OpenIDEO is an open innovation platform. Join our global community to solve big challenges for social good. Sign Up / Login or Learn more

Justice-Peace Building Wilderness Retreat/Camping

Interfaith, spirit and culture Wilderness Retreat (storytelling camp fire) as a tool to build just-peace, healing, trust and reconciliation!

Photo of Sokthea Phay
0 2

Written by

What problem does the idea help to solve and how does your solution work? (2,000 characters maximum)

This idea is working toward eliminating racial discrimination, systematic oppression and exclusion as well as hate crimes by promoting the strength of diversity, inclusion, justice-peach building, trust, healing and reconciliation. In order to build bridge, peace and justice, we will create a more welcoming and inclusive space for our target groups share stories, bond and build trust to reconcile and heal. To do so, the most impactful and inclusive tool to bring people together is the nature and wilderness camping that uses camp fire as natural tool for positive transformation, reconciliation, healing and justice-peace building. Camp fire during the wilderness camping will bring people together to share joys, struggles, stories, passions and actionable visions. Camp fire is the cultural and traditional norm of all humanity that our ancestors used to pass on the evolutionary and peaceful tradition of human being from one generations to another on matter what culture or ethnicity we are from. During series of the wilderness camping and camp fires, we will conduct many inclusive activities for participants to go through like interfaith dialogue of diversity, cultural competencies trainings, community peace and justice organizing, building shelters, interfaith and spirituality prayers, orienteering and hiking and mental health first aid.

Geography of focus (500 characters)

Our target population are youth and families both from immigrant communities and long-standing residents, receiving communities and organizations, indigenous native American spirituality leaders, diverse faith leaders, LGBTQ groups, people with disability, peace activists from local and national organizations and government agencies. Our direct service area is Long Beach, California, USA as Long Beach is one of the most diverse cities facing social isolation, hate crimes and systematic poverty.

Building Bridges: What bridge does your idea build between people on the move and neighbors towards a shared future of stability and promise? (500 characters)

Building bridge between people, immigrants, refugees and migrants from all backgrounds and preparing receiving communities and government agencies to be more welcoming and equitably inclusive. This will work toward eliminating hate crimes, racial discrimination and systematic oppressions.

What human need is your idea solving for? (1,000 characters)

This idea is solving for generational traumas, institutional racism, hate crimes, community fragment and divisiveness, systematic poverty and oppression to fulfill the human needs of joy, audacity of hope and dignity. By solving these issues and building bridges, we help to break down the often negative perceptions and stereotypes often associated with the national debate by bringing people together and utilize their great strength of diversity.

What will be different within the community of focus as a result of implementing your idea? (1,000 characters)

The actionable impacts I am working to address are the reduce of hate crimes and gun violence and increase of civic engagement and socioeconomic equity to pursuit better life, liberty and happiness. To know we are creating positive change over the course of our proposed projects, we will conduct more community peace and bridge-building event in order to do community survey of at least 50,000 samples. People who attend the community peace and bridge-building events will be asked to complete an anonymous survey to get their experiences over the course of on-going projects. We will work with local churches, temples, mosques, schools, community colleges, university, hospitals, non-profit organizations, government agencies and financial institutions to help us leverage supports, develop the surveys, monitor the results, carry out the surveys and sustain this effort. We will also hire external and independent evaluation consultant help us measure the actionable impacts we create.

What is the inspiration behind your idea? (1,000 characters)

As I am immigrant youth of color from minority Cambodian community, I was one the victims of hate crimes. Ten and thousands of Cambodian elders living in Long Beach who survived from the Cambodian genocide isolated themselves from whole community because of mental illness. Because of direct and generational post-traumatic stress and other major depressive disorders, systematic exclusion to minority and hate crimes, it prevent thousands of Cambodian and other minority communities from being able to access resources, participating in civic and political life as well as breaking out the cycle of mental illness and systematic poverty.

Describe the dynamics of the community in which the idea is to be implemented. (1,000 characters)

Long Beach, California is one of the most diverse urban cities in the U.S. 41% of our residents are Latino, 29% are White, 13% are African American or Asian/Pacific Islander, and 3% are multicultural. Twenty-five percent of the city's population is under the age of 18. Long Beach is very segregated economically with the middle and upper class mostly living in the eastern and northern parts of the city while the low-income live in and around the 90813 zip code. Our Community Development YMCA is located in and primarily serves the 90813 area where 33% of the families and 46% of children under 18 live below the poverty line. The average household income is $30,833 compared to $61,400 for CA. The ethnic composition of this community is different from the city; 65% of our residents are Latino, 14% are Asian/Pacific Islander, 11% are African American, 6% are White, and 3% are multicultural. In 90813, 41% of the population was foreign-born compared with 27% in California.

How does your idea leverage and empower community strengths and assets to help create an environment for success? (1,000 characters)

The Community Development Branch has a long history of working collaboratively with residents and non-profit and public organizations to identify and address the community development, human service and education needs of our culturally diverse and predominantly low-income area. The branch was created as a "non-traditional" YMCA, with a mandate to address the priority issues identified by our children, youth and families. A key belief underlying all of our work is that community residents must play a strong role in the development and implementation of programs. Leadership development is crucial to all of our efforts, regardless of program focus. To successfully serve our population, we must actively involve youth and parents, continually modify programs, respond flexibly and creatively to residents' desires, understand and promote strengths, increase cross-cultural understanding and interaction, and enhance the skills of residents so they can lead when our programs are gone.

What other partners or stakeholders will work alongside you in implementing the idea, if any? (1,000 characters)

Current Partner: 1- 6 YMCAs across Long Beach, 50 YMCA across Los Angeles County and over 200 YMCAs across the state of California 2- Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles 3- Asian American Advancing Justice 4- Pacific Asian Counseling Services 5- City of Long Beach 6- City of Los Angles 7- Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health 8- Los Angeles County Department of Health and Human Services 9- Private foundations Partners we hope to work with: 1- Mosque, Churches, Buddhist and Hindu Temple and faith-based organizations 2- The Long Beach Islamic Center, South Coast Interfaith Council, The LGBTQ Center and Temple Beth Shalom, Long Beach Jewish Center 3- Citi Bank Community Development 4- Bank of America

What part of the displacement journey is your solution addressing

  • Arriving and settling at a destination community

Tell us how you'd describe the type of innovation you are proposing

  • Systems design: Solutions that target changing larger system

Idea Proposal Stage

  • Blueprint: We are exploring the idea and gathering the inspiration and information we need to test it with real users.

Group or Organization Name

Community Development YMCA of Greater Long Beach

Tell us more about your group or organization [or lived experience as a displaced person?] (1000 characters)

The Community Development YMCA works with youth and families to teach skills, build community leaders and gain resources to overcome the multiple barriers to education and upward economic mobility. We provide multiple programs, classes, advocacy trainings and unique opportunities for our families to help them to better help themselves and their children, become civically engaged and educated and lastly to navigate the difficult political and legal environment that has been created with this past year's elections. We now provide legal and social direct services to undocumented immigrants through our New American Welcome Center Program. We have now reached a national stage in being able to influence the youth development movement and the newcomer immigrant cause through sharing our best practices at national policy advising councils at YUSA.

Website URL:

Type of submitter

  • We are a registered Non-Profit Organization

Organization Headquarters: Country

United States of America

Organization Headquarters: City / State

Long Beach, California


Join the conversation: