Here in the Middle East, we’re gearing up for the new program year, which will kick off next month. Before spring-boarding into next year, we wanted to take a moment to look back on the truly awesome summer we’ve been having.
Well, you guys have already read all about the very special visitors we got last month, including PPI Board Chair Emeritus Ron Shapiro and NBC’s Ann Curry. You’ve probably also already read about the former NBA All Stars who led a training session for our young leaders. But here are a couple of other memorable events that we held in recent months (Summer vacation? Peace Players don’t need vacation!):
This past June, around 100 kids came from East and West Jerusalem, Mateh Yehudah, Beit Shemesh, Tamra, Jaffa, Zichron Yaakov and Furedis for the annual Spring Coexistence Festival. Kids got a chance to get their game on with a tournament-style basketball game played with mixed teams, while also indulging their creative sides with mural painting and a drum circle led by renowned percussionist Bishara Nadaf.
At the end of June, more than 100 Palestinian and Israeli children took part in the annual 12-day summer camp at the Hand-in-Hand School for Bilingual education in Jerusalem. PPI–ME holds the summer camp for Palestinian and Israeli children each year in an effort to make sure that kids don’t lose the momentum of regular programming during the summer break. The camp not only builds bridges between our Palestinian and Israeli participants, it also serves as a bridge between the different program years, solidifying our impact from year to year. Building Bridges included daily basketball and life skills training (including leadership training for older kids), and was punctuated by three terrific field trips.
During the second half of July, we took a break in honor of the month-long holiday of Ramadan, when many of our Muslim participants fast during daylight hours. Before you know it, though, it will be September, and back to school means back to PeacePlayers!