1. Spiritual Emphasis
Musalaha actively seeks to keep Christ at the center of their programs, conferences, and camps. This is the focal point of their mission and ultimately guides their course as they plan future events and activities.
2. Relationship Formation
Musalaha camp fosters a safe environment for Israeli and Palestinian children to play with, learn about, and ultimately, understand one another as human beings first, rather than “the other.” Playing games, worshipping, sharing living space, along with many other factors, all cultivate a space for personal growth, healing, change, and relationship formation.
3. Learning From Each Other
Every participant at camp has the opportunity to learn from one another. Native and international counselors, and Israeli and Palestinian children, all have a part to play at the Musalaha camp. We learn from one another’s culture, customs, language, personal stories, and more.
4. Musalaha’s Got Talent!
The climactic point of Musalaha camp = Musalaha’s Got Talent. This is the rare opportunity where you can not only watch the children perform their talents, you can also see counselors getting pies thrown at their faces, and male counselors perform Swan Lake as ballerinas. It is quite the sight to see!
5. Games & Activities
The requirement for attending Musalaha camp = ability to have fun at all times. Water games. Catch-the-Counselor. Treasure Hunts. Pool. Inflatables. Night Games. Relay Races. Competitions. Volleyball. Football. Water Balloons. Cooking. Crafts.
At Musalaha camp, music = breathing. We listen to it from the time we wake up in the morning, until we go to bed at night. This includes worship, silly camp songs, and random dance parties in the
middle of the afternoon. Not only does everyone enjoy the music; it also promotes an exciting and vibrant atmosphere.
As a foreigner, food at camp from my country = grilled cheese sandwiches, corn dogs, and a glass of cold Kool-Aid. At Musalaha, food such as maklouba, schnitzel, flat kebabs, and shawarma are always on the menu. For many of us foreigners, Musalaha’s camp food = Mediterranean cuisine at a Middle-Eastern Restaurant. Also, we can’t forget about the many birthdays celebrated during the camp, which means many birthday cakes.
8. Language Melting-Pot
As an English-only speaker, language barriers were originally a worry of mine at camp. At Musalaha, what I have learned is: “playing” is the same across all languages and continents. Arabic, Hebrew, Russian, and English are all spoken at camp, but no matter one’s language or culture, everyone knows how to play.
9. The Heat
As a foreigner from a much milder climate, it is impossible to prepare for the heat in Israel. So in Musalaha, if you can’t beat the heat, embrace it. At camp, heat = more water games, pool time, water fights, and absolutely no dry clothes left at the end of camp. Is it from sweat or water? No one knows.
10. Bus Ride Home
A silent bus ride home = time well spent at camp. This means that the children have passed out from exhaustion due to exerting all of their energy at camp, or the bus is silent because they are sad to be going home.
Cross-Cultural Trip Leader to Israel and Palestine for Kensington Church, Michigan. Volunteer for Musalaha’s summer camp since 2011. Social Worker for youth, ages 5-18, in the Public School System and for juvenile youth, ages 11-17.