I believe in the little things. In Ultimate, in relationships, in life. The little wins become a victory, the little quirks become what we love most about each other, the little moments become a lifetime of memories. It all adds up. This is what Ultimate Peace does. We prove that little moments of peace are possible. Even if I might not see the impact of our efforts in my lifetime, those little moments can and will amount to peaceful coexistence between divided people.
It was a whirlwind of energy. I gave everything I had; I gave all of myself to my campers, my fellow LITs, and my coaches, and I was given so much happiness and support in return. All ten days were filled with laughter and love and smiles. They were hard, long days with meetings until 11:30pm and things to do during our rest hours, and it was satisfying. Each day I learned something new. Each day helped me find the best of myself and the best in others. Each day pushed me past my old limits and into new potential. I made connections that I never thought possible. I learned patience and facilitation, and I learned how to be myself. I have never been more myself than at Ultimate Peace.
In our oasis of peace, we create a reality where people don’t simply take. We give and we receive. We appreciate each other. And that starts with something as simple as tossing a disc. It starts with smiles and high fives and shaking our hands like crazy people to show that we care. It starts with wild cheers that topple our water glasses during meals and learning how to dance the Dabke. It starts with our five values and a genuine commitment to each other even when we’re uncomfortable.
There were some uncomfortable moments. I observed when my team sat divided with Hebrew speakers on one side and Arabic speakers on the other. I physically felt the awkward spaces between our language gaps, our skill gaps, and our age gaps – or lack thereof. But I wouldn’t trade a single trying moment for the world.
The camper who spoke the least English out of all us was fearless of the language barrier and made the most effort to connect through one of our wonderful translators. The camper with the most Ultimate experience calmly facilitated a heated call between two of our players on the end zone (I was so proud!). The camper who was youngest touched the hearts of everyone around him with his sparkling smile and effortless Spirit.
At some point we all started sharing sunscreen, snacks, water, and water bottle filling duties. At some point we stopped caring about who was from where and started caring about whether everyone was having fun or not.
By the end of the week all of us were not only singing our own parody of the Ghost Buster’s theme song, but also chanting “Tudu Bom” on the sideline and proudly announcing our team color with a call and repeat of “ANA BANDOURA HAMRA”. (If that isn’t harmony, then I don’t know what is).
Our little moments added up.
I watched the dividing lines between cultures blur as we created our own.
Thank you, todah, shukran, to everyone involved with UP for helping to create such a perfect first experience. I have found a home away from home and a family that is now larger than ever.