Seeds of Peace USA Summer Camp

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The USAFL, Boston Demons Australian Rules football club, and Seeds of Peace are bringing Australian Rules football to Maine this summer. Earlier this year, Peace Team players Yonatan Belik and Leith Jaber contacted the USAFL in hopes of introducing the sport to a summer long camp, located in Otisfield, Maine.

The Seeds of Peace is a non-profit organization dedicated to engaging youth who are surrounded by cultural conflict and religious hatred. The Peace Team, while not a product of the Seeds of Peace, is a great example of bringing two groups together for a common goal. Formed in 2007, a group of Israeli and Palestinian athletes ignored the long-standing division between Israel and Palestine, and formed the Peace Team, as highlighted by the AFL documentary “The Essence of the Game.” 

Belik and Jaber were selected as camp counselors for the Seeds of Peace and decided they wanted Australian Football to be an activity for the 300 teenage campers. Attendees are expected to travel from Pakistan, India, Afghanistan, Israel, Palestine, Jordan, Egypt and the US to participate in the Seeds of Peace program.

The Boston Demons will conduct clinics during the first session of the camp. Says Demons President Joseph Connor, “it’s an honor to be involved in such a great event. I am looking forward to meeting the campers and working with Seeds of Peace.”

Pictured (second photo) are coaches Yonatan Belik, Jake LaChance and Leith Jaber with their team of seeds. 

"We had 18 kids from Egypt, Jordan, Palestine, Israel, India, the UK, and USA, choose Footy over water skiing, rock climbing and other activities. We had a fantastic week learning the basic skills of the game and even had some small matches 9 on 9, using cricket wickets as posts. Thanks to the USAFL for being so gracious and kind sending us 6 Footies for use at camp, we are hoping some players from the Boston Demons will come down this Sunday for a workshop, the kids are psyched.

9 out of the 18 kids have decided to continue playing this following week, and by that giving up additional cool activities, in order to continue playing the best game In the world.

They are ALL cheering during training AUSSIE, AUSSIE, AUSSIE, OYE, OYE, OYE and finishing training with 1,2,3 Aussie Seeds of peace!

Additionally 4 of the older kids who are part of the "leaders program" at camp were away for the day, leaving us with 14 kids." said Yonatan.

If you would like to learn more about the Seeds of Peace, please contact Camp and American Seeds Program Coordinator Sarah Brajtbord at 212-573-8040 or SBrajtbord@seedsofpeace.org.

The Boston Demons Australian Rules football club can be contacted via Joseph Connor (president@bostondemons.com).

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