp and loosen up the kids, dancing together and signing together. After a quick (and yes, mom, nutritious) snack we were off to activities!
Mountain Lions sat in the shade and talked about Earth Connections--focusing on other forms of communications besides talking and understanding we can experience this with all beings on our mother Earth. Every camper was able to meditate briefly on a being they want to connect with and/or represent before making masks for our Council of Beings next time.
Moving from lunch, to a little free time to get the wiggles out, each camper gets to sign up for a village fair time. Village fair is a constantly shifting variety of activities to expose campers to wonderful hobbies while having fun and practicing peace. From field games to junkyard band, we hope we tucker those campers out a bit before afternoon snack.
Thanks so much for bringing your child here, volunteering, and just being apart of our peace community for our 10th year! There is so much excitement coming up all week, this is just a slice of day one from the Mountain Lions group, so stay tuned. :)
Something amazing is about to happen and you’re invited!
Sure, you could stay home and do the same old thing as usual . . .
Or. . . . you could accept the Call to Adventure, step out of your safe (but maybe boring) Home Zone and into your Stretch Zone - the place where new adventures happen!
Yes, it will be unknown, it will be new, you might stumble and fall, without a doubt, you’ll learn new things about yourself. You might even meet a trickster or two.
But we guarantee that you’ll also meet many allies and mentors, cool counselors and epic teachers. You’ll have fun, make new friends, move a lot, make art, sing songs, make music, play games and discover something unique about yourself along the way!
You’ll also pick up skills for the journey - ways to connect to your best self and communicate more clearly. You’ll hone your ability to connect with the Earth critters, gain tools for media discernment, and training in the use of life force energy.
And of course, you’ll have so much fun!
Your very own Peace Hero Journey begins Monday, August 7.
We can’t wait to meet you!
The 2017 Peace Village Team
1. The True Self in Everyone is Good, Wise, and Powerful
This is our core truth – sometimes it gets buried but it’s always there..
2. The World is Profoundly Interconnected
Every action and interaction has an impact on the whole.
3. All Human Beings have a Deep Desire to be in a Good Relationship
We evolved in community and our genes carry the knowledge of what it takes to be in good relationship with each other.
4. All Beings have gifts Everyone is Needed for What They Bring
Everyone and everything has a purpose and a role.
5. Everything We Need to Make Positive Change is Already Here
We have the wisdom and the knowledge. We can find ways to access that together.
6. Human Beings are Holistic
We engage the world from all aspects of self at all times – mental, physical, emotional and spiritual. Recognizing and increasing our awareness and integration of our whole selves is how we evolve.
7. We Need Practices to Build Habits of Living from the Core Self
All these assumptions build on each other and when practiced can become habits of how we show up in the world. At CGPV we call this the practice of Peace Within, Peace Among, and Peace Around.
We love reflecting these truths to kids at camp and we invite you to donate to our scholarship fund so that we can say yes to every child who wants to come to camp regardless of ability to pay.
(Originally written by Kay Pranis & Carolyn Boyes-Watson in Heart of Hope: A Guide for Using Peacemaking Circles to Develop Emotional Literacy, Promote Healing & Build Healthy Relationships. Read more here.
True confessions, I woke up the morning after camp (way too early) spinning on one of the small wrinkles that came up the last day. Thus, I was inspired to remind myself (and now you) that even when things don't go as planned and sometimes seem to go way south of the original plan part of our job is not to make assumptions about the relative "success" or "failure" of our efforts. Often times we may never know the ultimate impact we have on the children we connect with at camp. Much of our work is simply mulching the soil and planting the seeds. To quote from my friends at Mindful Schools, "What we can trust is the sincerity of our intention, the integrity of our presence, and the innate resiliency of children and youth."
I was reminded consistently throughout camp of a couple of truths that highlight this awareness and the importance of Peace Village in our community.
ONE- How we (teachers, staff, parents) embody our teaching, facilitating and parenting is equally as significant as the content of our words. Through a baseline of connection and presence our aim is to loosen and amend the soil for inner spaciousness so that over time kids are cultivating wide pathways to their own truth and self-connection. Simply getting out of our own way (which for me means caring for our tender spots that can get poked) and showing up with presence for whatever emerges in relationship with kids serves that purpose more powerfully than we can often know.
