Peace Games launched

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September 22, 2003 // UPDATED 11:04 am - April 30, 2007
By: Scott Russell
Scott Russell

The park system anticipates 1,000 youth will participate in Downtown's inaugural Peace Games event, a mix of sports, arts, music and food, bringing together youth from different cultures.

The event is set for a school release day, Thursday, Oct. 16,

1-4 p.m. at the Nicollet Island Pavilion, said Norman Merrifield, assistant superintendent for recreation at the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board.

The goal is to "bring people from different cultures together in a positive environment," he said. "It is not an anticrime program. It is pro-people, pro-youth, pro-community."

Participating organizations include the American Indian OIC, Arizona Bridge Project, Walker Art Center Teen Arts Council, Southeast Asian Community Council, Somali Women in Minneapolis, Hennepin County, the University of Minnesota, the Minnesota Department of Education and What's Up, a youth information hotline.

It is an effort to replicate a successful program in Indianapolis, Merrifield said. (See

Heidi Pope, program manager for children and youth

programs, said the event targets people 11-17, but all ages are welcome. The goal is to offer a wide range of cultural activities. The American Indian OIC will demonstrate lacrosse, while another agency may demonstrate kato, a Southeast Asian game similar to volleyball, wherein a rattan ball is kicked or head-butted over the net.

Other agencies will bring food and have art projects or dance and music demonstrations, she said. Events will be


The Park Board is looking for volunteers and other partnering organizations. Those interested should call Pope at