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Much of our community life is an experiment. A good idea may prove to be the best ever, or the wrong timing. The Gathering of our Tribe last Sunday was simply awesome. During this protracted period of my pondering “structure”, I felt it was time to create a platform outside of our campus where former military units would have the chance to integrate, and to see what would happen if different age groups were mixed, older teens with younger. To see if a new structure was appropriate, if our assessment of this season was correct.

“The picnic was simply amazing. The place and the weather were perfect. It was wonderful that we were all together. There was no division of ages. This was the true expression of family. I experienced joy, comfort and beauty." - Saddam. Former Child Soldier.

“Hi there I am Jadlin and my new role in Springs of Hope is the leader of our group which I named Hope Heroes. Today as always SOHF did its best to make everything perfect for us. I had come to the place where the camp and the tent were taking all the air out of me and I could not breathe. I received new breath, both because we were in nature, in a beautiful place on the mountain and also SOHF our family, our tribe, gave us air to breathe again. It was fantastic to dance again, I could not stop, air came into my body and my mind with every step. I returned to the tent with strength, joy and hope.”

"It was a great day for us. I made new memories and my journey took another step. It was important that we mixed with both girls and the older teenagers. We needed this connection with time to play games, eat and talk with everyone, not just our usual group.

This event showed us how much we are loved, respected and valued. I learned new lessons, I took new hope and came back to my tent feeling proud."

Sufyan. Former Child Soldier & Military Leader of the Cubs of the Caliphate.

"It was a special day. I was with all my friends. The food was heaven. I ate four skewers of chicken, four plates of rice and three bowls of salad. Thanks, it was great."

Milad, Former Cub of the Caliphate, trained as a suicide bomber.

“Hi friends. I was so proud of my boys. I was proud that they went outside of their usual boundaries and connected with everyone, even the girls. This has happened on the sports field with other boys, but it was the first time in a social event, and the first time to cooperate with girls. I wonder if their breaking of silence when some of them participated in a film helped them? I don't know, but I know that this was a new day for them and I am very proud of them.”

Shex Sirwan. Sports Coach.

I recall how the journey of the Children of Israel was so well recorded. Not so much from the perspective of destination but the “going out" point, the starting point.

A friend released a short video this week as part of a TV series that he is doing on our work, about the boys to whom we refer as The Boys from Baghouz. May I encourage you to take a few minutes in order to understand the starting point of their journey with us, their setting out point. You will rejoice with us in every step they have taken since that setting out point, including gathering of the tribe picnics.

Watch the video | The Boys from Baghouz: