Peaceful Conflict Resolution/Peace Education Project

Victoria Ross
Phone: (716) 931-3520
Email: victoryross9@gmail.com

Camp Peaceprints 2017

“Peace Networking After 150 Years”

St. Mary’s School for the Deaf, July 17 – 28, 2017

We had a wonderful tenth annual Camp Peaceprints, through the Interfaith Peace Network, the SSJ Sister Karen Klimczak Center for Nonviolence, and the WNY Peace Center. The Camp, for youth ages 8 to 13, was our best yet, with 58 youth altogether, including five under the 8-year camper age limit. As we build the Beloved Community, the needs of the community take precedence. Thus we allowed siblings and refugees with a real need to be included to come on in and be part of the Camp – we are Family!

The campers and youth assistants came from Buffalo and Burma; from Senegal and Sturbridge MA; Tibet and the Congo (via most of South America); and from Nepal and New Hampshire – the varied backgrounds and experiences, races and ethnicities, ages and stages made it a rewarding time for all. Tears at camps’ end were accompanied by campers’ saying they can hardly wait to come back again next year!! (Only 15 had been to Camp Peaceprints previously; we have not had more than 1/3 repeat campers, to further spread the message.) Some comments from various campers:

  • I love camp … It is fun! You get to meet lots of other people.
  • On a scale of 1-10, I give it a 10.
  • Camp calms me down!
  • It is a good experience for children and everyone … (from a Youth Assistant)

Our Interfaith theme was well covered by speakers who covered key faith traditions and life ways.

  • Iris Hill, Haudenasaunee and Lakota, a former Camper;
  • Bhante Chipamung, a Hinayana Buddhist Monk;
  • Imam Yahye Omar, a Muslim Imam originally from Somalia;
  • Sucharita Paul, Hindu from Tonawanda and doctor at ECMC Emergency Room!

The children and youth also learned a tremendous amount from

  • Jan Burns, art teacher, youth facilitator, and activist (head of Motivational Interviewing program of ECCPASA), who ran our Art program;
  • Dior Lindsey, social worker, Peace Education Taskforce Co-Chair, and WNYPC Board Member;
  • Karima Morris, facilitator of Bury the Violence;
  • June Licence, Administrator of the Interfaith Peace Network and Riverside Salem UCC;
  • Eve Everette, Assistant Director of Buffalo State’s Anne Frank Project;
  • karima amin, Storyteller and Founder and Co-Chair of Prisoners Are People Too!
  • Chanel Davis, Education student at Canisius College, and volunteer;
  • The adult advisors/group leaders of the two Young Neighbor In Action youth groups that came from Sturbridge MA and New Hampshire respectively;
  • The Foster Grandparents program of Catholic Charities.

Through it all, it was fulfilling and fun, with swimming (5 times); field trips (to Grand Island’s Riverside-Salem UCC and Beaver Island State Park; as well as visiting – and sharing suggestions with – Mayor Brown; and exploring Tufts Nature Preserve); cooperative games; and peaceful conflict resolutions throughout.

Many thanks to support from

  • Mary’s School for the Deaf, host;
  • The Network of Religious Communities and its Riefler Fund;
  • The Peace Education Fund;
  • The Lifesavers, youth group of the Stop The Violence Coalition, and advisors Shantela Woods and Camille Williams;
  • The Joan Droit Camp Peaceprints Fund of Riverside Salem UCC;
  • The Jim and Audrey Mang Scholarship Fund for Camp Peaceprints;
  • The Canisius College Athletics Program;
  • You reading this – many of whom contributed through memberships at or donations to the Interfaith Peace Network, the SSJ Sr. Karen Klimczak Center for Nonviolence, and/or the WNY Peace Center.

The camp got together – as we always have – with children and youth from St. Mary’s School for the Deaf, and we all learned some American Sign Language. It is always a high point of Camp – with immediate and strong connections made. So much so that this year, we resolved with teacher Ron Czech that we’ll explore full program integration next year. It’ll probably be our best camp yet! Again, many thanks to all for making it all possible!!

Peace and Love from Co-Directors

Rev. Vivian Waltz
Director, SSJ Sr. Karen Klimczak Center for Nonviolence

Victoria – Vicki – Ross, QCSW, LMSW, MALD
Exec Dir, WNY Peace Center
Consultant, Interfaith Peace Network

Camp Peace PrintsCamp Peaceprints 2015 – leaving peaceprints!

CAMP PEACEPRINTS 2017

“Peace Networking After 150 Years”

St. Mary’s School for the Deaf, 2253 Main Street, Buffalo

Monday through Friday, July 17 – 28, 2017 from 10 AM to 3 PM

Announcing the tenth annual Camp Peaceprints, brought to you by the Interfaith Peace Network, the SSJ Sister Karen Klimczak Center for Nonviolence, and the WNY Peace Center. The Camp, for youth ages 8 to 13, provides exposure to a diverse community while introducing and exploring communication, social justice issues, and peaceful conflict resolution.

We learn how to listen, express ourselves, cooperate, deal with feelings, and problem-solve; as well as exploring and hopefully being inspired toward Nonviolence. In celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Network of Religious Communities, this year will include learning about and celebrating different faith traditions and their common themes of peace, justice, sharing and love.  We’ll have wonderful guest presenters – activists and artists from the Buffalo area. Students from St. Mary’s will be invited to join us in our activities. We’ll also play games, have recreation (including swimming!), do art projects and go on field trips.

