Flagship youth programme runs for third successful year

Anika Goddard, who completed a summer internship with RCF, reports on a recent programme she helped to deliver:

This week, the Rose Castle Foundation welcomed twenty-six 13 to 17-year-olds from Jewish, Muslim and Christian backgrounds back to Patterdale Hall in Penrith for the third Emerging Peacemakers Programme (EPP).

Following the success of the Emerging Peacemakers Programme last year, the first since 2019, ten of the young people were returning alumni. Sixteen came fresh to the programme for the first time.

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The programme focused on equipping a new generation of peacebuilders through a mixture of reconciliation training, conversation, question-asking and plenty of fun team-building activities.

85% of the young people felt that they had built deeper relationships over the course of the week

80% felt they had gained a better understanding of other faiths.

74% felt that they had gained a better understanding of their own faith

Living alongside each other, participants worked with Patterdale Hall staff in activities such as low ropes, canoeing, archery and trust exercises. After these activities, staff often guided participants to reflect on what they had learned about communication, collaboration and other key teambuilding skills.

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In sessions, alumni worked with Stephanie and John from the RETOPEA project to create films explaining their perspective and experience of religious differences and tolerance. The films were then screened for all participants to enjoy.

Workshops equipped participants with tools such as the 12 Habits of a Reconciler to begin thinking through what peacemaking might look like in their communities and futures. Scriptural Reasoning also enabled those present to look closely not just at their own scriptures but passages from the texts of their friends.

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Crucial to the success of the programme were the financial support of the Benefact Trust, Cumbria Community Foundation, and the Hadfield Trust, with the local setting providing a uniquely accessible opportunity for Cumbrian youth.

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Following the success of mid-year reunions with last year’s cohort, participants planned this year’s reunion and next steps. There was a lot of excitement and enthusiasm for what will come next, demonstrating the strength of the bonds participants had built between themselves over the course of the week.

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Rose Castle Foundation is proud to continue supporting these young people in their engagement with reconciliation work throughout the coming year and beyond as they continue to be and become peacemakers of the future.

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