TWO - All children have a significant need to be seen and heard. It’s that need that frequently underlies the random comments and tangents of discussion when sitting in circle with kids. We're not a listening culture and kids show up scanning for opportunities to be met in a safe space, with warmth, eye contact and the words, "tell me more". Meeting them here feeds their growth and intelligence in powerful ways beyond any lesson plan.
AND, from many sources word is that camp was wonder-full this year and many of us continue to bask in the afterglow and renewed inspiration that gets invoked after a week of life within the re-villaged world we all dream of!
Peace Village is on the cusp of evolving in new formats and new places that would allow us to meet kids in these ways more and more. Thank you for joining us. Stay tuned!
Teacher Highlight - Neil Lofgren / Aikido
This was my family's 4th year at Peace Village, and it continues to be a highlight of our summer. Each year, my kids look forward to the wonderful classes and activities, and I look forward to sharing Aikido with so many new and returning campers.
My daughter, Sage, was especially excited this year to graduate from the Turtles and become a "real camper", so she could be one of the big kids and choose her own Village Fair classes. Her older brother, Lyle, an experienced camper now, was planning out his fair classes in advance to make sure he got a chance at all of his top choices. Both of them love the music and crafts, playing with good friends and making new ones. What I love is that they are having so much fun that they don't even notice that they're actually learning huge life lessons about inner balance, interpersonal relationships, ecology, media literacy, peaceful conflict resolution, and more.
For me, Aikido is a natural part of this experience, and a perfect fit for the mission of Peace Village. I admit, it may seem strange that a "martial art" can be associated with peace, but peace has been a core component of Aikido since it was created nearly 100 years ago. The name, Aikido, can be translated as “The Way of Harmony”, and it is a peaceful approach to more ancient Japanese Budo traditions. It teaches fluid movements based on balance and positioning, blending with an opponent’s energy to redirect and render it harmless. The founder, Morihei Ueshiba, called it The Art of Peace, and said, "To injure an opponent is to injure yourself. To control aggression without inflicting injury is the Art of Peace.... True Budo is to accept the spirit of the universe, keep the peace of the world, correctly produce, protect and cultivate all beings in nature."
I love teaching Aikido at Peace village because it is a unique opportunity to introduce this art to a large group of kids and counselors over the course of a single week, and to do so in the context of the Peace Village motto: Peace Within, Peace Among, Peace Around. This year, I focused mostly on peace within and among. First practicing exercises to promote inner peace through balance, breathing, and coordination. Then using animal movements to learn ways to fall and roll without getting hurt. And finally working with other students to explore relative balance and positioning, avoiding collisions and either redirecting an attack or else letting it pass by.
Each year at Peace Village is a new learning experience for my kids and for me as well. I've been studying Aikido now for 27 years and teaching it for close to 20, and I still learn new insights each time I step on the mat. Feel free to drop by my dojo in Hood River or send me an email with questions. Details and contact information can be found at www.gorgebudo.com.
Peace to you
What goes on in Peace Village
In Earth Connections campers learn about the importance of coexistence between all living and nonliving beings.
Campers enjoy some downtime as they engage in yoga.
Aikido is a very popular choice during Village Fair. Campers learn about peaceful movement and how to fall without hurting themselves.
Has your child brought home a black and white painted art piece? Have they been like my child and uninterested in sharing what they've learned or done at Peace Village? Mom, it's just a thing I made!
Well, I thought I'd share what all of those wiggly, crazy lines are all about. My name's Amirra Malak, and I am one of the teachers for the Art core class at Peace Village. Sullivan Macintosh is also teaching art with me. Our focus this year is on finding peace within by expressing emotion in a healthy way. Emotions are like water, they can be rough and tumultuous, softly flowing, or smooth as glass. To represent this quality of emotions flowing, we used the medium of ink and sumi brushes to create expressive lines representing our many emotions. We used a heart in the center of our painting to representing coming back to our center after letting our emotions show. The kids have been doing an amazing job of creating authentic and expressive art pieces. And somehow keeping the ink off of themselves on on the paper! Amazing! Peace Village is a magical, emotional place.