Registration is $125 per week (discount $240 for the two-week period), with sliding scale and scholarships available.

Youth assistants and adult volunteers are an integral part of the program.

The flyer can be viewed, downloaded, and printed here: CPP17 Flyer

The Registration form can be viewed, downloaded, and printed here: CPP17 Registration & Consent.

For more information or to volunteer, please contact:

  • Vivian Waltz, Director of the Sister Karen Klimczak Center for Nonviolence; 716.362.9688  vivian@sisterkarencenter.org_
  • Victoria Ross, Executive Director, WNY Peace Center; and Consultant, Interfaith Peace Network; 716.931-3520  victoryross9@gmail.com

For a report on – including pictures of – last year’s camp, keep reading! Hope you’ll join us this year for a very special time!!

 


 

“PATHWAYS TO PEACE”

Camp Peaceprints 2016 Report
St. Mary’s School for the Deaf, 2253 Main Street, Buffalo
July 18 – 29, 2016

The ninth annual Camp Peaceprints, put together by the Interfaith Peace Network, the SSJ Sister Karen Klimczak Center for Nonviolence, and the WNY Peace Center, was a rousing success. The Camp, for youth ages 8 to 13, provided exposure to a diverse community while introducing and exploring communication, social justice issues, and peaceful conflict resolution. Our focus on “Pathways to Peace” – or the various religions  and life-ways – was very well-received and fruitful. It was our best camp yet!

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Some 50 children and youth attended the camp, both as campers and youth assistants. Their feedback included that they  “liked” or “loved” the Camp, learned “how to get along with each other,” and wished that “Camp would last forever.”  One of the moms said, “It was a very enriching experience for the kids. They learned so much, especially from the sign language, and being around other cultures. They were very excited every day and would go again in a minute!”

Nurturing male role models were a particular strength of the camp this year. Our first group of Young Neighbors in Action (coming all the way from the Diocese of Sacramento, California!) were all young men, with two wonderful male advisors. They were called upon to nurture the campers, and to be models of gentleness and peaceful conflict resolution. Their tremendous success in and great appreciation for such a role, in this fairly “macho” society, was exciting to campers and staff alike, and encouraged similar behavior, especially in the boy campers.  Positive male role-modeling was further accentuated by the two volunteers who came as part of the Foster Grandparent Program of Catholic Charities.

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This year’s special focus on pathways to peace included learning about and celebrating different faith traditions and their common themes of peace, justice, sharing, and love.  Indigenous life-ways, the Abrahamic faiths (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) and Eastern faiths (Hinduism and Buddhism), were all covered by wonderful guest presenters – activists and artists from the Buffalo area.

We began camp with a welcome and traditional thanks-giving from an Indigenous (Tuskaroran) woman, Jill Yagwaneest Clause. Our guest speakers also included a young Muslim film-maker and activist, an Episcopalian priest, a City Commissioner, an Imam, and a Buddhist monk  – all peaceful, gentle, and accessible men. The strength of a compassionate nature was emphasized by all.

Our art projects were once again led by Janice Burns, artist, art teacher, and director of the Motivational Counseling program of ECCPASA, and included gift bags for homeless people that were left at the Homeless Jesus statue by St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral on our second week’s field trip.

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We also created artworks made of and left in nature at Tifft Nature Preserve on our first week’s field trip. A giant colorful Peace Dove was fashioned of puzzle pieces decorated with symbols and words representing what each camper had learned at Camp Peaceprints.

Our field trip to a local mosque was covered by Channel 4 for working for interfaith appreciation and against Islamophobia. Back at the school students from St. Mary’s taught us some American Sign Language. The intensity of affection, and determination to cross the language barrier to communicate, was powerful. They also joined us in a drum circle.

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Our youth assistants from Young Neighbors in Action for the second week were young Catholic women from Milford, Massachusetts. They took over smoothly from our first group of young men from California, leading the campers in games and recreation, including swimming at Buffalo State College. Throughout the two weeks, adult volunteer Deidra EmEl was a calming presence and a big help with the camp program.

Campers learned and practiced listening, expressing themselves, cooperating, dealing with feelings, and problem-solving. At Camp Peaceprints 2016 creativity was encouraged and celebrated, and Nonviolence was explored in real and powerful ways. As we sang in the Peaceprints song, we learned together to “follow the way of love.”

Many thanks to the Network of Religious Communities, St. Mary’s School for the Deaf, WAVE (Women Against Violence Everywhere), St. Columba-Brigid RCC, the Presbytery of WNY, University Presbyterian Church, the Peace Education Fund, the Sisters of St. Joseph, and all others who gave of their resources to make Camp Peaceprints 2016 a life-changing experience for all!


Peace-Justice-Nonviolence Festival & Walk, 9-11-16

We had a wonderful turnout of more than 600 participants at our 3rd annual Peace-Justice-Nonviolence Festival on September 11th! The summer air at Canalside was filled with joy, camaraderie, and excitement.

Courtesy of The Buffalo News

Courtesy of The Buffalo News

Thank you for all of those who helped to make our event a success.  If you missed out this year, make sure to catch our walk in 2017!

For more info, you can also go to:

Buffalo’s Peace-Justice-Nonviolence Festival & Walk

Meanwhile, the movement-building continues – for a just, nonviolent and peaceful community and world. Together we can make it happen – si, se puede!