By Carlen Hultgren
The Berea Mennonite Church will be hosting its interfaith Peace and Carrots Camps again this summer just down the road at 1088 Bouldercrest Drive in East Atlanta.
The camps focus on teaching peace-finding and peace-making skills for children ages 6 to 12, with the farm as a classroom for lessons on conflict resolution and caring for others. Children get to have fun with each other and the pigs, chickens, sheep, and goats (not to mention the cats) and digging in the dirt. The sprinkler system will add a bit of water fun, too!
Campers will be taught skills necessary to deal with their problems in a peaceful manner. Campers will also be encouraged to come up with their own creative solutions to the problems they see at camp, at home, at school, and in the world. The award-winning “Peace Train” curriculum developed by Little Friends for Peace, is used to show kids how each step in a conflict can be a chance to use creativity in order to turn things to a different end. By the end of the camp, children will have learned how to appreciate themselves, treasure diversity around them and in their new friends, express anger safely, and utilize problem-solving skills.
Oakleaf Mennonite Farm is located in East Atlanta, where it operates a nine-acre, fully functional urban farm complete with livestock, fruit bushes and trees, and produce crops. Weekly activities will include planting and harvesting, taking care of animals, interacting with local Atlanta food and farming experts, cooking classes, and plenty of time to relax, play, and enjoy the farm. Children will also help produce and harvest food in our Neighbor’s Garden, a community garden where we raise food for hungry and under-resourced neighbors in the immediate community.
Children who participate will have plenty of time for outdoor play and activity as they interact with each other and the farm. The program fully immerses children into a working farm. Campers will be outside for play and activity most of each day and inside to cool off, for some presentations, or if the heat gets to be too much. They will be introduced to soil chemistry and cover cropping, composting and vermiculture (the process of using worms to decompose organic food waste, turning the waste into a nutrient-rich material capable of supplying necessary nutrients to help sustain plant growth) as well as planning and planting. They will also learn about organic supplements and additives, use of “friendly” insects and how pests are treated on the farm. The children will have an opportunity to harvest from both plants and animals each day. They will directly participate in the care of animals each day as well, learning the vital role these partners play on the farm.
The dates are June 13-17 and June 20-24, 8:00am-1:00pm ($200/week) or 8:00am-4:30pm ($250/week) with a 6:00pm pickup available ($10).
For more information or to register please go to www.bereamennonitechurch.org.
Peace Training Camp for Kids
By Carlen Hultgren