NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Opinion

May 17, 2013

A successful Youth Leadership Retreat

To the editor:

The Board of Directors of Kids As Peacemakers wants to thank everyone who contributed to the successful Youth Leadership Retreat that we held on April 17 and 18.

We had 15 wonderful youth, ages 11-14, from Newburyport, Amesbury, Merrimac, Salem and Lowell. They were led through a series of discussions and activities by Chelsea Goss and Kyle Riege, two facilitators from On Earth Peace. The conversations mixed humor and seriousness as we talked about bullying and bystanders, violence and peace. The youth shared their concerns for situations of conflict in school, at home and even in Korea.

We participated in community service by serving a meal at the Salvation Army. We lit candles for all of those who were affected by the Boston Marathon bombing, including those who were killed, those who were wounded, those who came to their aid and those who perpetrated the crime. Although the kids came from different communities, they quickly developed relationships and friendships with each other and we hope to stay in touch. Their activities and reflections were a powerful counterpoint to the events unfolding in Boston after the marathon bombing.

Special thanks to our planning committee and chaperones: Julie Amery, Tom MacLachlan and Jan Lorrey. Thanks to Mary Sortal for coordinating meals and Abraham’s Bagels for donating three dozen bagels and Dominos Pizza for donating eight pizzas. Thanks to Christine Doherty for her work on publicity.

Special thanks also to the Commission on Diversity and Tolerance, Youth Services and the Newburyport clergy for their support of this project. As always, thanks to Merle Forney for his continuing vision of inspiring kids to build a more peaceful world.

Chris Ney

Kids as Peacemakers Board of Directors

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