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Springfield peace camp targets bullying

Focus on the positive Springfield

More than 100 volunteers will help as the Springfield Peace Center hosts its 27th annual Peace Camp and Teen Mediation in June.

The camp will run from Monday, June 10, until Friday, June 14, from 9:30 a.m. to noon each day at Lagonda Elementary School, 800 E. McCreight Ave.

The theme for this year is “peace rocks.” The camp is free to the public and will accept the first 225 children who register.

“We keep camp free so that everyone can attend,” says Nanci Keller, camp director.

This program teaches kids, ages four through sixth grade, how to handle bullying. The event uses 121 volunteers from the community and 35 mediators from grades 7-12. Teen mediation training will be held June 4 and 6 from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on the fourth floor of Clark State’s downtown campus.

“They believe in what we’re teaching,” says Keller.

The camp focuses on bullying, including cyber bullying. Guest speakers talking about cyber bullying will be aimed towards the older children and the mediators, as cyber bullying is a growing issue.

To teach children how deal with bullying, several activities will be planned. Children will learn origami, make peace necklaces, and be introduced to sign language and Braille. There will be disability dolls to allow them to understand what it is like to be blind, hearing impaired or physically disabled.

Appearances will be made by “I Care Cat” and “Bully Bear,” as well as a debut appearance by “Buddy Bear,” who solves problems.

A silent film about bullying created by Southeastern High School students will be shown, which engages both adults and children.

Parents are also invited to join. While the children are in class, parents can attend parent/caregiver group sharing.

Each year, Peace Camp has a diverse group.

“We appreciate differences,” says Keller.

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