Hi. My name is Matthew. I live in Toronto and I am of the Christian faith and I belong to Grace Church On-The-Hill. This summer I was able to participate in a program called Kids4Peace. What happens is that 12 kids from the Middle East and 12 kids from Toronto come together for one week and participate in an overnight camp.
At the camp we did two different things: the interfaith program which was run by the Kids4Peace counsellors and the Eco-Venture outdoor program. During Interfaith we learned about different faiths and religions, but also how to communicate with each other. I thought Interfaith explained a lot about the three different faith groups that were participating in the program. The groups were Jewish, Christian and Muslim. I learned about the different religious holidays and celebrations that occurred in each religious calendar. I was very intrigued at the things that I learned as well as surprised and confused. For example, something that surprised me form the Muslim religion was that the Muslim boys and girls can’t eat meat that is not nor killed and prepared a certain way. Something that surprised me about the Jewish faith was that while keeping Kosher the kids are not allowed to eat in the same meal dairy foods and meat from animals that are hoofed and chew their cud.
The kids from Galilee were very much like us in some ways, but in other ways very different. Most of them didn’t speak English too well, but we found ways to communicate that you might not think of at first. It was like in French class when you don’t want to look up words so you use hand actions and body movements or point to things to communicate. The kids even spoke different languages from each other, Arabic and Hebrew.
In the Eco-Venture program we did many outdoor games and activities. Among them the four favourites were: partner tag, canoeing, swimming and (especially!) tether ball. The food we ate was fairly good for camp food; sometimes it was enjoyed, sometimes it wasn’t. I personally thought the food was good. One of the things we did was we went on a two-day out trip, which means we went camping on the lake. Concerning the weather conditions, we weren’t very lucky because there was a torrential downpour the first night. From my point of view I thought this was a good thing, because it strengthened our relationship as friends. The following day the weather cleared up and we went canoeing and hiking. We returned to the base camp and had a celebration the following evening. Then the next day we packed up a left back to Toronto.
Upon our returning to Toronto we had an Abraham tent, which included three religious plays put on by the three different faiths. This was watched by the parents of the Toronto kids as well as members of the Kids4Peace Toronto chapter. It was named the Abraham tent because all the religions had Abraham in their story. For the next three and half days the Toronto kids were billeted up with a Galilee partner of the same faith. My partner’s name was Majd and he was from Nazareth. He told my mom that where he lived was right in the neighbourhood where Joseph was born. Some of the favourite things we did at my house were: ping pong, video games and playing baseball in the park. During the time that Majd was staying at my house we went touring with the other Kids4Peace friends. The places we went to were: a Blue Jays game, the CN Tower, a butterfly conservatory and Niagara Falls.
I had a fabulous time and would recommend this to anyone who would like to learn anything about their own and other faiths.
I really want to go to K4P because I really think that learning about another religion or culture would be fun. I also think that I could make really good friends from other countries. I also think that it would be a really fun experience to go. I would learn a lot make new friends and have fun.
I’ve gone to summer camp since I was six. My favourite part is making new friends. I live in downtown Toronto where I attend BSS and attend Grace Church. Most of the people I know and see everyday are just like me. I am excited about this camp because I will make friends with kids that are so different from me. My dad spent a summer in Israel when he was young. He still says it was one of the most awesome experiences he ever had and the friends he made are still friends today. He was even talking to one tonight.