The 5 Best Civil Discourse Summer Camps
Seeds of Peace
Cost: $3000 for those outside of Maine, $2000 for those living in Maine
Location: Otisfield, Maine
Founded in 1993 by John Wallach, Seeds of Peace (SoP) only had 43 campers from Egypt, Israel, Palestine, and the US. SOP now has an alumni body of over 7,000 and has continued to expand inside the US and internationally.. Many of SoP’s summer programs are also online so it is the perfect time to apply from anywhere in the world. This program is open to rising 9-12 graders. To participate and apply, you can visit their website at https://www.seedsofpeace.org/ .
Cost: $440, limited scholarships available
Location: Jerusalem and Ramat Hasharon, Israel
Reverend Nicholas and Dorothy Porter founded Jerusalem Peace Builders (JPB) in 2011 with the intention of bringing together Israeli, Palestinian, and American youth to address the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.. They continued to expand, first into American schools and soon after into schools in the Middle East. Though primarily based in Texas, JBP also has operations in Connecticut and Vermont along with their international roots. JBP offers a variety of institutes targeted at different age groups from 14-18 offering opportunities to all highschool students. JBP is unique in its offerings and deep rooted connection to Jerusalem and the Holy land as well as their international courses. You can learn more and apply at www.jerusalempeacebuilders.org/apply .
TAP into Summer
Location: Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania
The Acceptance Project was founded in 2017 by Taha Vahanvaty, a freshman at the time. With the goal of spreading civil discourse in his town in North Eastern Pennsylvania, he quickly grew the club at Stroudsburg High before spreading to neighboring districts. TAP branched off from civil discussion in 2019 with the creation of TAP into Summer, a free summer camp available to anyone in the region willing to share their ideas and listen. The Acceptance Project is in the unique position of being completely student run and allows for a deeper relationship between administrator and camper as well as a more open forum for honesty. TAP into Summer is open to all rising 10-12 graders and creates the perfect opportunity to get involved in your own community and share the values of healthy communication. You can apply at theacceptanceproject.org and applications are still open for summer of 2021.
Debate it Forward
Cost: $400-450 for Summer Programs, Flexible pricing
Location: Chicago, Illinois
Debate it Forward offers classes and camps for a large diaspora of ages and experience levels. With programs available to ages Pre-K through Eighth grade, Debate it forward is the perfect opportunity for the youth to get involved in public speaking and leadership development before high school. Founded in 2015 by Leah Shapiro, DiF was inspired by the importance of debate in the life of her young nephew and all youth. She aspired to offer a camp affordable to all and meets people where they are able to pay. DiF aims to instill the valuable skills debate offers into the next generation without the partisan divisions that often accompany them. DiF runs affordable events and classes as well as in person summer camps for all age ranges. There is no application necessary and you can register for any program at https://www.debateitforward.com/ .
Camp Etgar 36
Cost: $6450 or $8450
Location: Begins in Atlanta, Travels across US
Etgar is a travel program that takes campers across the country and provides experiences as well as a platform for discussion of some of today’s most divisive issues. The origins of Etgar 36 started in 1995 when founder Billy Planer began annual weekend trips with a youth group. Etgar allows students to travel around the US and connect with new religious, cultural and historical, landmarks and experiences. As of 2021, more than 23,000 adults and teens have traveled with Etgar 36. While Summer Journey’s are a main component of Etgar, they also offer Civil rights trips that connect students with important locations around the nations that were pivotal in the civil rights movement. You can find out more information and enroll at, https://www.etgar.org/ .