the peacecamp spirit - Florian Simon Linke - Austria

Frankly, I still have no idea what made me attend my first peace camp in 2009. Back then, I wasn't really interested in any youth camps or in spending 10 days with 30 other strangers. However, I felt the peace camp was something different. Something unique. Although, I didn't want to, my curiosity finally made me a participant. And I will never regret this choice.
I do not exaggerate when saying this camp changed my whole life.
Never did believe that spending only ten days with teenagers from different parts of the world would provide the possibility of creating long lasting friendships. There is something special about the peace camp. It might be the absence of any connectivity to the rest of the world (there is hardly any cell network reception available); or it might be the tight timetable; or it might be the unique atmosphere of respect, gentleness and general interest in other ways of thinking. In the very summer of 2009, we already had a little “reunion” in Budapest and visited our new friends of the foreign country. The fact that we also met three Israelis of 2007's peace camp strengthened my belief in the everlasting “peace camp spirit”.
Later this year, two Israelis came up with the idea of visiting Budapest and Vienna in the summer of 2010. Obviously, we set the date around the time of 2010's peace camp so that we could pay a visit and surprise Evelyn. Although being an observer rather than a real participant was just equally interesting, spending only three days with the group wasn't sufficient enough. That's why my three Hungarian friends and me were thinking of a way to spend the whole 10 days together with a new group of teenagers in the new year. Eventually, we came up with the idea of being a supportive film team. We were all really glad that Evelyn welcomed this idea and made it possible to participate once again.
The summer of 2011 arrived and —with my final exams done— it was finally possible to focus on the peace camp. Selecting multicultural wake up music and preparing digital equipment made me really look forward to the peace camp. And once again, my expectations have been met. In my personal opinion, the participants of this year have been even more engaged in discussions than in the previous years. At the end of july —only two weeks after the end of the peace camp— there has already been the first reunion in Budapest.
I believe that none of the participants will ever forget this unique experience and I am sure the first step towards a peaceful society crossing national and cultural boundaries has been already taken.

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this was peacecamp 2011 - Nikolett Polácska from the Hungarian delegation

This was peacecamp for me

It is hard to put into words how many experiences and memories we got in peacecamp.
It started, when we got off our bus in Vienaâ019s airport, and Ronny welcomed us in our names. For me it meant a lot, and we felt that the camp has already started. After we met the other delegations, we went to Reibers by bus. During the travelling we had already had conversation with people from other nationalities. The atmosphere was quite good!
We learnt everybody â019s name so fast with a little pronounce mistake :) First, we created a logo for our T-shirts, which would be a very good memory. The first large group was strange for me at first, but I think this was one of the most important programmes during the ten days. We got to know more about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, facts and history. There were lots of emotions, pain and maybe anger. Despite this, I have to mention I liked so much that the end of every conversation these two groups shook hands,hug each other and went on like friends. This act reflects their real personality.
The national evenings shown 4 countriesâ019 traditions in funny ways. Everyone wanted to learn foreign languages, and during it we had lots of fun! We could taste pieces of national food, and we also learnt songs and dances, and we still remember for that! :) I will never forget the morning meditations, when we tried to rest the previous night. After we got to know each other better and better, we wanted to spend more time together. The Viena trip was a good possibility to spend almost a whole day together. In the afternoon we had a show, where we danced, sang and watched a video about the camp. We enjoyed so much the last days together.
After about a month from peacecamp, we are in contact with each other, and we are planning the next time when we will meet.
So, thank you that I could participate in this camp, I havenâ019t met so many interesting people from other countries before. I am sure I will never forget them and this camp!

