Montclaire Grads Travel In The Name Of Peace & Understanding

CISV VillageThree Los Altos students left the comforts of home this summer and returned with a completely different view of the world – not to mention a host of friends from such faraway places as Latvia, the Netherlands and Ecuador.

The students, who had just graduated from fifth grade at Montclaire Elementary School in Los Altos, attended the Children’s International Summer Villages (CISV) program, a volunteer organization with camps around the world that promote peace and cross-cultural understanding.

Students Kaz Posley, who traveled to Italy, and Caroline Kane, who traveled to Washington, D.C., first learned about CISV from classmate Katie Mehuys, who traveled to Prague.

Katie comes from a family rooted in CISV – both her mother and two sisters have participated in programs, and she wanted to experience it as well.

CISV offers a four-week camp for students ages 10-12 from different countries. Each “village” hosts two boys, two girls and an adult leader. The students participate in a mix of educational, cultural and sporting activities that emphasize cooperative global and intercultural living.

“There are kids from other countries who are just like us, and they are not different just because of their culture or their country,” Caroline said. “They are just the same as us. They are similar, they have the same emotions and feelings.”

All three students enjoyed making friends with fellow students from around the world. “Now I realize how special it is to say I have a friend in El Salvador and in Finland and in Sweden,” Kaz said.

Many CISV activities are designed around discovering and discussing what is unique about each student and his or her homeland. Each student hosts a presentation in which he or she shares characteristics and qualities about his or her country. From s’mores to grilled cheese, Amelia Earhart to George Washington and YouTube to the Thriller dance, Kaz, Caroline and Katie enlightened fellow students about life in the U.S.

Kaz said he especially enjoyed learning about the other countries and tasting different types of food. All agreed that the camp was educational – but didn’t feel like schoolwork. “It was kind of like you were learning about other countries without trying to learn, which was kind of cool, because it was more fun than school,” Katie said.

For more information on CISV, visit: cisvusa.org

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