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Ontario Peace Leadership Camp for Young Women

2017 Ontario Peace Leadership Camp – Friday, August 18-Sunday, August 20

Please donate to our camp by clicking here.





Hockley Valley, Ontario ( near Brampton).  Cost is a sliding scale of $50 – $150.

Register by email at

Telephone: 416-603-7915

Kasha Slavner talks about peace leadership summer camp
video by Katarzyna Kochany


Are you a young woman between the ages of 17 and 30?  Are you interested in Peace?

Ontario PeacemakeHers Leadership Camp for Young Women.  Our camp experience begins on Friday afternoon with an opportunity to get to know one another and  learn more about our organization – Canadian Voice of Women for Peace.  We end with a closing circle on Sunday afternoon.

 We offer experiential workshops to develop our peace building skills and familiarize ourselves with current events around the world and at home.  We learn about opportunities to be involved with other peace women as well as typical camp fun with bonfires, sing-alongs, dancing, great food and laughter.   

Since 2012, VOW has held leadership training summer camps across the country. The purpose is to engage, inspire and educate young women to become active leaders in peace making, providing an opportunity for VOW to build capacity for young women to become involved in women-centered peace-building efforts through the incorporation of a critical feminist analysis framework.

Camp Highlights

1.  The essential role of women’s voices in peace making and peacekeeping

2.  The need to include women in decision-making at all levels of government, including national and international peace negotiations

3.  The importance of including a feminist analysis, especially with respect to developing an understanding of peace and conflict through making links to personal lived experiences

4.  The importance of community and networking, which builds capacity, provides mutual support, and encourages diversity within the peace movement

In Ontario, our camp is at a beautiful retreat centre located in the Hockley Valley just an hour or so from Toronto.  A fun and unforgettable experience.

This year’s instructors



LeeAnn McKenna works with people living in war zones, accompanying them towards a future of their choosing:  peace with justice.  Tens of thousands have been trained in conflict transformation, trained by trainers, influenced and equipped to birth the change they seek. Still a work in progress herself, LeeAnn is committed to peace, creation care and activism as a way of life and living.

Janis Alton is a long-time activist in the domestic and international peace movement focused on the delegitimization of war, demilitarization, and the inclusion of women directly in all decision-making processes of peacebuilding from conflict prevention to reconstruction. She has conducted 20 study/consultation/lobbying tours for women to United Nations, initiated and coordinated many national women and peace conference and international workshops. Janis is Co-Chair of Canadian Voice of Women for Peace.

Lyn Adamson an experienced trainer in conflict resolution with St. Stephen’s Conflict Resolution Service, and is a trainer with Nonviolent Peaceforce Canada. A Quaker and mother of two, Lyn is a member of the boards of: Greenspiration, Canadian Voice of Women for Peace, the Canadian Department of Peace Initiative and Nonviolent Peaceforce Canada.

SandraLya Ruch  has been the National Coordinator of (VOW)for almost a decade. She is on the steering committee and a founding member of the Canadian Boat to Gaza. She was an organizer for the Gaza Freedom March and is a member of the Freedom Flotilla. She is a long time member of Independent Jewish Voices. SandraLaya went on 2 missions to Gaza with Code Pink in 2009 and organized the Canadian delegation. SandraLaya is a Feminist and activist. She is currently enrolled in a clergy ordination program to become a Kohenet (Hebrew Priestess). SandraLaya is a Life Cycle Officiant, Reflexologist, motivational speaker, blogger, Mother and Grandmother.

Kinana Issa a feminist, writer, photographer, videographer and audio-visual producer, she’s the author of a script for the interactive sound installation Gardens Speak and produced over 10 experimental audio-visual works. She has been a committee member of the Syrian Film Festival in Toronto, organized filmmaking workshops and screening events; and as a freelance journalist for AP and Al Jazeera Children; and an editor at The Syria Campaign. An honorary fellow of the International Writing Program at Iowa University.  She is the incoming National Coordinator for VOW.

Yusur Al Bahrani  a journalist who has written for several national and international publications focusing on foreign affairs, women’s rights and environmental issues. She’s currently a national board member at Canadian Voice of Women for Peace (VOW), and has MA of Journalism from Ryerson University. In addition to journalism, Yusur is a communications and social media expert.

Roula Said a singer, dancer and poet of Palestinian heritage.  Roula is the director of Om Laila Studio where she teaches Arabic music and dance, and is the vocalist, dancer and percussionista of the funked up Arabic-Roma band, Nomadica, who whose first recording Dance of the Infidels, was nominated for a Juno Award in 2016.  She also plays qanun (table harp) and sings traditional Arabic songs and has appeared on many fine theatre and festival stages across Canada.  She recently appeared in Koerner Hall as the Arabic vocalist and dancer in Routes of Andalucia, which also opened the inaugural music concert at the Agha Khan Museum.

Rahaf Ismael  a Syrian artist and community activist who has co-established Syrian Newcomers Kitchen, trainer for Nai Choire, and works with Canadian Centre for Victims of Torture. She will be sharing her experience in community work in Syria, Turkey and Canada.

Shelba Deer a loving, caring aunt to her nieces and nephews, is very family, friend and community oriented person and is an Anishinaabe-kwe (Ojibwe/Mohawk) from Sheguiandah First Nation, Manitoulin Island, Ontario. In 2012, her cousin convinced her to work back home for the summer. Shelba didn’t know what her journey would embark on because she didn’t have direction or a sense of who she was. Her job got extended to full-time receptionist and it became very stressful at times. A co-worker of hers suggested that she attend a sweat lodge ceremony to cleanse herself from stress. This was the day that she learned that people can connect with their spirit, the spirits and the spirit world. This deeply resonated with her because she yearned to know herself inside and out. Also, part of knowing her identity would be to activate her spirit name she did through a spirit feast ceremony. As time went on Shelba discovered more of her Anishinaabe roots through taking personal development workshops, volunteering and lobbying for Citizens’ Climate Lobby Canada and climate change advocacy, once being employed by her community and the non-profit organization 4 elements living arts, learning, healing, and participating in Anishinaabe ceremonies such as spiritual fasting and the sweat lodge, being a carrier of a sacred bundle and a conduit of Anishinaabe healing modalities, becoming certified in energy work Reiki level 3 and Access Bars. Most important of all is when she received her second spirit name when she came out of her fast was she learned that her best friend, Alfred McLeod, Aandaanmat (Wind that Shifts) passed away on May 27, 2017 was the day she realized how powerful and sacred the Anishinaabe ways were and how they should be preserved for the future generations to come to fill their roles to protect and live in harmony with Shkagamik-Kwe (Mother Earth). That day Painted (Red) Turtle woman, Seeds Starting to Break Open woman was blessed with a 1000 gifts from the Great Spirit of Life. Shelba is currently in school working towards obtaining her high school diploma, returning back to doing the visual arts and continuously learning about her culture and traditions.

Anna-Rae Alaton Originally from Toronto, Anna-Rae currently is pursuing International Relations at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. Much of her background stems from her experience of many years with her youth movement camp, where she was both a participant and later facilitator of educational and nature-based activities. Anna-Rae is also passionate about volunteerism, having worked for many years with the Toronto Public Library in the Leading to Reading literacy program, as well as doing several short-term projects throughout the U.S. and Canada, including post-Hurricane Katrina efforts in New Orleans. Anna-Rae believes that we need a diversity of thought and perspective through dialogue and empathetic listening whereby we can create more inclusive and sustainable change. For relaxation and inspiration, Anna-Rae bikes, hikes, runs, canoes, and does origami.


Camp Schedule for August 2017

Friday, August 18, 2017

3:00 pm – 4:00 pm Welcome and getting settled

4:00 pm- 4:30 pm Getting Acquainted and building our community,  Lee McKenna

4:30 pm – 6:00 pm Workshop -VOW Orientation — Yusur and Lyn, Janis

6:00 pm – 7:30 pm Dinner

7:30 pm – 9:00 pm Kairos Blanket Activity – Sara Anderson, Kairos facilitator

9:00 pm – 10:00 pm Bonfire and singing


Saturday, August 19, 2017

7:00 am Wake up call

7:30 am- 8:00 am Yoga on the veranda with Lee McKenna

8:00 am- 9:00 am Breakfast  

9:00 am- 9:30 am Morning check in, Lee McKenna

9:30 am – 11:00 am            Workshop – Youth Assembly at the UN — Anna-Rae Alaton

11:15 am – 12:45 pm            Workshop – Earth Based Indigenous Art Project — Shelba Deer

Shelba will be introducing Bimaadziimgat Nbiish: Anishinaabe Water Teachings. How do we make that connection to the spirit of water? The answer is simple, speak from your heart to the water and give your gratitude to the water by offering semaa (tobacco). Shelba will give a Indigenous teaching on the sacredness of water and how kweok (women) are the carriers of water and that everything is interconnected. She will also give some basic cultural teachings on the traditions, ceremonies and the sacred bundle.

