NS Summer Camp
Video testimonial from the Nova Scotia PeacemakeHers Summer Camp.
Nova Scotia PeacemakeHers Leadership Camp for Young Women
2015 PeacemakeHers Young Women’s Camp. Read our full summary report by clicking here.
Thinkers Lodge National Historic Site is the setting for the Nova Scotia camp, as it is a site which continues to promote the cause of peace. Thinkers Lodge is the birthplace of the Canadian Peace Movement and the international nuclear disarmament movement, making it a significant and inspirational location. Bringing women to Thinkers Lodge is significant, as the first gathering consisted almost entirely of men, so this both restores the balance and empowers women to take a strong role in furthering peace and social justice within communities at both the local and global levels.
2014 PeacemakeHers Camp Success
August, 2014 Nova Scotia Voice of Women for Peace put on a wonderful peace day at Thinker’s Lodge in Pugwash, Nova Scotia. Sunday, August 24th, at the Lobster Factory (Dining Hall), Thinkers Lodge, Pugwash, NS.
The event was free to attend.
While the primary focus of PeacemakeHers is engaging young women in global peace
education, the 2014 event was intergenerational, using a collaborative process of learning
together and from each other. PeacemakeHers recognizes that the vision of peace is as
diverse as those women who work towards it.
23 women attended.
- Annie Chau, counsellor and anti-violence program director gave examples of activities in a two-year program to prevent violence at St. Francis Xavier University.
- Singer-songwriter Carmen Mikol sang inspirational songs and spoke words of peace.
- Long-time VOW members Sandy Greenberg and Sarah Morgan compared a feminist, cooperative society which results in peace with a patriarchal, hierarchical society that culminates in war. The presentations were interspersed with individual and group activities focused on planning peace activities.
Thanks for the generous financial contributions from:
- Nova Scotia Voice of Women for Peace
- The Alexa McDonough Institute for Women, Gender and Social Justice
- The Nova Scotia Advisory Council on the Status of Women
- Saint Mary’s University provided a bus to transport participants from Halifax and Truro to Pugwash.
Sexual violence ‘not natural’
Published August 24, 2014 – 8:04pm
Keynote speaker Annie Chau stands by Pugwash Harbour with a ball of peacemaking yarn in hand at the Peace Camp 2014 on Sunday. (FRANCIS CAMPBELL / Truro Bureau)
PUGWASH — Keynote speaker Annie Chau couldn’t get her laptop to co-operate for the PowerPoint presentation Sunday morning.
But Chau was hardly flustered by the setback.
After all, this was the PeacemakeHers Camp 2014 and 23 women ranging from their early 20s to their senior years had gathered at Thinkers Lodge in Pugwash to talk, debate, consider and chew on the concept of peace.
“Violence is any form of domination and control,” Chau, 33, said to kick off her talk. “Violence is not natural. The boys-will-be-boys idea naturalizes sexual violence. Violence is symptomatic of other problems.”
Chau worked in Kingston, Ont., as a sexual violence prevention counsellor during the time of Col. Russell Williams’s murder and rape spree. She recently ran a two-year program on preventing violence against women at St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish and she is now involved in a sexual violence prevention program at Paq’tnkek First Nation near Antigonish.
“I always try to bring it back to the bigger picture,” Chau said. “Violence is something that affects us all. We have to focus violence prevention on the whole community.”
So where is the peace in all this? she asked.
“Living together with our differences, peace provides a freedom for us all,” Chau said. “We can point out the problems, but we have to be able to envision the solutions. How do we create a different value system, power without exploitation or abuse? How can power be creative?”
After her talk, Chau was asked if she had more questions than answers about achieving peace and preventing violence against women.
“Questions are really important,” she said. “There are questions that haven’t been continually asked. We need to keep asking what can we do for violence prevention. Dynamics and the world have changed. Sexting is a new phenomenon. How do we deal with that? How do we look at violence and violence prevention when it comes to newer things in our world like the Internet? I think it’s important to ask questions of ourselves and one another.”
Questions are necessary, she said, to ensure that everyone is critical and self-critical.
“But we also need to be compassionate and caring.”
Chau then led the group outside, formed a large circle and tossed a huge ball of yarn from woman to woman. Each woman who caught the yarn would tell how she hopes to promote peace on her return to her job and her home. Then they would hold the yarn and throw the ball to the next participant. In the end, everyone pulled together to create a web of yarn inside the circle, a peace connection.
“I really like what she said about the same people coming to these events over and over,” said Victoria Bell, 23, a Haligonian who works with Peaceful Schools International. “We need to get more people involved because this (peace and violence prevention) needs to be a whole community event.”
Next up was Carmel Mikol, a singer who grew up in North River, near Baddeck, with inspirational songs and words of peace. After lunch, the women were to break into workshop groups.
“Just anyone that’s interested in bringing peace to their communities,” Alida Campbell, the camp’s co-chairwoman, said of the event’s participants. “Anyone that is interested in peace work, social justice, those sorts of thing.
“This is the second year. We’re hoping to do it every year. We’re building on last year’s peace camp.”
About the Author
More about the PeacemakerHers 2014, Nova Scotia
PeacemakeHers 2014, a project of the Nova Scotia Voice of Women for Peace, a chapter of the Canadian Voice of Women for Peace, endeavors to create opportunities for learning and collaboration in peace leadership for women in the Atlantic Region.
Held at Thinkers Lodge in Pugwash, which continues to be an essential landmark of the peace movement, participants will gather and hear presentations on A Feminist Analysis of Peace, by long-time members of NSVOW Sandy Greenberg and Sarah Morgan; How We Address Sexual Violence Against Aboriginal Women by Annie Chau, Coordinator for Responding to and Preventing Sexual Violence, a two-year, collaborative project with the Antigonish Women’s Resource Centre and Paqtnkek Health Centre, and music by Carmel Mikol.
Alida Campbell, participant from PeacemakeHers 2013, said: “PeacemakeHers gave me the opportunity to attend the United Nations 58th Session on the Commission of the Status of Women in New York last March as part of the Canadian Voice of Women for Peace delegation to learn about and reflect on issues affecting women across the globe. Being a part of the PeacemakeHers conference and attending the UN Session has inspired, and helped me to engage my community in peace understanding, activities and discussion. I would encourage everyone to take part in this program! “
This aim of this one-day program aims to engage young women in an inter-generational exchange with others from a diversity of backgrounds and experiences. Scholarships to national and international peace events will be offered to those who go on to create peace activities in their local communities.
Voice of Women for Peace strongly supports the education of women to ensure the furtherance of peace on the local, national and international scene.