Peter Yarrow Leads Operation Respect at URJ Eisner Camp Folk Legend Teaches anti-Bullying Curriculum for Reform Jewish Campers
July 12, 2007Great Barrington, MAPeter Yarrow, of Peter, Paul and Mary will spend the day teaching lessons of acceptance and tolerance from his Dont Laugh At Me anti-bullying curriculum to the campers and staff of the URJ Eisner Camp.
The first organization to implement the Operation Respect: Dont Laugh At Me program was the American Camping Association. Historically, summer camp is a time that addresses the healthy social and emotional growth of youth as opposed to emphasizing their academic growth, as do schools. It was a natural fit, said Yarrow. In bringing the Dont Laugh At Me program to the Jewish summer camps, that are already focused on teaching the tools of acceptance, understanding, and non-violent conflict resolution, we give them yet another avenue that can be viewed as part of the continuation of the essence of Jewish religious and ethical teachings
For nearly a decade, Yarrow and his colleagues at Operation Respect have been working with young people to address the disturbing trend of violence and bullying in schools, youth groups and summer camps. By introducing ridicule free zones, defining dangerous behaviors and employing role playing exercises the Dont Laugh At Me curriculum teaches students and educators alike the power of positive and safe learning environments. The program is run in over 20,000 schools around the world.
My hope is that the incorporation of this experiential learning program will add not only to the efforts of Jewish camps to demonstrate the linkage between the teachings of Dont Laugh At Me and the teachings of Judaism, but will also one day be incorporated in camps of all faiths and perspectives, explained Yarrow.
Using his guitar and the lessons of the program, Yarrow will work with many of the camper groups during the day and will also give a concert of campfire classics on Thursday night. Yarrow volunteered his time for this event to encourage the creation of a Jewish version of the Operation Respect curriculum incorporating modern educational situations with traditional scared texts.
The Union for Reform Judaism's Eisner Camp is located in the picturesque town of Great Barrington, in the heart of the beautiful Berkshire Mountains of western Massachusetts. Eisner Camp, established in 1958 on the grounds of an historic estate, is accredited by American Camp Association and is part of the URJ Camps system serving more than 9,000 Reform Jewish youth every summer. For more information about URJ Eisner Camp, please logon to www.necamps.urjcamps.org/eisner.
For more information about the Dont Laugh At Me curriculum and Operation Respect please visit www.dontlaugh.org.
The Union for Reform Judaism (formerly the Union of American Hebrew Congregations) is the central body of Reform Judaism in North America, uniting 1.5 million Reform Jews in more than 900 synagogues. Union services include camps, music and book publishing, outreach to unaffiliated and intermarried Jews, educational programs, and the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism in Washington, D.C.