Participants were also able to create their own short videos about why their own religious practices are important to them.
DES MOINES, Iowa – A Des Moines Area Religious Council program is giving young Midwesterners a chance to see their neighborhoods in new ways.
At the DMARC Interfaith Leadership Camp, sixteen students spent July 20-24 touring Des Moines religious temples and learning about faith directly from the believers themselves.
“Not only were we able to visit classrooms and learn from a whiteboard setting, but we actually engaged with the culture and the religion itself,” said camper Ryan Sherman.
But it’s not all sightseeing — campers have written and produced their own short videos talking about why their own faith is so important to them.
Fatah Hassan, a Muslim student from Waukee, shared a story about donations to a family in need.
“I was just concentrating on the fact that Islam has five basic pillars and the one pillar I am concentrating on is zakat, that is charity. I’m making a video about my experience with it right now,” Hassan said.
On Sunday, July 24, campers were able to show their videos to friends and family at Drake University’s Sussman Theater.
What they have learned from each other goes far beyond belief for the campers.
“Exposure to other cultures is one of the best ways to not only learn about other religions, but also about food, culture and math, and even geography,” Sherman said. “I feel that traveling and meeting other people in their religions is very different and very important in helping society as a whole.”
After all camper videos have been viewed, they are shared online by the Iowa Interfaith Exchange, along with videos made by campers over the past few years.