UP Coach Dani Glass shares more of her thoughts on what she’s learned at Camp Ultimate Peace.
“He was 12, I was 17. He was dark-skinned and I light-skinned, he spoke no English and I no Arabic. But none of that mattered; we were just two people.” So began a description of my experiences with Ultimate Peace that went on many, many college applications. He was a boy with whom I played soccer during evening free time just before bed during the first UP summer camp. He showed me up – every time I tried to show off a trick, he answered with another, all of which were way more complicated and far more skillfully executed. I loved learning new tricks from him, and he loved teaching me. The next year, I came back able to successfully execute (some of) the skills he had taught me the previous summer, and I could tell he was proud.
UP Coach Dani Glass talks about a day at Training Camp 2013.
We’ve only just finished Day 3 of camp, but already the days are beginning to blur together in a whirlwind of practice, activities, personalities, and languages. The sun and our long hours has gotten to me and I am falling asleep while writing this, so I’m going to have to keep it short and sweet. Yesterday we had a long 4 hour block of practice time in the morning, so we took a break in the middle to play some team games like “Wah,” a quintessential part of UP. It’s almost like a sixth core value: Mutual Respect, Integrity, Fun, Non-Violence, Friendship, and Wah. We practiced layouts from the knees, and the Mamas were good sports – some enjoyed it more than others, as always, but we saw some good effort during our laid-back, slow paced partner drill.
Coach Dani Glass reflects on a packed and successful first day of Ultimate Peace Training Camp 2013.
The sounds of Galaxy Quest and evening free time out at the fields is just barely drowned out by the noise of that glorious air-conditioner above my head. After an evening of teaching and running “Frisbee Knockout,” it is nice to sit inside in the quiet for a few spare minutes while I type out these words. In a few minutes I’ll return to the field for our group “Goodnight,” during which the CIT on my team, Yara, will be singing to relax us all. She tends to be quieter than others, so I’m very excited to see her step out and have the eyes of the camp upon her. We have just finished an evening full of stations of Frisbee games, including “Texas,” in which a group of players stand in a circle and everyone simultaneously throws a Frisbee across the circle, hoping for catches. We played “Frisbee Bowling, ran obstacle courses, and played small games against coaches. I’m excited to talk to the other station leaders to see how successful their domains were. In a society where basketball is played relatively infrequently, the game of “Knockout” was a bit difficult for campers to understand, but with the help and facilitation of other staff members, we were able to communicate the rules and competitive nature while the campers played. Most groups came to understand after a few run-throughs, and it seemed as though they enjoyed it. I can’t say it was the most success with a game I’ve ever had at camp, but I also think it was nice for the campers to try a new game.
Preparation for UP Training Camp has reached a fever pitch with campers due to arrive in mere hours. Folks around the campus are scurrying about, taking care of last minute tasks and getting ready to welcome the busses as they roll in through the gate. And there is excitement in the air, the anticipation of all the magic that will begin shortly. Returning coach Dani Glass talks shares her feelings about how one can never be fully prepared for UP Camp and how her experiences here have changed and affected her.
Ultimate Peace is underway once again. This is my fourth summer with UP, but my first training camp, and it is strange feeling as though I’m not sure what to expect. But I guess that’s the point – no matter how much we prepare for camp, it will always take us by surprise: the energy, the late nights, the fun, the exhaustion, the excitement, investment, exhilaration, and work ethic all around us from both coaches and campers. Most of all, though, nothing can prepare us for the love that will blossom and grow from the beginning to the end. As I said in our first “coach introduction,” the relationships are what keep me coming back. Not only my own, but those I have seen form, and last, in what to others might seem to be unlikely places.
Preparation Day #1 is in the books, and the UP staff, coaches, and CITs have spent an amazing day getting ready to welcome the buses of campers on Tuesday morning. We were interested in getting the perspective of a first-time UP coach, so these initial impressions come from Joey Shapiro.
To be honest, I didn’t know what to expect. I applied to participate as a coach at the Ultimate Peace Training Camp almost on a whim and was a little surprised when I got in. Excited, of course, but surprised. (I mean, building peace in the Middle East by teaching kids to play Ultimate? Sounded right up my alley.) I had clicked through reams of posted photos and watched video clips and interviews from the previous years of camp, read about the stated mission of the organization, and tried to piece together what participation entailed. Continue reading