First Encounter: Holon and Lod 2012

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After several preparatory meetings with their YEEPI leaders, the students from Holon and Lod were ready to meet each other. The even started off with both schools arriving by bus to Ben Shemen Forest Park. This location was chosen since it is neutral and does not have any significance to either group of students. The meeting began with a large group circle and introduction to the day after which the students separated into groups, each of which was assigned a YEEPI leader.  The group played several games to “break the ice” and get to know each other, which appeared to be successful as even the quietest students were smiling and laughing along with the others. Following the icebreakers, the students had a short break before they were divided into boys and girls. While the boys enjoyed a game of football, the girls headed off on a short blindfolded nature walk, which they seemed to enjoy, although only a few of them actually managed the entire way without peeking!

The second half of the day, the students were taken to Adam and Eve – a center for educating about environmental sustainability. Again the students were divided into smaller groups before being taken on a tour of the premises. The area was well-organized with buildings made of clay; natural ornaments and furniture; a recycling area divided into paper; glass, plastic, and other waste; a composting area with nearby compost toilets; and a large garden full of vegetables and fruit trees. When the tour ended, the students were led to a section of the garden from where they could pick vegetables and fruit (mainly lemons) to use for preparing lunch.

Lunch preparation was a bit chaotic with only a few students actually dedicated to helping out while others played or just sat around talking. However, in the end, everyone managed to grab a small bite to eat before lining up to take a group photo. By the end of the day, it was clear that some barriers had come down and, although some students might have had some initial concerns about the day, they were now excited for their next meeting.

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