Editor’s note: The following two stories are the views of the writers.

Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

On August 14, I climbed onto an ordinary, ugly, yellow school bus and was on my way to Otisfield, where I would be spending two weeks at Seeds of Peace International Camp. At first, Seeds of Peace was just two weeks of actually doing something and a couple flattering sentences to slap onto my college application, but that all changed.

On the outside, Seeds of Peace looks like your average, overnight summer camp. That is, until you see all the kids from the Middle East. John Wallach (1943-2002) founded Seeds of Peace in 1993 and the camp was originally meant for Middle Eastern boys. Then both boys and girls from overseas were able to go, and finally kids from Portland and Lewiston were added to the mix. Up until this year, kids from the Middle East and Maine Seeds were not at camp at the same time, but a brand new program allowed us to attend camp simultaneously.

The Beyond Borders program included kids from Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Dallas, Atlanta, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen delegations. Beyond Borders campers and Maine Seeds did have to make some adjustments though. For instance, we Maine Seeds could not wear two-piece bathing suits or publicly manifest affection towards members of the opposite sex unless it wasn’t questionable. Beyond Borders campers from overseas had to speak English at all times, and if they wanted to speak in their native language they had to do so privately. Both programs had to wear green t-shirts the color of a perfectly kept lawn every single day. I think this was done to somehow make us feel united, but most of us thought we looked like a cult instead of a camp. After some whining and heated debates, we learned to deal with it.

Kindness hung over us like a mobile over a baby’s crib. Maybe it was the breath taking sunsets made up of unnamed oranges, pinks, and purples, or the royal, navy blue mountains surrounding the sparkling lake, but something about the beauty at Seeds of Peace changed us all. It seemed to me that the atmosphere of kind, understanding people allowed us to open our hearts and minds. I know that it allowed me to put my pride on the shelf and cry on somebody’s shoulder or to let someone lean on me.

The feeling of co-existence was truly a beautiful thing. I have definitely learned so much about diversity and I believe that we have all developed a greater appreciation for the country we live in.

The Lewiston Seeds continue to meet every other Sunday at Bates College. For us first years, we are focusing on “walls” and how they affect us. The second and third year Seeds are trying to develop better presentation skills and are preparing to get involved in the community.

I can’t until the next time I get to climb onto an ugly, yellow school bus and head on down to Otisfield for another session of inspiration and life lessons. Thank you Seeds of Peace!

Students attend Seeds of Peace Camp

In mid-May, 18 seventh graders from Lewiston Middle School were chosen to go to Seeds Of Peace International Camp. Many students that were “nominated” had an interview with school counselor Deanna Marken, and Heather Linquvist, recent delegation leader. Being one of the students that went to camp this summer, sitting through the interview was nerve racking, but it was worth it.

We had an orientation meeting on June 21. At the meeting we learned more about the camp and met some other people that make up the Lewiston delegation. Our new delegation leader, Sherry Smith, a team 81 reading and English teacher was announced at the meeting. At the meeting we met two girls that this summer would mark their third time at SOP, Sarah Pelletier and Tchotcho Teko. Sarah and Tchotcho were going to be our mentors and helpers at camp.

August 14 day of departure finally came. I woke up at 4 a.m., with anxiousness, I just had to pack a few last minute items. By 7a.m. I was ready, although the bus wasn’t leaving till noon. When we got to the middle school, waiting for the bus and boarding the bus, we all said our good-byes. Driving off was tough for some people, never leaving their parents before. The bus ride was full of laughter and conversation about their summer. When we got to the camp an air-horn announced our arrival, followed by all the counselors and camp director, Tim Wilson, greeting us when we got off the bus.

About half an hour later we were told our bunks and were to report there. The rest of the day was a “free for all day,” since kids from Beyond Borders had not arrived. That night in our cabin I was introduced to two new games: Mafia, Strip Poker, and Texas Hold’em. We all went to bed really late, mostly because we were not used to camp. In my cabin that night there was a “joker” that kept waking us up as soon as we drifted to sleep at one in the morning.

The next day we lined up before each meal time. After meal time we went back to our bunks to do “Bunk Clean Up,” which we were judged on. After clean up, a bell rang telling us to go to a selected morning activity. I chose knitting; I’m glad I learned how to knit at camp. An hour or hour and a half later another bell rang for dialogue or sport activity. Half the dialogue groups met at this time and the other half after supper. During the day we all had activities ending with general swim at 4:15 for an hour. After general swim it was: line up, supper, dialogue or sporting activity. After all these activities ended around 8:15, we gathered in the Big Hall for evening activities. Evening activities were always fun: the egg drop, pirate hunt, counselor talent show, and the camper talent show.

Color Games was at the end of camp after we all got to know everybody We broke down into teams, blue and green. The two teams competed against each other for three days ending with The Message Of Hagima and the Jump in the Lake. Color Games is also known as the Camp’s Olympics. During this time, the camp is divided into two multi-national teams that compete in every camp activity-from sports and fine art to music, drama and even special activities like tennis, soccer, and basketball. Color Games gives each Seeds time to explore the other person, but when you get to Color Games they are not a person but your friend.

The best experience was interaction with other people. My two best friends are now from Yemen and Iraq. I have grown really close to both of them. Camp would not have been the same without them. To this day I talk to them online and through regular mail. This goes with almost all of the other Lewiston Seeds.

Seeds Of Peace was established in 1993, by John Wallach, who recently died. I hope Seeds Of Peace continues for we are the leaders of tomorrow. Seeds Of Peace got me ready for life. I am very lucky to have gone.

Students that attended Seeds of Peace were: Amanda Beggs, Amber Ouellette, Andrew Trocy, Athena Andoniades, Audrey Patterson, Muna Hussein, Heather Murphy, Richard Bruce, Julian Carlo Eledia, Shayla-Mae Sabine, Kailee Brown, Suzanne Assam, Mark D. Smart, Tanya Lama, Maryke Moreau, Theodore Blaisdell, Kevin Gagne and Timothy Stretton.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.