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Summer camp at Koinonia Farm trains peacebuilders of tomorrow

AMERICUS — As civil rights leaders age, many people wonder who will be the future leaders of social change movements. Peacebuilders Camp at Koinonia Farm in Americus trains middle schoolers to one day fill this void.

Camp registration is open and Peacebuilders Camp is seeking youth, ages 11-14, for its 2015 sessions. Session One (ages 11-12) is from July 13-18. Session Two (ages 13-14) is from July 20-25.

Early adolescence is an important time to be engaging with issues of peace, justice and human rights. In their middle school years, young people begin thinking deeply about their beliefs. They notice inequalities in their communities and in the wider world. They ask how they can make the world a better place. Peacebuilders Camp helps them discover answers.

Peacebuilders Camp at Koinonia Farm is a unique overnight summer camp in rural south Georgia where a diverse group of youth spend a week together learning how to work toward peace and justice. Campers enjoy farm life, play games and sports, go on field trips, learn about human rights, make new friends, and explore the stories of peacemakers past and present.

The rich history of Koinonia Farm is integral to Peacebuilders Camp. Koinonia was founded in 1942, in Americus, with a commitment to treat all humans with dignity and justice. Black and white workers were paid equally and everyone was invited to sit at the table, regardless of color. Koinonia remained a witness to nonviolence and racial equality as its members withstood firebombs, bullets, KKK rallies and death threats. But Koinonia survived and in later years became the birthplace of Habitat for Humanity International.

Each day of camp is structured around a section of the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Campers learn about the right to equality, the right to fair pay, the right to adequate health care, the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, and the right to adequate housing.

Campers learn a great deal and have lots of fun. Camper Trevyn from 2014vsaid, “You taught me so much. Your hospitality, kindness, and accepting helped me realize that there is hope for the world after all.”

ZoraAnn, another 2014 camper, said, “I think a large number of youth can be positively influenced by this. I would love to come back.”

Parents see the growth in their children upon returning from camp.

Kathy O’Hara Rosa said, “Faith has not stopped talking about her week at camp. You are making such a dynamic impact on our world! We cannot thank all of you enough!”

These middle-schoolers are becoming active and confident local citizens and they hope someday to change the world. In July 2015, Peacebuilders Camp at Koinonia Farm will welcome another 24 young people who want to change their world. Camp registration is now open. Tuition is on a sliding scale, and camp is primarily funded by individual donors.

For more information about camp, to register your child, or to donate to the program, visit www.peacebuilderscamp.org