In US, Fearful Campers Eye Middle East Conflict

"Kids are calling home, wanting to be in closer touch with their families to see if they've been affected. It puts them in a more fragile emotional state," Grad said.

At Maryland's Camp Shoresh, 14-year-old camper Nesiah Ely of Potomac, Maryland, said the fighting in the Middle East is disheartening.

"I think it's really hard to deal with, especially because we're in America, and it's really hard to think that you could change it or have something to help," she said.

In Maine, Seeds of Peace will welcome about 180 teenage international campers — including many from the Middle East — on Aug. 3. It will be a tense transition, but it's also a good time to help young people learn the power of dialogue, Khatib said.

"The kids are going to come over and they're going to be full of anger. They are already living in conflict, living in death and danger," Khatib said. "I need to be there for them, as a brother, as a father, as a friend."

———

Associated Press writers Carla K. Johnson in Chicago and Brian Witte in Adamstown, Maryland, contributed to this report.

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