                                                                               Nikolett Polácska, from the Hungarian delegation

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this was peacecamp 2011 - Szabó-Tóth Ákos

This was peacecmp 2011 for me

In the beginning of the camp, when we met with the other delegation, it was a bit strange because it was hard to start a chat with somebody, who another delegation came. but after about 10-15 minutes we started to talk with each other on the bus, mainly with people, who we talked on the facebook with. so it was already great feeling on the bus. and this "friendly air" just got bigger and bigger so we became to a very good friend at the end we still keep in thouch with each other on the internet. the programs were very good. the best, or the most useful was the largegroup, which was a bit weird in the beginning because we (the hungarian delegaton) couldn't really say anything, but we could learn about the discussion, which was between the israeli-jewish and isreali-arab groups. so the whole camp was amazing, because there were a lot of useful and funny programs and we could learn from each culture of the delegations. thank you for being a participant! :)

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this was peacecamp 2011 - Noah Adam Scheer, Austrian Delegation

Noah Adam Scheer

What was the peace camp for me?
It is difficult to describe exactly what happened at the peace camp because probably the experience was different for each participant, but I am sure, it was very important for each of us. For any body who did not share this camp with us, it will be hard to completely understand how and what it really was about. I will try to describe my perspective to give you my insight.

Right from the very beginning, as we drove in the bus from the airport to Reibers, it seemed to me, that we all had such an open mind and heart that we could immediately have fun together and deal with a lot of things. We sang together and made jokes. It was great fun.

When we arrived in Reibers, the connection between us got even stronger. Everyday we got closer, and I think at the end we were very good friends; and even with some of the connections and relationships to each other destined to remain for longer!

I would love to tell you something about the things we did in the peace camp. Every day we started with a warm up-meditation-group session that I think was very important to get to know each other better and have a good start to the day. After that, some serious stuff had to be dealt with. This happened in the large group. In my opinion the structure of the large group was one of the most important things of the whole peace camp. In these sessions we talked about the Israel- Palestinian conflict and our emotions around and about it. But most important is, that we learned to listen carefully, think first and only then respond in a respectful and thoughtful way.
Every afternoon we had an activity with the artists who also were an important part of the peace camp. In the evenings we first had some free time and than every group had to make up a cultural evening, which meant that they had to present there traditions in food, singing, dancing, language and what ever else they wanted.

At the cultural evening of the Austrian delegation there were three stations. The station work was more or less similar for every cultural evening. We had one food station were we cooked and ate Kaiserschmarn (a traditional Austrian dish made of eggs and prunes). A language station were the others could learn some important words in German and a dancing and singing station where the participants learned some traditional dances and a typical Austrian song.

The ten days in Reibers were very special and none of the days was similar to another. 37 participants got to know each other very well and had a great time through out the whole time. I think that the peace camp was one of the best thins that happened to me so far. The most important factor was the feeling of experiencing that I can make new friends by myself, being able to communicate myself well outside of my family and well known world at home. Another very important experience was that I witnessed that one can have real conflicts and different opinions and completely different perspectives and views about some things and even so be friends and learn to be able to listen and learn new insights from people who think and feel very different to me because they have had different experiences in their life. I will never regret to have done this camp, quite on the contrary I loved to have spent my time there and I hope that I can stay in touch with some of the other participants.

Noah Adam Scheer, Austrian Delegation

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this was peacecamp - Tímea Szabó

Hy everybody!
I am Tímea Szabó from the Hungarian delegation. In this year I have got possibility to go to Peace Camp. At the beginning I had got some fears, that we won’t come out of each other, but I was dissapointed pleasantly, because from one to one we had fun together. I came to know other cultures and people and I could have looked into the Izraeli-Palestinian problem, which was very interesting. We had got happy and sad moments too, but we rode out it together. The artists helped us that we find ourselves and we feel ourselves good together with different games and exercises. I think they were the soul of the camp. And a very big thanks for Evelyn that she created this camp, because it was the best 10 days in my life. I just regret it that we could go to here once, but I am sure in it that I will go to the next camp then visitor. Finally I thank you for everything, to the friendships and experiences. I think the parting is the hardest in it, but I hope that we will keep the connection with each other and we will visit the others.
Timi

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