American Interfaith Camps

Ibraheem Kateeb   
Holly Farr   
Peggy Parish   
Peter R. Parish   
Richard Atkin   
Kadiyah Muhammad   
Kate Kaplan   
Alan Kaplan   
Edmund Adams   
Harry Corpening   
Rabbi Murray Ezring   
Imam Yaser Ahmed   
Rebecca Hash   
Joseph Kodsi   
Ahmet Sula   
Lynne Sheffer   

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Peter R. Parish Executive Director of American Interfaith Camp
Background
The originator and co–founder of AIC, Peter serves as the Executive Director of Elk Shoals United Methodist Camp. He came to the camp after 20+ years of pastoral ministry in rural North Carolina. He currently serves as the pastor of the Chapel on the New, located at Elk Shoals Camp. Most of his life has been spent in community involvement, social reform and he has been active in the quest for peace and social justice.

Involvement with AIC
The formation of AIC came through the knowledge that ethnic, cultural and religious diversity can separate us from our common humanity. With the occurrence of 9/11 racial and religious discrimination threatens again the cause of hope and peace. It is to teach tolerance and trust that AIC exists.

Vision, hopes and dreams
I hope the message of AIC can be spread globally

Best moments
Every day spent at the AIC camps produces words of wisdom and visions of hope from the children.

Faith group Christian
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Peggy Parish
Background:
Medical Technologist at Ashe Memorial Hospital, and serves as Director of Elk Shoals, in charge of daily operations. As Pete’s wife, the ministry at Elk Shoals and with AIC is a "team effort".

Involvement with AIC
Involved with AIC from it’s inception. Ongoing duties involve camp planning and recruitment of campers and staff.

Vision, hopes and dreams for AIC
To see the program grow and expand to reach more and more children throughout the world.

Faith Group Christian

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Richard Atkin President of the Board
Background information
Born in England. I have held leadership positions at technology companies for over 20 years. Currently CEO of Sunquest Information Systems. Sunquest is a healthcare diagnostic software solutions provider. We develop and supply software solutions to hospital laboratories world-wide. Sunquest became the first corporate sponsor of AIC in 2009. How and when I first became involved with AIC While volunteering at Elk Shoals as a family during the summer, we had the opportunity to see the great work taking place at the camp first hand and decided to get involved to help. In December 2008 I was asked to take on the role of President of the Board of American Interfaith Camps, Inc. I am honored to be associated with this wonderful program.

Why I became involved with AIC
To do something and make a difference. I watched the video Trust Me and was hooked. The AIC approach, focusing on children and offering a safe, traditional camp setting to explore and build interfaith friendships, is a wonderful program. There is such a great need to do something to promote understanding, tolerance and world peace. Being an advocate for peace and understanding cannot be just about wishing things would change. Advocacy is about actively supporting the creation of an environment for change to take place. That is what AIC does and why I became involved.

My vision, hopes and dreams for AIC
To provide the opportunity for as many children as possible to experience the AIC program and provide them with the leadership tools to become advocates for peace and understanding in their respective communities. To see the program expand to more weeks and expand geographically with additional AIC camps, or affiliated programs, throughout North America, Europe and the Middle East.

Best moment and most significant learning since becoming involved in AIC Best moment
deciding to get involved.

Most significant learning
It is easy to sit on the side lines and watch, but it is much more rewarding to actively support something, to get involved and help make a difference.

Faith group Christian
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Alan Kaplan is a lifelong resident of North Carolina. He graduated from UNC–Greensboro in 1979, and UNC Law School in 1982. For 16 years he was a practicing domestic law attorney and computer hobbyist in Charlotte, North Carolina. In 1998, Alan ran for Clerk of Superior Court for Mecklenburg County on a technology platform against a multi-term incumbent. After losing the election, he closed his law practice and became a full time computer professional. He is now the Technical Security Officer for the Mid–Atlantic Region of the Department of Veteran’s Affairs. Alan has been a member of the Board of Trustees of Temple Israel and Havurat Tikvah in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Involvement with AIC
I believe that we are all children of Abraham. As such, the Jewish, Christian and Muslim faiths all have a common set of principals that guide how we should treat our fellow human beings. I believe that religious freedom and tolerance are a cornerstone of what makes America unique in the world. I believe that all prayer honestly made is heard by God regardless of faith. Both of our children have gone to AIC because of our commitment to these ideals. Interfaith Camp gives the opportunity for children to show how they worship God and to help them understand what we have in common. My vision for AIC is that the Elks Shoals camp be only the first of many interfaith camps. The seeds of peace are sown at AIC.
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Edmund "Ed" Adams
Background information
Attorney in Sparta, N.C.
Chair, Elk Shoals Board of Directors

How and when I first became involved with AIC
Enthusiastic about AIC since Pete Parish first proposed the interfaith camp. Have worked closely and supported Interfaith Camps at Elk Shoals.

