Journey's End Farm Camp

How do you teach the next generation about the importance of peace and sustainability? According to Journey’s End Farm Camp in Newfoundland, PA, a few summer weeks of communal living, farm chores, and fun and games can encourage children to adopt the qualities necessary for advancing a peaceful and ecologically healthy world.“Camp is a place to have fun, and it’s also a place for working, learning, and growing,” explains co-director Chris Martin.

In addition to traditional camp activities such as swimming, campfires, and arts and crafts, the Quaker-influenced Journey’s End features unique experiences. Daily farm chores such as caring for animals, weeding the garden, or picking berries help teach lessons of responsibility and cooperation to the 7- to 12-year-old campers, who come from different parts of the country and a variety of backgrounds. Interactions with animals and frequent nature hikes foster respect for the environment, while group activities such as discussion circles and nonviolent games build a peaceful community spirit.“The kids love it,” reports Martin. “We get lots of returning campers, and most of our publicity is through word of mouth.”

During the two- or three-week sessions, Martin enjoys watching groups of 30–36 campers relax into an atmosphere that’s free of much of the peer pressure many children find at school. “The 12-year-olds might start off acting like they’re too old for things like mud hikes, but then the enthusiasm of the counselors and other campers infects them. The definition of ‘cool’ changeswhile they’re at camp.”

—Liz Borkowski