Jacksonville Youth Explore Conflict Resolution at CISV SRMC (Southeast Regional Mini-Camp) in Atlanta

by Emma Notari

Over Labor Day Weekend, I participated in the 2015 Southern Regional Mini Camp (SRMC) for CISV in Atlanta, GA.  There were four different CISV chapters represented during the two-day minicamp including chapters from Jacksonville, Atlanta, Chattanooga and the Smoky Mountains. CISV ( is an international nonprofit founded in 1950 that educates and inspires action for a more just and peaceful world through educational programs primarily for youth.

During minicamp, you participate in educational and fun activities.  The 2015 SRMC’s theme was “To Infinity and Beyond”, a theme derived from the popular movie Toy Story.  The weekend’s activities followed this theme while having a connection to the real world. For example, one of the activities divided the CISVers into groups and were assigned one of the antagonist Sid’s mangled and misused toys from the movie. Each group took on a disability such as blindness and being mute as the activity progressed. One of the groups, however, had no disability and in turn finished considerably faster than the other groups. After the activity, we all gathered for a debrief, a discussion held after each activity to discuss its deeper meaning. We were asked if we believed having a disability wasn’t fair because the campers without disabilities finished much faster, and of course we all agreed. Then campers were asked if any had cheated throughout the game and took off their handicaps to go faster, and some groups had. We all realized then that people with disabilities don’t have a choice to “take off” their handicaps. They have to live with what they have every day and have to deal with it.

I learned many things in the SRMC and in the process made friends who I can’t wait to see again next year. Youth of the CISV Junior Jacksonville Chapter host monthly activities open to the public ranging from service events to social outings, building  friendships and leadership skills.  The October activity will relate to conflict and resolution and will be held on Sunday, October 25 at 2:00 pm at Jacksonville University River House.  CISV also offers international programs for youth and adults.  More than 45 Jacksonville youth and adults participated in programs in Germany, Norway, El Salvador, Colombia and Turkey in 2015.  CISV will announce its 2016 international programs at Jacksonville University on October 25 at 4 pm.  Applications are due by January 12, 2016.  More information is available at

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