by Kate Owens

July is a special time at Peace Learning Center because it is when we host our two specialty camps!

Climate camp is put on in collaboration with Earth Charter–Indiana and brings together Indianapolis youth ages 5-17 to learn about climate and sustainability. Every day of climate camp is different, full of different activities such as creek stomping, yoga, and field trips.

One of the most special parts of Climate Camp is participating in a ceremony called The Council of All Beings, which asks the students to choose an animal whose perspective they will look at the world through. By doing this, they learn to look at the earth more empathetically and understand how all beings are interconnected. They make masks to help them embody and understand their creatures. This exercise guides the youth climate warriors to think about how climate change is impacting the lives of other species.

This powerful and inspiring week leads all those involved to renew a passion to live sustainable.  One camper described his personal impact of Climate camp saying: “When I go home, what I want to do is to defend the earth

from climate change. I’m going to try to lower my carbon footprint. I want to try using less power, composting more, recycling more and trying to pick up more trash when I see it.”

The other specialty camp we host in July is Social Justice Leadership Camp! SJLC is a two week day camp with one overnight celebration. The goal of camp is to introduce young leaders aged 13-19 who are passionate about social justice issues and to communally learn and grow together as they work to create a more just society. These students work to identify a personal definition of what justice means to them and how they can use their voices to work toward a more just and equitable world. This includes discussions on power and privilege and specific issues like racial, economic, gender & sexual orientation injustice. The students also spent a day out in the community to learn more about the work being done in Indianapolis with these issues. They also hosted a Social Justice Leaders Lunch where they invited local social justice leaders doing work in the field to share their experiences and discuss issues with them. Following camp, the SJLC community is sustained through monthly meetings to continue their work and growing opportunities.