The mission of Camp PEACE is to bring children exposed to domestic violence together for a summer of activities that facilitate Peace Education, Action, Compassion and Empathy. Based on principles of Peace Education, Trauma-Informed Care and Social, Emotional and Ethical Learning, Camp PEACE will help children learn alternatives to violence, increase their resiliency, and build compassion for self and others.
“This program has made such a difference for my child! He has something fun to look forward to every day and I have peace of mind knowing that the staff understands the difficulties my family is going through. Instead of judging my son's behavior, they are helping him understand it and make changes so that he'll have a better future.”
“I can tell these lessons are working something in my daughter. She used to be so angry. Now I can tell when she is making an effort to calm down and I give her some space. Sometimes she tells me to stop and take a breath, too!”
“Unless we teach our children peace, someone else will teach them violence.”–Colman McCarthy (Peace Educator and Activist)
Camp PEACE is offered by Women's Resource Center to End Domestic Violence for children who have witnessed violence used toward and/or abuse of their mother. Some children have experienced violence or abuse themselves.
Childhood exposure to domestic violence often has adverse effects on child development and well-being. Children who are exposed to DV are at greater risk of developing attachment disorders and emotional disorders that have long-term impacts on their success in relationships. Exposed children are at increased risk for developing depression and anxiety and often demonstrate behavioral problems like aggression, non-compliance in school, and delinquency. Exposure to family violence by age 15 has been associated with impairment in psychological functioning and occupational and career achievement (i.e. unemployment, lower socio-economic status) among adults at age 30. Early childhood DV exposure also triples the likelihood of being a perpetrator or victim of domestic violence in comparison to those not exposed.
Camp PEACE uses Social, Emotional and Ethical Learning (SEE Learning), a K-12 education program developed at Emory University. SEE Learning is fundamentally based around three dimensions: (1) Awareness, (2) Compassion, and (3) Engagement. In order to take constructive action – individually or collectively – first one must become aware of the issue or problem. Second, one must care and develop an emotional investment that generates motivation to act. Finally, one must act skillfully.
The SEE Learning framework is grounded in the principle of compassion, which lies at the center of the three dimensions of SEE Learning. Compassion is a way of relating to oneself, others, and humanity as a whole through kindness, empathy, and a concern for both happiness and suffering. Critical thinking is crucial to the dimension of compassion. This is not just any kind of critical thinking, but a specific type that seeks to understand the individual needs, wants, and values of oneself and others. This includes the ability to discern what will bring about one’s own and others’ long-term well-being. In many ways, the other two dimensions serve as supports for the dimension of compassion: awareness of our own mental states and the mental life of others—especially their experiences of happiness and suffering—is essential for cultivating self-compassion and compassion for others. Awareness of interdependence and the broader systems within which we and others exist is essential for effective engagement as global citizens oriented by compassion.
Our camp uses the Community Resiliency Model® to provide trauma-informed care to our campers. The two fundamental goals of CRM® are to help adults and children learn to track their own nervous systems in order to bring the body, mind and spirit back into greater balance, and to encourage people to pass the skills along to family, friends and their wider community.
Additionally, the peace education component of our camp teaches children tolerance, acceptance and peaceful conflict resolution. Campers will learn new ways to handle stress and anger, develop strategies to help them calm down and focus before reacting to a situation and learn the skills of peaceful conflict resolution.
Our unique curriculum provides children with the tools they need to manage their emotions, form healthy relationships and peacefully solve conflicts now and for the rest of their lives.