Guest post: How Seeds of Peace helps teens escape conflict

Hi, my name is Shami and I am a Palestinian Seed living in the West Bank city of Ramallah. I

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Hi, my name is Shami and I am a Palestinian Seed living in the West Bank city of Ramallah. I first came to Seeds of Peace as a 14-year-old camper in 2004‘and remain a proud alum of Bunk 17.

After attending camp, my entire life has changed. When I went home to Ramallah, I stayed in touch with the friends I made a camp and participated in every Seeds-sponsored activity I could.  I took every opportunity to re-connect with the Israelis I met at camp’and why not? They are my friends! In 2005 I was selected to return to camp as a Peer Support (PS) for the younger Seeds and to participate in advanced leadership training. Seeds of Peace touched my life so profoundly I applied to be a camp counselor in 2007, 2008 and 2010.

At this point in my life I can think of no greater joy’no greater responsibility than to dedicate my time to the Seeds community and give other teenagers the opportunity to have their own Seeds of Peace experience and become leaders in their own communities as we all work towards a more peaceful future.

After spending five summers at camp, I really consider it my second home. I feel so fortunate to have had the chance to return in different leadership roles’as a camper, a peer support and now as a counselor.  This progression has given me the chance to understand every aspect of camp and gain perspective about what it truly means to be a Seed’not just individually but as a member of a larger community that cares about you, listens to you, and empowers you to become a stronger person.

Without Seeds of Peace, I never would have had the opportunity to understand the conflict from different viewpoints.  And when I meet the new campers, especially young Israelis, my heart is open and I thank them for having the courage to come to Camp, just as I did as a Palestinian Seed for the first time so many years ago.

Seeds of Peace "is dedicated to empowering young leaders from regions of conflict with the leadership skills required to advance reconciliation and coexistence." To help, donate on their website, or participate in one of the initiatives body-care company Kiss My Face has created: 10% of the proceeds from their liquid castile “peace soap” supports Seeds of Peace, and you can participate in the Pledge for Peace‘with every 10,000 names, Kiss My Face will sponsor one more spot at camp.

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