Summer interfaith camp to teach our children cooperation & equality.
BRIDGE - Intercultural Camp 2016 pilot edition was initiated and organized by Angelina and Svetlana from BRIDGES (URI Europe CC) with the precious help of our dearest friend Angel Filipov and with the financial support of Municipality of Stara Zagora and URI Europe. Together with the children members from several Bulgarian URI CCs (Trans Defi CC; Dialogue Center CC) and our Global Trustee Father Petar attended the camp and shared their interfaith experience.
During the last week from 18th to 22nd of July 2016 nine young teenagers (12-16 years) of various faith background (Christian Orthodox, Catholic, Protestant and Muslim) gatherd together to spend 5 amazing days in the BRIDGE - Intercultural camp in the modern International Youth Center, Stara Zagora - an ancient Bulgarian city with very rich history. Place where people from different religions and believes have co-existed for centuries and where a Mosque (Eski Djamia) is turned into unique Museum of Religions.
Within the period of five days children had a chance to learn about different religious traditions - Catholicism, Eastern Orthodox Christianity, Islam, Protestantism. They learned how to build together bridges of tolerance and mutual understanding, tolerance and respect to the variety of faith traditions, generations and cultures. They learned how to live together, how to communicate and be more tolerant with “the other” as well as how to establish an intimate spiritual relationship with this community. They understood that dialogue means to keep your faith and tradition and at the same time be enriched and blessed by the interfaith friendship.
A wide range of workshops (arts, crafts, music) and outdoor activities during the week enabled the young participants make friendships, cultivate their communication skills and share their cultures. At that way very natural and easy children will become bridge builders and peacemakers.
We hope that this unique methodological tool could be further developed and applied in other contexts of interfaith work with children and youth.
Our wish is to turn the BRIDGE - Intercultural Camp into a recurring event which prepares children to get involved in interfaith work and enables them to experience interfaith leadership as they grow up. And at the same time BRIDGE - Intercultural Camp aims to become a model which can be multiplied not only across Bulgaria but also in other crosspoints of religions, cultures and spiritual traditions worldwide.