Cara Crouch

As Interviewed by A.L., March 15, 2019

Cara Crouch: In Her Own Words

Ultimate Peace takes ultimate frisbee to teach kids in current day Israel conflict resolution. There’s a leadership program, where they attend trainings and the goal is to create leaders from all cultural backgrounds to eventually become leaders that can resolve conflicts without violence. The most powerful thing it does is it introduces them to kids of different cultural groups. It brings this group together and at first they’re scared of each other or, they’re distrustful of each other, they speak different languages but over the course of the week, they become friends. They have a friend and an ally that is in this group that they’re supposed to dislike or distrust, that they have been told by media, their society, and history that is someone that they are supposed to be in conflict with. They realize that we’re all just people, so, it helps them make friends with people that they wouldn’t normally come into contact [with]. It brings them that leadership peace and that conflict resolution. It teaches them, when there is conflict, how to resolve it in a respectful way instead of turning to violence and you have to accept a disagreement, which is a big part of conflict resolution. People are increasingly bad at being able to accept something that’s not exactly what they want, and that’s an incredibly powerful thing.

Nowadays, are the people/children of Palestine getting along better? The politicians? I’d say it’s probably worse than ever. The people that are leading both sides are not coming to a peace deal, they’re not abiding by the treaties [and] peace deals they come up with. The people that live there coexist, mostly peacefully. A lot of it is just that they don’t live together, and they coexist but they don’t interact. The children, if you provide a space for them to come together, they do, because they don’t have a lifetime of society telling them that they have to believe one way or another. So, that’s why this program is so powerful. Unless you have a program like this, they don’t have a reason to come together. The politicians and the people in charge, it’s not pretty right now. Which is the point of Ultimate Peace, is to produce leaders that think differently. There’s just, a lot of blame. It’s been, inflamed by a lot of the violence. Violence has done a lot to shape the minds of people and then you grow up with that violence and it’s very easy to blame the other side. It’s living in fear that people are more willing to feel so strongly about another group of people. You’ve got groups of people in Israel and Palestinian territories that are either being judgmental towards or, even worse, violent towards each other because of their beliefs. Ultimate is an incredible tool to teach social justice and to bring groups of people together and to show them the humanity of these other groups. It was so powerful to watch those kids make relationships with people that they would never have talked to.