PEACE Annual Leadership Retreat
Every June for as long as most of us can remember, P.E.A.C.E. and its parent, CEASE, have met to consider plans for the coming year. The folks who do this, our Worker Bees, come mostly from the two coasts, and are all related in one way or another to the early childhood profession. The retreats started out in the farm in Truro belonging to our founder, Peggy Schirmer and her family, and in recent years they have alternated between Truro and Nevada City, California, where our gracious member Susan Hopkins has hosted us.
This year’s retreat, at Susan’s home, was possibly the best-attended and most productive retreat in memory. Our much-mourned member, Chris Lamm, left us legacies that were both financial and human. A number of participants in this occasion had been Chris’ students or colleagues, and they are working actively to carry on her work, through college classes, peace camps, and the California AEYC’s Center for Social Change. These and several other younger participants gave us with gray hair strong hopes that P.E.A.C.E will thrive after we can no longer take an active part.
One of our decisions at the retreat was to meet next year in Southern California, near where the new participants live and work. We finalized our Seminar on peace camps for the November 2016 NAEYC Annual Conference, and we started work on the 2017 Conference proposal, on raising activists. We prepared the way for more effective communications between us and with others, including the ongoing development of a new, simpler and more 21st Century website (www.peaceeducators.org) and Peace Educators Facebook Page. We celebrated Irene Lipshin’s award of our 2015 Peace Award, and prepared nominations for 2016’s. We celebrated the outcomes of the 2016 P.E.A.C.E. Education Projects, and prepared for 2017’s. We planned initiatives to grow our membership, and to use more effectively our human and financial resources. We learned some new advocacy techniques, and in that connection we decided to continue our discussions with NAEYC about their leadership in DAP, play, and social-emotional skills training, as well as in supporting their position to reduce early childhood program expulsions and suspensions. Our NAEYC Peace Educators Interest Forum looks forward to much greater activity and effectiveness once NAEYC brings out its new Interest Forum website. This year, you can join us at the NAEYC conference in Los Angeles. Please look at the detailed information on page 4 of this fall packet.
Peace Camp by Ana Page
Peace Camp is an alternative day camp experience which fosters an understanding of peace, justice, and environmental awareness through an anti-bias perspective appropriate to the needs of the children and youth involved. Campers learn tools to help create a cohesive social community; respect for self, others, and the environment are explored and practiced through the development of concepts. The Peace Camp program weaves together activities which promote the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to advocate for a peaceful world, all while having fun and making friends. The issues which arise from the camp community itself are developed and integrated into the program.
On the journey for social justice advocacy, the Peace Camp community strives to inspire local and global change. We have planted trees, provided clothing and support for homeless children, and cleaned up natural environments. Peace Camp is truly an experience unlike any other, one in which campers and youth leaders alike are able to explore their own passions to become an activist for change and make the world a better place.
Orange County Peace Camp 2016 by Farbod Markazi
Another year of loving, laughing, and growing!
Peace Camp 2016 in Altadena by Laura Hyatt
This summer, Peace Camp of the Foothills (based in Altadena, California) focused on the theme “We Are Upstanders”, building awareness through skits, arts, cooperative games, music, and filming. Inspired by the passions of a few youth leaders, leaders and campers collaboratively filmed short Public Service Announcements on social justice topics such as bullying, fairness, and compassion. In small groups (8-10 kids) ranging in age from 5-16, they brainstormed, storyboarded, and filmed their own PSAs in order to spread awareness of the importance of standing up for others. Other activities included: making homeless care packages, designing youth activist quilt squares, analyzing and performing music dedicated to social justice, exploring and writing stories with persona dolls...all while having a blast! Peace Camp of the Foothills had over 80 registered campers (5-12 years old) and over 20 youth leaders (6th-12th grade). In light of the recent violence in the news, it is so wonderful for young children, teenagers, and adults to spend time together dedicated to peace and social justice.