Camp Blue Diamond through the eyes of the Youth Peace Travel Team

Camp Blue Diamond: Home of giant swings, wooly-mammoth-snail trail fossils, 24/7 Gaga Ball, and the most awesome 3rd through 5th graders ever! Our week at Blue Diamond could have easily been a real struggle; we had never worked with a group this age, and we weren’t sure how we were going to alter our sessions to be meaningful for a group that was so young.

Even with these concerns, I think that Peace Team achieved having a great week. We talked with each family group about small things that they can do in their own lives to make a big, positive impact on other people and even the world. It was so awesome to see these kids coming up with such great examples of selfless acts that they can do, like donating their time and money to a wide range of causes. It was certainly inspiring and incredible to get to spend so much time with this group of kids and to be able to introduce peace to them at such a young age!

Peace, Katie

YPTT at Camp Pine Lake

Many of the discussions at Camp Pine Lake focused on how we can use love as a tool for peacemaking. A popular phrase at camp is “breathe in love, breathe out peace.” We repeated this often during times of mediation and allowed it to inspire our actions throughout each activity.

It even permeated the discussion we had about the film, Gracecard, which we watched as a large group. In the move one of the characters tells another that “Jesus works on the streets.” It became apparent that if we breathe in love and breathe out peace, we too may be opening ourselves to see God’s workings everywhere around us, just as Sam did in the movie.

Any week that inspires both love and peace is a good week in my book. Thanks Pine Lake for such an awesome week!


The Youth Peace Travel Team at Camp Inspiration Hills

Greetings from Ohio! This week, Peace Team was able to spend time with the Senior High Worship Arts camp at Inspiration Hills. Since we had to lead two Bible Studies each day, we had to think pretty fast on our feet and come up with some new ideas about what we could do.

One way we did this was by creating a whole new session, specific to their camp: Peacebuilding Through the Arts. We talked with the group about how performance can be used to transform conflicts and violence, and we practiced it by creating situations of conflict that the group got to act our and resolve by using “tools” of peacemaking, like understanding, listening, and love.

The session went super well, but the best part didn’t come until the next night at the all-camp campfire session that we led on bullying. Each family group was instructed to intervene in and try to end a scene of bullying that Peace Team acted out. Most groups tried separating Hunter and Molly or having them talk out the conflict. We had predetermined which groups were doomed to fail and which were going to succeed. The Worship Arts kids were supposed to fail, but none of us were prepared for what they were going to do. When they got up, their group had one member act as a German foreign exchange student who felt like getting ice cream would solve the problem. The hilarity of it took all of us aback, and the conflict that had been occurring completely diffused! It was so awesome to see the Worship Arts kids use some of the tools that we had talked about before, and to know that our last minute session truly made an impact!


Youth Peace Travel Team goes to National Young Adult Conference 2012!

Molly’s reflections: The past week has been filled with the excitement of meeting new friends and reconnecting with old ones at National Young Adult Conference in Knoxville, Tennessee. I knew even before arriving that I would attend worship sessions, workshops, and small group meetings. What I hadn’t expected was being so inspired by other young adults getting involved and making a difference within the denomination. From BVS to Open Table Cooperative and being delegates at Annual Conference, young adults are moving mountains. As we leave conference I am given a new hope for the future of the denomination and how I might be part of it.

Katie’s reflections: Even though we’ve only been to one camp so far, this week was an interesting and enjoyable change of pace as we traveled to Knoxville, Tennessee to be participants at National Young Adult Conference. The daily Bible studies and evening worships were all great, but one worship that has been in my mind since it happened involved feetwashing.

We were told the logistics of the service—you could come up to have your feet washed as you felt comfortable and would the stay at the station to wash the next person’s feet. The group was then left in a moment of silence and contemplation… and I panicked… just a little. The act of footwashing isn’t unfamiliar to me, but I’ve always done it in communities that I was comfortable with, like my church or school, but this was different. I was going to be having my feet washed by a someone I most likely didn’t know, and then I was going to have to wash the feet of still another stranger; that’s a TOTALLY different level of humility, and it made me uncomfortable.

Then, I realized, as I was having my feet washed by my new friend Dylan, that that’s the thing with feetwashing: it should never be “comfortable.” It should be a unique experience each and every time, and we should always strive to take something new from it.

Hunter’s reflections: On the orange and white campus of the University of Tennessee, young adults flocked for a week of rest and fun! I was able to meet so many people and gain so many new friends. I learned so many different things from different worship styles to cool organizations.

NYAC was a great week, but it wouldn’t have if we didn’t have Carol Fike doing all the stuff she did! So a HUGE thanks goes out to her!