Hebron Camp Day 6

Hebron Camp Day 6

Our final day of camp was the most fun for me. Instead of staying in a small classroom, I got to run around with the kids outside as they participated in competitions. The kids were split into four teams during the week, and this was their opportunity to show their team unity. I took lots of pictures. Enjoy!

Lots of water balloons made for a fun game of the kids running and the adults throwing balloons at them:-)

Our camp was a spectator sport! These kids sat on the wall of the school watching what we did.
Hebron Camp Day 5

Hebron Camp Day 5

Day five was the last day of crafts at the Hebron Camp. The kids made decopauge journals, which was very fun!

Half-way through the day, when the kids had a break for snack, my partner Maria and I tidied the tables and then were working on a project the the supplies which we hoped to use as gifts. Kids kept coming in and out of the room, always eager to hang out and look at our supplies. We looked up at one point and noticed several girls who had come in with a broom, and were very efficiently sweeping our room. They worked at it for about 15 minutes, leaving the room very clean. I was so impressed. No one had told them to do it, they just saw a need and got to work.

Here is a picture from the day:

Brittany, one of the other camp leaders, found a cool place to rest after the day was over.
Hebron Day 4

Hebron Day 4

Day four we returned to our host school for another day of fun and learning. In the craft room, we painted pencil cases, which the kids really enjoyed. Some were really creative and beautiful, and it was great for the kids to be able to show their own style in the project.
Each day the kids had an assembly time where they sang songs, saw pictures from the camp, and learned lessons. Day 4 was the only day I made it there. The boy featured in this video became one of my favorites throughout the week. He has uncontainable energy!

Hebron Day 3

Hebron Day 3

Day three of the Hebron camp was exciting and nerve wracking — we were going to try to take 120 Palestinian children through the checkpoint into Jerusalem to take them to the zoo. We didn’t know if it we would succeed because, although legal for children under 16 to cross into Israel, it really depended on who was managing the checkpoint whether they would let us cross. Many people were praying.

I was in the first of three buses with Shadia, who it had been decided was the best person to negotiate with the guards. Since our Palestinian adult leaders couldn’t come with us it was just foreigners and lots and lots of children. We held our breath as we approached the first checkpoint. We were prepared to try another if we were not allowed through.
By the grace of God, it took us no longer than three minutes to get through. There was no searching and no questioning. We were just asked whether we had arranged the visit ahead of time, and with an affirmative answer that we had an invitation from the zoo all three buses passed through with no problem.
When we got to the zoo, we were met with other people connected to our organization, who were ready to help with the kids. Each leader had six excited children in their group. Most of us know little Arabic, but with lots of “yalla” (let’s go) being shouted we managed to communicate with the children. I quickly fell in love with my six — five boys and one girl between 6 and 12 years old.
This is my group! 🙂

One thing that really stuck out to me was when all the groups were still close together it was hard to identify those in my group quickly. I followed the example of some other leaders and drew something unique on each kid’s hand. I chose the first thing I thought of, a five-point star, and put it on a few kids’ hands. When I got to one of the older ones, he didn’t want me to put it on his hand, concerned that it is Israeli symbol. It actually isn’t — but I realized this kid was on high alert. Coming into Israel he certainly did not want to be manipulated into being identified with “the enemy.” I wonder what kind of pep talk he was given before coming on the trip, and what pep talk I would have given if I was his mother. The stars became funny looking smiley faces, and I realized how real the conflict is for these precious little ones.

Here are some pictures from the day at the zoo:

The kids excited to go!


The kids were so funny taking pictures of everything with their cell phones.

The boys loved getting close to the beautiful tropical birds.

The Jerusalem zoo is really cool. We were just feet from this leopard.


Enamored with the animals.
This is what everyone looked like on the way back to Hebron. I was trying to keep them seated, and it was like a hammer head game but the second one kid sat down five stood up!

We continue to thank God that we were able to do this trip!

Hebron Camp Day 2

Hebron Camp Day 2

Day 2 of the Hebron camp was really good. In my room the kids made picture frames and we all showed signs of knowing each other more. The only problem with my craft was that the kids all finished very early, so we needed something to do. Ever try teaching a group of 6-12 year olds how to play duck-duck-goose when you don’t speak their language? It’s an experience worth having:-). We had 50 of us playing at one time! I’m thankful no one fell into one of the concrete walls while running their heart out!

Here are some pictures from the day:

The barely controlled chaos of the craft room as the kids worked.
Making the mosaic frame.

Hebron Camp Day 1

Hebron Camp Day 1

This week we are conducting a summer camp for kids in Hebron — a Muslim city in Palestine. It is a work of reconciliation in the sense that it is Christians working with Muslims — something that doesn’t happen very often.

This is the second time our organization has done this camp. The kids were so well behaved and thankful last year, and we have all really been looking forward to it.
I am in charge of one of the activities the kids rotate through at the camp — CRAFTS! I have been wishing I was more like my mom for weeks (for those of you who don’t know my mom is a genius with kids, especially in coming up with meaningful things for them to do). Thankfully, she helped me get organized over Skype, and we have some great things planned.
My goal for the week is to update you and show you some pictures daily. This time I’m posting right before heading to the bus for day two, so we’ll see if I can do a little better in the future. I hope you enjoy these adorable kids as much as I have been!
The kids were waiting for us when we got there and excitedly registered. This is part of the crowd pouring in. We have about 100 kids.
The theme of the camp is “what’s in your bag?” and talking about the things carry with them in life.

I had kids make the classic “bead men” on the first day which are meant to be decorations for their new backpacks, which they will get as a part of attending the camp.

One of my coworkers had the kids do “newspaper fashion” in her station. I thought this picture was too cute not to share.