Hamm, Garciaparra are among this year’s guest stars at Seeds of Peace Camp | Portland Press Herald

OTISFIELD — Cool sunglasses masking his eyes, microphone in hand, Wil Smith worked his audience, priming them with introductions of the visitors. By the time Smith reached Mia Hamm, his campers at Seeds of Peace were beyond delight.

Teenage boys and girls, mostly from the Middle East, were heading to a new level of excitement. Waiting for his wife after his own noisy welcome, Nomar Garciaparra didn’t try to hide his smile.

So this is why his agent kept inviting him to this former boys camp on the pine-lined shore of Pleasant Lake. Actually, Arn Tellem’s reason was only beginning to reveal itself.

“You know the lives they’ll go back to, but you look in their faces and see the joy,” Garciaparra said Thursday morning. “They’re giving me much more than I can give them.”

This is Seeds of Peace, the oasis away from the world’s centuries-old battle for hearts and minds and land in the Middle East. Children from other places where fear and danger are constant companions also arrive here each summer.

It’s a universal mission: Dialogue can affect peace better than terror. Plant that seed.

Click for the rest of Steve Solloway’s story in the Portland Press Herald.

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