Interfaith Friendship Camp

 

The Interfaith Center collaborated with several faith groups and local organizations to bring together the first-ever13725071_590513551110103_8194743155995117380_o interfaith camp for elementary school children in Arkansas. The inaugural session of Interfaith Friendship Camp took place July 11-15, 2016, 9:00 am until 3:30 pm.

The camp fostered friendships among 33 children from the three Abrahamic faiths providing them religious teaching from their own faiths while learning about and honoring the faiths of other children in the camp.

 

The camp’s theme Superheroes allowed the children to learn about the humanistic values from their own faith as well13724054_589242761237182_5697589717244420192_o as others’. They learned about the super powers that are common to various religious traditions such as courage, compassion, justice, patience, perseverance, wisdom, humility, love, and honor. The children went through a process of self-discovery throughout the week looking for these powers within themselves and empowering the superhero within.13661928_587951858032939_7952242097803297720_o

From Monday to Thursday, the children build relationships through music, art, meditation, reflection, sports, community service, cooking, robotics, science, and taekwondo. On Friday, the campers visited faith centers and finished camp with a celebration and closing ceremony.friendship-camp-1

Ellyn Polsky, Friendship Camp’s Curriculum Coordinator, led a wonderful team of leaders and educators from Jewish, Christian, Muslim, and Bahá’í faiths to develop the curriculum for the camp with the objectives to:

 

Learn and deepen your own faith.

Learn and honor others’ faith.

Reduce prejudice and build relationships through fun activities.

In a time when our country is polarized because of divisive rhetoric by public leaders and the marginalization of minority religious communities, this camp was a beautiful example of interfaith collaboration and peacemaking. Eight organizations that planned and implemented this camp under the umbrella of the Interfaith Center included:

  • Bahá’í Community of Greater Little Rock
  • Congregation B’nai Israelfriendship-camp-5
  • First United Methodist Church
  • Islamic Center of Little Rock
  • Raindrop Foundation
  • Second Presbyterian Church
  • St Margaret’s Episcopal Church
  • St Mark’s Episcopal Church

Anyone interested in enrolling their child for the next year’s camp or who would like to be
 involved, please contact our camp coordinator Madiha Shahid at friendshipcampca@gmail.com

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