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Face to Face Blog Debuts!
By Audrey White
June 28, 2010
It is difficult to explain Face to Face | Faith to Faith to those who have not experienced the program, but over the next two weeks, I will try. I will try to convey the revelations, describe the beauty and portray the hope that is abundant at this camp. I will try to explain how we look at conflicts - of culture, faith and identity - and create a space for dialogue and relationships.
I’ll be working to find the most effective and accurate way to run this part of Auburn's blog. We’ve never blogged Face to Face before, so this is a pilot. In the interest of Internet safety, I won’t be able to include photos, video or audio of participants, and at first I was frustrated by this. But I realized that these restrictions are not debilitating, because Face to Face is about stories, first and foremost, and we can tell those with words.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. First:
What is Face to Face?
We occupy our time in conversations about the places, traditions, families, friends and crises that have created us as individuals and groups. Sometimes these conversations unite enemies; sometimes they drive wedges between friends. Almost always, the wedges are temporary, while the unity is lasting and transformative. We do programs and activities that facilitate these difficult conversations, and creativity is key. We sing songs after meals. We play sports, write poems and play silly games. Our kitchen is kosher vegetarian to accommodate the needs of participants who keep Kosher or halal diets based on their religious or cultural traditions. We hang out in a big grassy, green space called Friendship Hill and precede breakfast and dinner with a gathering called peace pole.
There are 26 of us here on staff. Some are alumni of the program while others have come to Face to Face for the first time as counselors. We have just completed our eight-day staff training process, in which we explored all the activities that the participants will do in the next two weeks. Our team is supportive, multi-faceted and energetic. According to some of the staff members, Face to Face is:
“...a meeting place that brings together young people from regions affected by conflict to explore and develop their identities in light of their life experience and the experiences of others.” - Daniel, Northern Ireland; Leader In Training counselor.
“...thought-provoking.” - Steve, South Africa; cabin counselor coordinator, alumni 2005/2006.
“...a great opportunity for personal and communal learning that goes back to communities and spreads there.” - Alex, Israel; Israel/Palestine home group leader.
“...[a program that] allows people to fully be all of the facets of their identity and challenge and engage those different aspects through intense encounters.” - Rabbi Ruven, U.S.; dialogue group facilitator, cabin counselor, interfaith facilitator.
“...incomparable. Every year there are different people, and we can build a community out of those people. Every year when I come, it’s a new kind of wonderful. It’s tough, but in the best way.” -Farah, U.S.; dialogue group facilitator, cabin counselor, alumni 2006/2008.
“...life changing.” - Hiba, Palestine; dialogue facilitator, cabin counselor, alumni 2005/2006.
Who am I?
All Things Catholic (John Allen)