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What I liked about Peace News Summer Camp

Comments from the Campers' evaluation forms ...

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Mohamed Moghazy and Dora Estella Munoz Atillo. PHOTO: Roy St Pierre
  • Everything! Being welcomed by people, and being with like-minded people. The very interesting workshops – the more participation the better – the laughter, games & singing. Compost toilets, etc.
  • Good food and generosity. Peaceful environment that reaches out to all. A kind and loving community.
  • Good subjects for workshops and some excellent presenters and entertainers – Zapatistas, Dora, Tayo Aluko, Mohamed Moghazy, Kofi Mawuli Klu etc.
  • Its immense friendliness, goodwill and support for participants! THANK YOU SO MUCH.
  • Tayo’s presentation on Saturday night.
  • The internationalism.
  • What a wonderful motley crew! One of the most warm & welcoming activist gatherings I’ve attended. I loved the theme and especially workshop on diversity, oppression etc.
  • Vegan food. Meeting energetic, youthful, inspirational activists (antidote to jaded everday life). Participatory ethos. Contributions from seasoned campers and PN staffers.
  • Visit to Burston Strike School. Sunny weather & night rain.
  • It being a small, participatory camp. Workshops were good. My son was very happy. The [Tayo Aluko] concert was great. Workshops I especially liked: poetry, After Chavez, Power & Privilege, ForcesWatch. A friendly, open camp. Really liked the theme – brought up a lot for me & felt I could be involved more than with some discussion.
  • Freedom for kids to run around in a safe, friendly space with lovely people. 
  • Children’s space = very child-friendly. Noticed there were a lot of resources for them. 
  • The implementation of the vision was brilliant, the quality of the workshops was inspiring.
  • Meeting all the lovely people, being with older people & families generally, than at other camps I’ve attended, ie Earth First! The singing!

What could be improved:

  • Better publicity & more people?
  • Opportunities for relaxation, massage etc would be good.
  • Would like more community-building, for example to have small ‘home groups’ – groups of 6, who would meet up at a specific time slot every day, to connect with each other and share how camp is going, if they need support etc. Also would like more emphasis on skill-sharing and forward planning rather than so much ‘information-based’ sessions.
  • Keep to 10-minute planned interval between end of morning meeting and start of morning workshops. Larger portions of food. Bikes & trailers for shopping. [Bikes were used several times – eds.]
  • More ice-breakers.
  • Would like the children’s food to be vegan also so we know what to expect. 
  • Explain why food is vegan – for many people, meat is seen as essential, even if they can’t afford it often.
  • Ask people to put the nearest town or the area of a big city where they live on their name tags under their name – this would help people make local contacts.
  • Timetable participation a bit smoother. Maybe use sign-up sheets to allocate workshops?
  • The structure of kids’ space, while more secure, created a significant amount of stress for lone parents who wanted to attend all workshops and did mean that parents were segregated.
  • Don’t like to sit on straw bales, they’re scratchy & low-down.

Other comments:

  • Overall, I thought it was really well thought out and appreciated the opportunity for a chance to be involved in a community.
  • Really appreciated the work put in by the team. Will be making a donation. Would have been happier to pay more – could you make the sliding scale longer and invite people who feel able to pay more to support the camp?
  • I’d have liked the chance to talk about Syria and Srebrenica’s 18th anniversary the other day – ie hot topics, rather than some of the ones on offer. I understand how serious the situation in Colombia is to the indigenous people, but it’s just not especially relevant to me just now.
  • Would like a movement/stretching class in the morning. Would like more stews/dhal/rice. Clear instructions for toilets at the beginning.
  • I [heart symbol] organising team :)
  • :) Keep on keeping on
  • If you come back here, it would be worth emphasising the ease of getting the bus outside Norwich railway station all the way here & only cost £3.80 for people who don’t want to walk from Diss railway station to the bus stop. [It’s a 15-minute walk between them. — eds]
  • First Peace News Camp I’ve attended. Fantastic!

These are most of the comments written on the end-of-camp evaluation forms we collected. One form deserves to be printed in full:

Esme (nine years old)

What I liked: I really liked the food and the children’s space but my favourite was the talent show. It really was a lot of fun and this camp has been a real success and the location was really beautiful.

What could be improved: More bins dotted around the area and more games at morning meeting to encourage more people (especially children) to come along. More spare tents facilities brought next year.

Other comments: I didn’t do any workshops, but my friends said they were all good. I’ll definitely come again next year.