Why I became involved with AIC
Strongly support Pete’s vision.

My vision, hopes and dreams for AIC
We will expand the AIC and its programs to do all we can for peace among the Abrahamic Faiths worldwide.

Best moment
That first year and seeing Trust Me become a reality.
Faith group United Methodist
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Harry Corpening
Background information
I have always been single, and my family has had a cabin about 2 miles down–river from the Camp for over 50 years. I was lucky to be a member of the Board at Camp Elk Shoals when Pete Parish was hired, and have liked him (and his wife Peggy) from the first day I met them. I grew up and still live in Winston-Salem, and try to get up to the Camp at least once every month.

How and when I first became involved with AIC
Having been a week–long volunteer at the very first Interfaith Camp, and having been at each and every Interfaith Camp staged at Elk Shoals since then, I have developed a deep desire to do what I can to make sure this endeavor continues and thrives. Creating a "secular entity" via which funds could be raised for the Camp seemed to be a no–brainer type of idea...so I supported this from the very beginning.

Why I became involved with AIC
I personally believe that when (in 50 years or so) the historyof the world is written of the last 10 years or so, organized religion may well be picked as the MOST destructive "entity" in the world today. All religions seem to take the same "stance" as George Bush delivered to the world after the 9–11 tragedy: you are either with us, or against us. All 3 of the Abrahamic religions have VERY good points...and all 3 of the Abrahamic religions have parts of their "faith beliefs" that I personally think are "screwy." We (as creatures of a common God) need to find ways to peacefully co–exist...and learn that just because we may have different beliefs does not make us a bad or threatening person. The Interfaith Camps do this with great ease...and they involve kids at an age where such insights can possibly change their life and beliefs.

My vision, hopes and dreams for AIC
I would hope that we have several Interfaith Camps each year (for both sexes), and that we get attendees from all over this large and diverse Country we live in. I know religion is not regional in its scope, but it would be good to get the insight and opinions of those who do not live in Northwest North Carolina. This idea of an Interfaith Camp is an endeavor who’s timeliness is surely without doubt!

My best moment and most significant learning since becoming involved in AIC
I hung 3 large lighted icons from the chimney of my house during Christmas (each being the religious symbol for each of the 3 Abrahamic religions). One morning I awoke to learn that during the night, someone had ripped the American flag I had hanging from my front porch, and threw it in the bushes. That proved to me the need of the expanding of the Interfaith Camps at Elk Shoals.

Faith group Christianity – Methodism (a member of Centenary United Methodist Church in Winston–Salem)

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Rebecca Hash
Background information
I am from Piney Creek, North Carolina (less than an hour away from Elk Shoals Camp). I am currently an Elementary Education and History student at Elon University, but I will graduate this May to find my own way in the "real" world.

How and when I first became involved with AIC
I first became involved with Elk Shoals Interfaith Camp when I was only 17 years old. Peggy’s mother asked me if I would be a counselor for the new girls’ camp. Not really knowing what I was getting into, I accepted her offer, and it has been one of the best decisions of my life! Ever since then I have slowly become part of the AIC family. In the fall of 2008, Pete asked me if I would join the AIC board, which I gladly accepted.

Why I became involved with AIC
I became involved in AIC so that I could contribute to of AIC’s aspiration to teach peace, harmony, love and acceptance to the children of the world. I love being with the children in the summer, but with AIC I can help them behind the scenes even when camp is technically not in session by voicing my opinions and lending a helping hand.

My vision, hopes and dreams for AIC
My vision for AIC is to not only teach children how to live with people of various faiths for a week, but to teach them how to thrive with one another’s diversity for the rest of their lives! My dream is that all of our work in the AIC will empower children and to encourage them to embrace all of the benefits of ALL forms of diversity so that they may share this understanding to the world to where it will spread like a wildfire of GOD in all areas of the globe!

My best moment and most significant learning since becoming involved in AIC
The most significant thing that I have learned since becoming involved in AIC is to see how many people care. We all share the same vision for AIC, yet there are so many people around the world who want to get their hands dirty too!

Faith group Christian (United Methodist)

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