OTISFIELD, MAINE | On Monday, July 26, NBA stars will hold the third annual Play for Peace basketball clinic at the Seeds of Peace Camp in Otisfield, Maine.
Players attending include Brent Barry, Jarron and Jason Collins, and Etan Thomas.
Dave Chappelle of Comedy Central’s Chappelle’s Show will also attend and act as a Master of Ceremonies for the NBA activities. Chappelle and the NBA stars will be welcomed at Seeds of Peace by Israeli, Palestinian, Egyptian, Jordanian, Tunisian, Qatari, Greek Cypriot, Turkish Cypriot and American youth participating in the camp’s second session.
Over 180 campers were selected to attend the Seeds of Peace Camp in order to learn the critical skills necessary for peacemaking and reconciliation. Later this summer, Seeds of Peace will bring together American teens with Arab teens, including young Iraqis and Saudis.
Play for Peace was organized by Arn Tellem, President and CEO of SFX Basketball group, agent for the players, and Seeds of Peace Board Member.
“Against a backdrop of daily news reports that detail new terror alerts or violence in the Middle East, it’s important that the players can do their part to promote understanding and coexistence,” commented Tellem. “The visit will not only be exciting for the camp participants, but it is also always an eye-opening experience for the players.”
NBA stars include Brent Barry of the San Antonio Spurs (his third visit), Jarron Collins of the Utah Jazz (his second visit), Jason Collins of the New Jersey Nets (his second visit), and Etan Thomas of the Washington Wizards (his first visit).
The players will work with the campers on basketball fundamentals and teamwork drills that will help the Middle East teens understand the value of cooperation, as enemies become teammates on the basketball court.
Dave Chappelle will be acting as a Master of Ceremonies for the day and entertaining both the campers and the NBA players.
“Sports, and in particular, basketball, is a very important part in the camp experience,” said Tim Wilson, Camp Director at Seeds of Peace. “On the court, teenagers are forced to confront the hatred that makes them hesitate to pass the ball to their Israeli or Palestinian teammate. They have to learn to work together, and trust the person whom they’ve been taught is the enemy, if they want to succeed. The visit of NBA players will be an important and exciting way to learn these lessons.”
Over the last two years NBA greats including Antawn Jamison, Carlos Boozer, Mike Dunleavy Jr. and B.J. Armstrong have participate in Play for Peace.
Said Barry of his experience, “It is amazing for me to see how resilient and committed these kids are to peace and breaking the cycles of violence. It makes me believe that there is hope.”
Since 1993, Seeds of Peace has graduated over 2,500 teenagers from four conflict regions from its internationally recognized leadership program. Through its Camp in Maine, its Center for Coexistence in Jerusalem, international youth conferences, regional workshops, educational and professional opportunities, and adult educator programs, participants develop empathy, respect, and confidence as well as leadership, communication and negotiation skills all critical components that will ensure peaceful coexistence for the next generation.
The Seeds of Peace Camp is located at 183 Powhatan Road in Otisfield, Maine.