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KNOXVILLE — Playing sports is one activity people from different religions, countries and cultures can enjoy together.

A camp organized by two University of Tennessee, Knoxville, students will encourage local Muslim, Jewish and Christian teens to appreciate each other’s cultures by playing sports together.

The Sport 4 Peace Camp will be held July 14-18 in Knoxville for youth ages 13-17.

In conjunction with the camp, sports equipment will be collected and later donated to children in the Middle East.

Sarah Hillyer and Ashleigh Huffman, doctoral students in sport sociology, created the organization “Sport 4 Peace,” and have worked extensively in Iran and Israel. The women, who both played college basketball, are using their experiences to gather information for research and their dissertations.

Hillyer has been a key developer of the Israeli National Women’s Softball Team since 2001. After realizing there were no organizations offering girls-only sports camps as a means to promote peace in the region, Hillyer and Huffman created their own camp for Palestinian, Israeli Jewish and Israeli Arab girls in Israel in 2006. Last summer, the women talked about this camp to Jewish teens in Knoxville and a group of Israelis visiting them, and the teens expressed interest in a similar camp in Knoxville.

“We accepted the challenge and decided to ‘think global and act local,'” Hillyer said. “We have seen firsthand how lives can be changed through sport. We are curious if a similar opportunity offered in a community here in the U.S. can yield similar results.”

• Sport 4 Peace Camp

Through the fun of sport, children learn how to get along, and that experience could help pave the way for a more peaceful world.

Who — Youth ages 13-17 in Knoxville and surrounding area

When — 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., July 14-18

Where — Webb School of Knoxville

What — Campers will play basketball, volleyball, Ultimate Frisbee and soccer while getting to know each other and learning about their different cultures.

More information — To enroll in the camp, go to http://www.sport4peace.org/AppKnox08NEW.asp.

• Sport 4 Peace Equipment Drive

Donations of new and gently used sports equipment will be taken to children in the Middle East. “Messages of peace” written by teens participating in the Sport 4 Peace Camp will accompany the donations.

The most needed goods are basketballs, soccer balls, volleyballs, baseballs, softballs, basketball nets, Frisbees, jump ropes, baseball gloves and air pumps.

Donations can be dropped off at these locations:

• Bailey Education Complex, room 332A, University of Tennessee
• HPER, room 322, University of Tennessee
• University Center in front of Rocky Top Cafe, University of Tennessee
• Arnstein Jewish Community Center

For more information about donations, contact Huffman at ahuffman@utk.edu or (502) 517-1081.


Elizabeth Davis, UT media relations, (865) 974-5179, elizabeth.davis@tennessee.edu

Sarah Hillyer, (502) 803-5895, shillyer@utk.edu