When I arrived in Tel Aviv in October, I thought the following three months would play out like this: classes, internship, research, some new casual friends, and an anecdote or two about what I would be studying – “conflict in the Middle East.” It seemed like a typical semester abroad. But that’s not what I wanted from my time here. I wanted a deeper connection with this place, a more nuanced understanding of what ails it, and an intimate group of peers to inform my travel and studies. Perhaps more than all of that, I wanted to really get to the heart of my research on sports for peacebuilding. I wanted to see firsthand whether and how all the things I’d been reading about play out in real life and in such an intense place.
Ultimate Peace brought all of that together. I started coaching during my second week in Tel Aviv and it quickly became my main purpose for being here. As an Ultimate player with some experience in the Middle East and in Africa, I had been watching UP for years, impressed by the progress they had made from that initial summer camp to include a year-long program and peer leadership training. I was ecstatic when I was invited to be a part of that. Continue reading
I wrote a post after camp last summer about answering the question “how was camp?” I wrote about how impossible of a question that was to answer; I wrote about how the response could not be given in casual conversation and it pained me to continue into anything less than a heartfelt dialogue.
I’ve often been told that I possess a sort of “all-or-nothing” disposition… from silly things like editing the same paper upwards of five times to getting sick with never just one malady at a time (gotta get them all out of the way at once) to buying the entirety of a favorite author’s works, to writing blog posts that are far too long. It’s a blessing and a curse; it’s something I love about myself and it’s the thing that burns me out. It’s my greatest pride and my greatest fear. It’s what excites me about knowing that there are endless opportunities to understand new cultures and communities, to speak new languages, and to interact with people from all over the world who can open my mind and heart. But it limits me because I cannot be at peace unless I am moving, seeing, doing, giving, and receiving. I want more than anything to be out there, learning from the world and its people, but there is a college degree waiting for me and without it, I will not be as free as I wish to be. Continue reading
We are reminded that change is good – it means growth, renewal, and at least for me, a chance to have an unscripted adventure in my otherwise hyper organized life.
There were many changes this year – a change in venue, in the enlarged coaching staff, the combination of summer and training camp running simultaneously, to name a few. I miss the 3x a day hummus from Manof, but love the extensive field space and pool at Kfar Silver. Really can’t beat strolling over to your very own pool on these hot afternoons! Continue reading
I found a seashell in my bed the other day. You can tell it’s old – all of the edges are worn away and its ridges are smooth. I picked it up to try to figure out where it came from, and my room faded into the backdrop as I remembered sitting on the grainy beach with eight other ultimate peace coaches for our end of the year celebration. The waves are tumbling and the wind is harsher than a breeze but not so violent as to disturb the cups and snacks littered across our picnic table. I can’t hear anything in my foggy memory, but I see collective laughter, a few tears of gratitude. Continue reading
What an extraordinarily complicated and emotional summer it has been thus far. Below is our story from this dramatic camp season and a bit about how we are dealing with the current upheaval in the Middle East.
Due to the 30 days of Ramadan coming early this summer, we had to conclude both sessions of our camp by June 28th. This forced us to schedule the camps to occur right after school in the Middle East ended, and to run them concurrently. We also had to find a new camp site to accommodate the amount of campers and staff. As it happened, we discovered the perfect place, Kfar Silver, an absolutely great fit for Camp UP. Multiple fields with lights, our own pool, a huge gym, nice dormitories, all on a private lush school campus vacated for the summer. Its location, Ashkelon, was a concern from the outset, being 8 miles from Gaza, but we hoped tension would not rise in the region around camp time. We were in for a surprise. Continue reading