Every year, Hope CommUnity’s Sin Fronteras Youth Group celebrates their last meeting of the year in the one-week Peace Camp, held in a small camp in Hampton, Florida. For one week, the group bonds with each other and learns different life and coping skills. They learn about peace and reflect on the good they want to see in the world. One of the Peace Campers, Yesenia Flores, took photos during the camp and offered the following reflection:
Peace Camp is a one-week camp hosted by Hope CommUnity Center, held in Hampton, Florida. There are a lot of trees there. There isn’t much phone service, so most campers talked to each other and found ways to entertain themselves. There was a lot of space to do things. I played volleyball, soccer, and football with other kids. Many connected with nature. The girls slept inside, while the boys slept outside.
Peace Camp was an amazing experience for me. I connected with others and opened up to people who I wouldn’t normally open up to. I was able to connect with people on a deep level. I made amazing new friends that made me laugh and smile more. We saw and felt each others’ pain that we hold inside, which helped us to realize that others can help us.
I learned that it’s not okay to hold in our feelings. It’s okay to cry and let it out. People may hurt us, but it’s up to us to keep it or let it go. We may lose something and say we let it go but in reality we haven’t. It’s not easy to really let go or forgive; forgiving someone is never easy. It’s hard to forgive someone or be forgiven but we can change that we forgive ourselves first.
At Peace Camp, I made new friends. Friends I never talked to before, and never imagined being friends with. I would see them at Sin Fronteras meetings but never talked to them. I met a new friend in a small group at Peace Camp. He encouraged me to talk and join the group in discussions. It took a few tries. But I started to trust him and talk to everyone a little more. We would play volleyball but on opposite teams and throw around the football.
Field day was memorable. My team lost but we worked together. The talent show was amazing. And I will always remember it. The talents some people have surprised me. The boys had an amazing dance routine and Lake Brantley did a great performance.