Someone once told me that some relationships are just weird: ultimate and the people who play it for instance. Ultimate takes the health of our knees, our backs, and our bank accounts. But sometimes takes us halfway around the world to chase great adventures!
As I write this I am sharing the beautiful campus of Kfar Silver with an ultimate-crazed family over 100 strong about to be swarmed by close to 300 campers who are even more crazy about ultimate than we are, and it is good. Welcome to Camp Ultimate Peace 2016!
There has been so much information to process the last two days of staff training I have hardly had time to reflect and process all of it. There is culture and history to be learned, schedules to be memorized for each day of camp, activities to be planned from sunrise to sunset each day, protocol to be memorized, and relationships to be built. There is much to do and hardly enough energy to do it all!
Unfortunately, since landing in Tel Aviv, I have been fighting against the voices in my head that tell me that I am not good enough, that people do not like me, that I am unworthy of love and acceptance. They are born of being tired and afraid, a long way from home, and lonely. They are a cesspit and steal energy from the joyful task of preparing to welcome our campers! None of these lies has any foundation in the ideals of UP, nor any place at our camp!
Anyone familiar with UP knows our five values: fun, friendship, mutual respect, integrity, and non-violence. A value less apparent on our banners, but no less vital to the health of the mission, is unconditional acceptance. And, for as much integrity and non-violent passion as I have witnessed from the staff and administration, and for all the fun I have had and the many friends I have already made, nothing stands out more to me than the unconditional acceptance I have received from co-workers of all backgrounds since arriving.
But here, now, we are not from all of those different places and spaces on our passports. All the voices and the noises, the violence and the chaos, the chatter, clatter, and hubbub of our daily lives has been muted in the serenity of Kfar Silver. Here we are family. We belong. We belong because we are here. Because we showed up and opened ourselves up to others for the sake of peace.
To be here is to be accepted, to fit in, and belong because you have a family at UP. And that, friends, is a very weird and wonderful thing.