Twenty Years Strong and Still Going!
Author: Sr. Nancyann Turner
“We plant the seeds that one day will grow…we water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise…We lay foundations that will need further development. It is a beginning, a step along the way, an opportunity for the Lord’s grace to enter and do the rest.” Bishop Ken Untener
All of a sudden, as we prepared for the start-up of our annual summer three week Peace Camp, I realized with a jolt that it has been twenty years! For twenty years we have been trying to plant seeds of respect, peace-making and care in the hearts of east side children and youth. For twenty years, we have loved the children of the peace camp and they have loved us. For twenty years our youth have discussed peace, offered resolutions to conflict and celebrated peace with art, music and dance.
I smile as I think of 60 children every summer (at least 1200 children, thus far) and how much those children touch other children’s lives. Recently, one of our moms shared with me how having her children up at the camp brings her such peace of mind; they are with good people and not just out on the street. “Yet, I see my children take what they learn here at the peace camp and then, they share it with their cousins and neighbors. Thus, the Peace camp has a long life.”
Some of these children are now teaching with us. Some of our graduates have gone on to college and trade schools. Some of our graduates are moms and dads—hopefully creating peaceful households. A few of our children have died. Every camper was loved! Every camper who has ever attended peace camp remembers that it was a sacred time with lots of heart and spirit.
Today, sitting next to me, a mom started crying. When asked about her tears, she told me that she felt like she was in church. “Those were tears of joy. There is such a great spirit in this room. I felt hugged and embraced. I felt overwhelmed by love in this room among the children and the teachers. “
These comments brought tears to my own eyes. I thank God that we are part of this east side community—and that somehow, our God of peace can work through all of us. I thank God we can plant seeds of love and peace this summer again—to sixty more children—sixty more children who are the future of peace and love in Detroit.