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Thursday, July 21, 2011 03:46 am


Peace Camp is looking for a new director.

After 16 straight years of teaching children about constructive ways to deal with conflict, this summer’s week-long Peace Camp program has been cancelled after volunteers were unable to find a director.

Originally run by the Heartland Peace Center until that organization dissolved, Peace Camp survived in recent years due to the efforts of several dedicated volunteers.

One of those volunteers is Jessica Gonko, who has served as director for several years in the past. She sent an email to supporters earlier this week, explaining that leads on new directors fell short. “I know that there are many that want to volunteer and donate to camp, but without someone to be there ‘in charge’ everyday, camp is just not a possibility,” she wrote.

But even with this year’s cancellation, volunteers are hoping to restart Peace Camp next summer. Joe Coffey is a Peace Camp founder and also served as director in the past. He says volunteers are hoping to create a director search committee to identify future leaders.

Peace Camp is a free day camp focused on four- through 10-year-old kids led by all-volunteer camp counselors through songs and games. Typically, Peace Camp ends with a parade through downtown Springfield, where children carry signs and chant phrases such as “make it right without a fight.”