Children From Ten Countries Enjoy Summer Camp In Biloxi

The ritual looked rather strange. Each child, with eyes closed, was escorted into the school gym.

"Having a leader lead you somewhere, and they're not sure where they're going," Camp Director Laura Tate explained.

Then, blindfolded and surrounded by their peers, each child learned to fall without fear.

"Pass me," a girl said with a smile.

"It's more trust games," Tate said. "That way they really bond. If you trust someone, then you're more close friends."

Fostering global friendships is the goal behind every game at the Children's International Summer Village in Biloxi. The 39 delegates represent ten countries. Many are too young to know about hate, prejudice, and war.

"You make friends, not only from your country, but other countries and learn about other cultures," said 11-year-old Miguel Gaviria. He's a delegate from Colombia.

"I learned a lot of new languages like 'good morning' and 'good night'," said Iceland Delegate Hrefna Bjorg. "We learned new religions and stuff that they have."

The children also get to share their unique music, customs, and cuisine.

"We have a National Night and we teach them about the capital and the land and the weather," Hrefna said. "And they all got to try some Icelandic food."

When asked if the other kids liked it, she laughed and said, "No."

As they discover each other's cultures, they learn about teamwork, trust, and tolerance. It's an early start to promoting world peace.

"They'll start to see children are children. They all play, they all laugh, and we can cry sometimes," Tate said. " We're all pretty much the same, no matter what color we are, what language we speak, or what religion we practice."

Biloxi is one of eight sites in the United States hosting the Summer Village. The camp ends July 19th. You can learn more about the program at an open house this Saturday, July 14th. It will be held at Michel 7th Grade School in Biloxi from 1:00 until 3:00 p.m.