Peace Pole Dedicated at Kawanhee Chapel On July 13, 2014
By Michael Altmaier
Camp Kawanhee dedicated a peace pole at our outdoor chapel. This is the dedication speech given by Michael Altmaier on that day. Good morning. Today, we celebrate the dedication of the Kawanhee Peace Pole here at our chapel.
The Camp Kawanhee of today is quite different from the Kawanhee of the 1920s. In the early days of Kawanhee, we were nearly 100 % made up of Christian boys from the United States. We now have campers and counselors from all over the United States and the world. We also have campers and counselors who are believers of several different religions. We have tried to reflect this new Kawanhee in our chapel services. For many years, Kawanhee had a chaplain on staff who did all of the Sunday services here at the point. Today, we don't have a chaplain. Instead, we have different speakers every week. These speakers are young counselors and even some campers. Graham M. gave a talk at the chapel when he was 10. Now he's a senior counselor. The messages here at the chapel relate to your lives here at Kawanhee. They try to help you become a better camp citizen or show you how camp can change your life. We hope these messages will appeal to campers and counselors of all faiths. We also have a great choir made up of counselors and campers of all different backgrounds and faiths. There is great joy in the singing we do here and is an important part of our service at the chapel.
So we hope you see the peace pole as another symbol of our openness at Kawanhee and our services here at the chapel. We will not take down symbols. The Christian cross will remain, and soon we will add a Star of David and a symbol of Islam.
There is nothing more universal or worthwhile than the desire for peace in our world and in our camp. Our peace pole says "May peace prevail on earth". This phrase is written in seven other languages on the pole. We will turn the pole occasionally , so a different language can be seen by the audience.
So I hope the pole will represent the peace you feel when you come here every Sunday. I think it is the most beautiful spot in camp as you look down to the base of the chapel and then across to the mountains. I always enjoy the calmness I feel here and hope you do also. It is a place I often come by myself, just to think or look out at our beautiful environment. We have a very busy life here at Kawanhee and the peace we feel here is a nice transition from moment to moment or day to day or week to week.
So in that spirit of Kawanhee calmness and peace we dedicate this peace pole today. May you always feel peace and love here.