1:00 pm – 2:00 pm Lunch

2:00 pm – 3:00 pm Hiking and Free time

3:00 pm – 4:30 pm Workshop – Campaign Planning and Direct Action  — Lyn Adamson

4:45 pm- 6:00 pm Workshop – Creative Blogging as form of activism –  Kinana Issa

6:30 pm – 8:00 pm Dinner

8:00 pm – 10:00 pm Cultural Sharing – singing, dancing, spoken word, comedy and more and a     Bonfire


Sunday, August 20, 2017

7:00 am Wake up call

7:30 am – 8:00 am Yoga on the veranda with Lee McKenna

8:00  am – 9:00 am Breakfast

9:00 am- 9:30 am Check in with Lee McKenna

9:30 am- 10:45 am            Workshop Developing a Community based project – Rahaf Ismail

11:00 – 12:00 am            Workshop –  Belly Dance/Womb Dance with Roula Said Roula

12:00 pm – 1:00 pm             Lunch

1:00 pm – 2:30 pm            Workshop – Organizing Projects for 2017-2018 – SandraLaya Ruch and Kinana Issa.

2:30 pm – 3:00 pm Closing Circle Lee McKenna


 Camper Testimonials

Alana Sarapnickas:  I wasn’t sure what to expect at VOW’s Peace Camp in 2015, I had never gone to one of VOW’s camp’s before and just began to get more involved in the organization months prior. I knew I would learn more about nuclear issues, local politics, and other initiatives that the leaders of the camp were involved in, but I learned that and so much more. We were presented with creative ideas on how to be peacefully active in our communities and how to create our own personal goals.  We learned more about issues in surrounding native communities from members themselves. We learned how to make meaningful connections with the people and the environment that were sharing our time and space with at the camp. I was blown away with the amount of empathy and kindness that was shared over the weekend, and I now understand the importance of connecting with people who share common goals. I will be attending VOW’s Peace Camp in 2016, and I am looking forward to sharing that weekend with new and old faces!

Yusur Al Bahrani:  VOW Peace summer camp experience has filled my life with inspirations. Few years ago, I joined VOW through the peace camp and now I am a national board member. The camp has helped me and other members to be VOW’s delegates during UN’s Commission on the Status of Women. Apart from developing my skills as a peace activist, I enjoy the camp as a participant and volunteer. It’s a safe space for young women to not only learn but share their views and voice their opinions. Every year the camp recharges me with positive energy. And I am looking forward for this summer’s camp: being in a circle of peace building women is the greatest part of the experience!

Ontario Peace Leadership Summer Camp for young women will be held an hour outside of Toronto, surrounded by the Bruce Trail, the Mono Cliffs Provincial Park, and the Hockley Valley Wildlife Reserve  click here for more information

As Canada’s longest standing national feminist peace organization, we take pride in providing means for young women to explore opportunities, careers and activism in peace. The next  Ontario Peace Leadership Summer Camp in August, 2017gives young women, who are passionate about peace and social change, the opportunity to engage in empowering and educational activities, while working with our inter-generational VOW members. Unfortunately, some women are unable to attend due to financial barriers. Your generous donations would allow us to welcome participants to our Peace Leadership Camp at no cost to them. The elimination of financial barriers will encourage youth engagement and help contribute to a new generation of peaceful leaders!  Click here to donate today

 Hockley Valley






Previous Camp Memories…

2016 memories
















2015 Peacemakers Summer Camp, Hockley Valley, Ontario – photos by Yusur Al Bahrani

Workshops in the sun

Workshops in the sun

ON Camp 2015 31 ON Camp 2015 30 ON Camp 2015 29 ON Camp 2015 28 ON Camp 2015 27 ON Camp 2015 26 ON Camp 2015 25 ON Camp 2015 24 ON Camp 2015 23 ON Camp 2015 22 ON Camp 2015 21 ON Camp 2015 20 ON Camp 2015 19 ON Camp 2015 18 ON Camp 2015 16 ON Camp 2015 15 ON Camp 2015 14 ON Camp 2015 13 ON Camp 2015 12 ON Camp 2015 11 ON Camp 2015 10 ON Camp 2015 9 ON Camp 2015 8 ON Camp 2015 7 ON Camp 2015 6 ON Camp 2015 5 ON Camp 2015 4 ON Camp 2015 3 ON Camp 2015 2 ON Camp 2015 1


Peace Makers Summer Camp on Toronto Island Circle time

Peace Makers Summer Camp on Toronto Island Circle time

Build Peace, Prevent Terror

Build Peace, Prevent Terror

Peace Makers Summer Camp, Toronto Island, August 2014

Peace Makers Summer Camp, Toronto Island, August 2014

Learning, sharing and expanding our horizons

Learning, sharing and expanding our horizons









Altogether at the VOW peacemakers summer camp

Altogether at the VOW peacemakers summer camp, Toronto Island 2014

Fabulous and fun boat tour of the canals around Toronto Island with thanks to the Alton family

Fabulous and fun boat tour of the canals around Toronto Island with thanks to the Alton family








2013 Summer Camp

peacemaker summer camp 4 peacemaker summer camp 2 Peacemakers summer camp 1 Peacemakers summer camp 5