Peace Bus Makes A Stop in the Niagara Region

Faculty of Applied Health Sciences

Peace Bus Makes A Stop in the Niagara Region

Department of Recreation & Leisure Studies

The Peace Bus recently made a stop in the Niagara Region on its journey across Canada. Samantha Dear, a Master of Arts student in the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences (Leisure Studies) and Ryan Howard, a Doctoral Student in Applied Health Sciences (Social & Cultural Health Studies) organized the visit.

The Peace Bus is a new program sponsored by CISV Canada, which has chapters across Canada and is affiliated with CISV International. CISV’s distinctive educational programmes are designed to bring together teenagers from diverse backgrounds with the intent of developing cross-cultural knowledge, leadership skills, shared values and to encourage teens to become global citizens and strive for a more peaceful world.

The Peace Bus is a "carbon neutral" adventure journey across the country by van during which teens carry out community-oriented projects, learn from local experts about issues of peace, environmental and social justice, and put on workshops. During their visit, Samantha Dear offered an evening presentation about globalization, its effects on Canadians’ everyday lives, and how teens can become more aware of their own journey in becoming active and engaged global citizens. Samantha included several key findings from her own research that explores the effectiveness of international service learning/volunteer projects that she is currently compiling for her final thesis defense. After her presentation, Samantha expressed to participants that she was impressed by the level of passion, critical inquiry, and commitment to issues of global justice at such a young age.

Dr. Tim O’Connell, an Associate Professor of Recreation and Leisure Studies, hosted the Peace Bus at his home in the Short Hills area of Pelham where the teens and their leaders camped out in his front yard. Brent Firkser (a colleague of Samantha and Ryan’s), who is a Field Experience Facilitator for the Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies and former student of Tim’s at Lakehead University, was one of the group’s leaders. Dr. O’Connell remarked, “I’m always amazed at the fantastic work that former students like Brent are engaged in that uses adventure, the outdoors, and recreation to make an impact on young peoples’ lives. I enjoy becoming a learner again in situations like this and take away as much as I can from current and past students alike. This was a great opportunity for Samantha to share her research, and for her and Ryan to organize a stop on the Peace Bus tour that clearly benefitted everyone involved.”

After their stay in Short Hills, the Peace Bus departed for Niagara Falls before making its way East towards Halifax.