By Michelle Bivas
Kineret cabin counselor
“I’m not concerned with your liking or disliking me… All I ask is that you respect me as a human being.” -Jackie Robinson.
This was quoted by an 11-year-old Kineret camper during a program created by this year’s Cornerstone Fellows.
The Cornerstone Tikkun Olam project is designed so that each unit has an assigned umbrella social justice topic. The staff of that particular session can choose their own more specified topic, and can create a program unique to their campers every session. Kineret’s social justice topic is LGBT awareness.
The staff lead a meaningful, hands-on program in which the campers had time to play games related to LGBT workplace inequality. They also had time afterwards to discuss what they had learned and felt during the program. They were then asked to write down what they felt about LGBT discrimination and workplace inequality. Their touching, insightful answers astounded the Kineret staff.
Both during discussion and on a piece of paper, Kineret campers noted how it is only fair to be who you are. Several discussion groups brought up the idea that nobody and no marriage is really normal. “What is normal anyway?” “All love is different from one another and that is okay.” The idea that “love belongs to everyone” was a central theme in the discussion groups, and a touchstone theme to this program. One Kineret camper agreed that “everyone is the same, no matter what they look like or who they love.”
The campers agreed that they found this topic and program to be important, and they were thankful the staff held this program at camp. A handful of campers mentioned that they had touched upon this topic in their health classes at school, but that the way Camp Harlam ran the program gave them more information and made them understand the topic a great deal more. In fact, many campers mentioned wanting to get involved with this social justice issue and approached their counselors about service opportunities.
Camp Harlam staff and Kineret staff are very grateful for how focused and engaged the campers were throughout the program. To show you just how engaged the campers were, we are going to leave you with this poem entitled ‘Different,’ written by Sarah F., a camper in Kineret Girls 3.
“The day must always continue on.
And though on a chess board I’m a pawn,
Surrounded by people just like me, many,
Yet imagine how the queen must feel
as single as one penny.”