Under the leadership of Peace Team Players, Leith and Yonathan, some 300 kids from all around the world -- Israel, Palestine, Jordan, Egypt, Pakistan, India, Afghanistan and the US including 80 kids from Maine and surrounding states -- have been introduced to Australian football.
Leith and Yonathan came to Aussie footy through the AFL's Peace Initiative. They were selected to be counsellors in the Seeds of Peace summer camp in Maine in the US and through their own experience of participating in the Peace Team are bringing together kids from different cultures and backgrounds through AFL.
After just one week, 18 kids from Egypt, Jordan, Palestine, Israel, India, the Uk, and US chose to play Australian football over water skiing, rock climbing and other exciting activities.
The kids had a fantastic week learning the basic skills of the game.
With the support of USAFL, which sent six footballs to the camp and players from the Boston Demons to conduct a workshop, the sport has got some of the kids pumped. They played short AFL 9s matches, using cricket wickets as goal posts.
"Nine out of the 18 have decided to continue playing this following week and give up additional activities," says Yonathan.
"They were all cheering during training 'Aussie Aussie Aussie Oi, Oi, Oi' and finished training with 'One, two, three, Aussie Seeds of peace'!"
Seeds of Peace is a peacebuilding youth organisation based in New York City, founded in 1993. Its main program is to bring youth from areas of conflict to its international camp in Maine.
The organisation also provides regional programming to support Seeds of Peace graduates, known as Seeds, once they return home.
Its mission is to empower youth from conflict regions to work for a better future.
Seeds of Peace has grown from a summer camp for 46 Arabs and Israelis to a year-round leadership program spanning 27 countries and 5,000 Seeds around the world.
Headquartered in New York City, Seeds of Peace has year-round staff in Amman, Gaza, Jerusalem, Kabul, Lahore, Mumbai, Otisfield, Ramallah, and Tel Aviv.