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Teens realize peers suffer harassment and bullying

Recognizing the ongoing need to engage teens with each other on issues of diversity that impact their lives and schools, the Interfaith Council continues to offer Camp PEACE.

About 60 youth from nine schools participated in two sessions of Camp PEACE Oct. 28 to 30 and Nov. 11 to 13 at N-Sid-Sen on Lake Coeur d’Alene.

Teens gather at Camp PEACE.
Teams of teens from schools are willing to talk openly about the need to recognize that all students in their schools, whatever their backgrounds, suffer from some form of teasing or bullying,” said Kateri Caron, director of the council.

She is amazed how they reach out to each other and want everyone in the school to have a better life, not just one group. 

“They realize that what happens to one happens to all,” she said.

After Camp PEACE, teams return to their schools with a commitment to share insights from their experience to help their peers understand what it takes to have peaceful interpersonal relationships that can create peace in the world.

“We recognize that our differences are gifts.  We do not seek just tolerance, but for people to embrace their own and each other’s differences.  As we enjoy and embrace our differences, our lives are truly enriched,” Kateri said.

Camp PEACE provides a safe space for the teens to share and learn about such differences as race, ethnicity, economic status, gender, religion, sexual orientation and physical abilities.

Schools participating in the October and November sessions were Ferris, Lewis and Clark, Rogers, Post Falls, Colfax, West Valley and North Central high schools, Gonzaga Preparatory School and the District #81 Equity Team.

Peggy Federici of North Idaho College led the first session and shared leadership of the second with Sunny Ybarra, diversity director at Gonzaga Prep.

For information, call 535-1813.

By Mary Stamp, The Fig Tree - Copyright © December 2004