My first year as a Junior Councilor at Peace Village has been nothing but welcoming and inspiring from the start. The activities we have done are neither pressured or spiritless, as everything I have taken part in is equally exciting as it is creative and fun for everyone. The leaders are exceedingly kind and I am extremely grateful to have them around and always willing to answer my every question without seeming one bit annoyed! My fellow councilors and other staff members taking part at Peace Village have treated me like one of their own making my overall experience that much better!
I’ve decided to begin a practice of compassionate curiosity. For quite awhile I’ve been seeking to be curious first and foremost. Sometimes it’s easy.
Lots of times it’s hard. At the checkout line, “hmm, what a colorful array of tabloids.” Listening to a political rant, “hmm, what an interesting election season we’re having.” When I cross paths with someone whose opinions appear narrow to me, “ hmm, I’d love to hear more of your story.” Those are the first responses (free of sarcasm) I’m going for but they’re not always the first that rise up.
The feelings, sensations, thoughts that emerge first are often loaded with judgement. Author, Charles Eisenstein equates judgement with separation in his book The More Beautiful World Our Heart Knows is Possible. (A CGPV favorite found here). “At bottom, judgment says that you choose differently from me because you are different from me. This is the essence of separation: If I were in the totality of your circumstances, I would do differently from you.”
Making first response curiosity a practice is helping me recognize that initial spike of judgement for what it is. Playfully and gently curiosity calls me to respond from the inside out. At Peace Village we call this inner mindfulness Peace Within. It’s in this inner place that the More Beautiful World resides simply waiting for moments like this one right here to emerge into an experience of Peace Among.
Peace Among is our engagement together with each other. Being curious here gets even more interesting as I listen and share ideas and opinions about what we need and want our relationship to look like and be. Peace Around is one step further widening the conversation to include family, school, and community.
Our linear culture is good at drawing lines with endpoints and edges and we’re often seeking to understand an issue, a position, or each other through this filter which situates things on a spectrum with extremes on either end and degrees of separation along the line. There’s the economic spectrum, political spectrum, gender spectrum etc. etc. Each one of us could position ourselves on these spectrums and we’d have a snapshot idea of who we are. How true would that snapshot be to the full truth of you?
Curiosity skips past the lines, filters, and spectrums, grabs hands and pulls us into a circle. Circles are possibly the most powerful symbol of life from the shape of the planets to the shape of our cells. Each point within a circle is of equal distance from the center. Circles mean wholeness, inclusion, unity. In a circle we become more than the sum of our parts. As each contributes to the center a wisdom beyond any individual piece emerges. This is an example of Peace Among and can begin with two people. Peace Around expands the circle to include a whole community of people. Sounds nice right? We all know from experience that being the beautiful, messy, prickly, sensitive humans that we are it’s not easy and can get heated and emotional and hard. And so we create strong circles to hold us, and we seek practices to help form and shape our words and our listening. And we practice touching back into Peace Within and curiosity and compassion.
The Latin origin of compassion is simply to be with pain. Charles Eisenstein writes that “the essence of compassion to put oneself in another’s shoes. It says, you and I are one; we are the same being looking out at the world through different eyes, occupying different nexus points in the universal web of relationship.”
Compassionate curiosity reminds me that I am already in a circle together with all of you. My daily practice of first response curiosity is simply looping me back in. Here . . . take my hand and join me.
Want to learn more about the practices of Peace Within, Peace Among and Peace Around that we offer kids, youth and adults at CGPV? Come party with us on June 23rd, join our volunteer staff this summer, send your child (ages 6-13) to camp, and donate funds to support our work!
--by Karen Murphy,
President of the Board and founding Dream Team member
Peace Village Staff and Volunteers share mostly during the week of camp. Sign up above to receive notifications of blog posts and you'll never miss the latest news.