Following the success of our programs in Syracuse (New York) and Maine, Seeds of Peace launched new initiatives in Chicago, California, and New York City in 2016.
The program uses the same model and enables a diverse cohort of young leaders to come together and explore different concepts of identity and understand the issues affecting their communities. Program participants are exposed to peers from across lines of difference (race, gender, religion, socioeconomic status, nation of origin, beliefs/ideologies) for a two-week session at the Seeds of Peace Camp in Maine.
Each day at Camp, they engage in 115 minutes of facilitated dialogue around issues of identity, culture, power and privilege designed to foster self-reflection and self-growth. The dialogue sessions address tough issues and create a space where participants can courageously ask the difficult questions of themselves and others while openly engaging with each other’s perspectives, experiences, and realities.
The immersive nature of Camp allows Seeds to develop authentic relationships with one another by living, eating, playing, and learning together for two weeks. Dialogue is paired with recreational activities, a dynamic group challenge program that fosters team-building and communications skills, as well as interfaith and intercultural activities. In this way, campers get to live together in a co-created community that values trust, respect, and empathy, and that allows them to explore the fullest sense of their identities.
Upon returning home, Camp alumni (Seeds) enter a three-year leadership development trajectory within their schools and communities. Much of this work is centered around “leadership in action,” the idea that the best way for Seeds to hone their skills is to plan and execute community dialogue, volunteer events, and programs through which young people contribute their voice to political and community decision-making processes.
Although this program is still in nascent stages, it is exhibiting exciting growth. Each year, Seeds of Peace continues to develop partnerships with schools and organizations in the participating cities and looks forward to its future developments.
Contact Eliza O’Neil with any questions.