Surprises Abound at Kallah!
Posted on 07/18/2012 @ 04:40 PM
It has been an eventful day at Kallah; last night participants returned from our exchange with Camp Morasha, Mesora and Moshava (more on that coming soon) to an "ambush" where they were divided into military units and required to discover pieces of intelligence leading to...Maccabiah 2012!
Our teens were divided into six teams and briefed for the following day. We prepared them for a day of competitions, excitement and fun, but what we didn't tell them is that our day would be taking place in Warwick, NY at URJ Kutz Camp!
This morning, we surprised our teens and loaded them on the bus, where we in turn surprised 200+ NFTY teens by arriving to join them for the day. Our six teams combined with theirs and team captains from both camps joined forces for an incredible collaboration.
While the weather has not been so great, teens are dancing, participating in a very serious debate about cereals (our favorite quote so far: "Crunch Berries promote Pluralism because of all the different colors and tastes"), and spending time together.
We'll be back at camp tonight in time to get ready for a low-key day tomorrow, followed by a return visit from our Morasha/Mesora/Moshava friends, and guests for Limmud Kallah on Friday.
So much more to come from us soon, but for now, we're signing off from Warwick to go be with our friends from Kutz!
Impact Boston 2012 Session 2
Posted on 07/17/2012 @ 11:00 PM
Over the past week, Impact: Boston has been making a huge difference in the local community of Prospect Hill. Our group has been working with Officer June conway at the Waltham Police Department Community Policing unit to not only make physical improvements to the area, but also to bring a burst of new energy and motivation to the residents, specifically the children of the community.
With the help and hard work of kids in the neighborhood, we cleaned up, weeded, and re-mulched the playground to inspire kids to congregate there and use it well. In addition, we trimmed hedges and bushes and weeded gardens to beautify the area, re-painted tables in the courtyard, and even built new benches and painted them to give the local kids more usable space to play in.
Between the actual improvements made to the neighborhood, and the improvements on the attitudes of the kids, the future looks better for Prospect Hill. We hope to have positively influenced the kids to make good decisions and maintain their community while staying out of trouble. It was difficult to leave them on the last day, but it is reassuring to know that they have hopefully been positively influenced to stay on the right track for the rest of their lives.
- Brett Irwin, Mt. Laurel, NJ
Impact Boston 2012 Session 2
Posted on 07/16/2012 @ 11:00 PM
Before Impact: Boston, here's how we would have described a person who is homeless: "Grumpy" - Alyssa "Violent and addicted to alcohol and drugs" - Meryl "Dirty, unshaven" - Renee "Unfriendly" - Sterling The New England Center for Homeless Veterans is a unique center that provides food, shelter, and other services for homeless veterans. The veterans can use it as a resource for rehabilitation and recovery and as a way to reintegrate themselves into society. For the past five days, we've been working with residents to help with the flow of incoming donations and other tasks. We've been sorting their clothing donations to put out in the store for the veterans to use, helping out in the kitchen, serving meals, and making the beds the veterans sleep in at night. We also get the chance to interact with the veterans during their lunch time. During that time, we get to hear their stories, about their current lives, and just talk to them about how they're doing and what they do in their spare time. However, we don't just talk about their lives. They also ask about our lives and what we like to do, allowing us to make real connections with the veterans. Now that we've had the opportunity to work with the New England Center for Homeless Veterans, we know that: "Hearing their stories helps to influence us to make smart decisions in our own lives and steer away from the mistakes they made." -Heather "The world is unfair, but we have the power to make a difference." -Alyssa "We won't make assumptions about people." -Meryl "We learn not to make the same mistakes they made that caused them to end up homeless." -Zach "I've gained empathy for people experiencing homelessness." -Alon "They're just like you and I" - Aryeh "Before Impact: Boston, I never would have stopped to have a conversation with someone who is homeless." -Kelsey " I am now sympathetic to the cause and am able to understand the homeless people's situation." -Michele Alyssa Fischer, Charlotte, North Carolina Aryeh Furman, Palo Alto, California Alon Cohen, Palo Alto, California Michele Naideck, Rockville, Maryland Meryl Franzone, Clifton Park, New York Kelsey Jervis, Charlotte, North Carolina Heather Rotman, Duxbury, Massachusetts Zach Wolpoff, Potomac, Maryland Sterling Staffin, Dallas, Texas Renee Frederick, Houston, Texas
Posted on 07/16/2012 @ 12:40 AM
"I love Israel!"
"I love Israel MORE!"
Tyler Zuckerman and Liam Murray were excited about this evening's Israel narratives program, and while their debate during dinner was somewhat lacking in nuance, it was definitely full of enthusiasm.
Other teens were slightly more articulate when discussing their expectations for the evening's program.
"I'm excited to better my knowledge of Israel--and possibly to become persuaded to visit!" Michael Vivier looked forward to hearing the staff members' positive memories of Israel.
There were dozens of stations around camp where staff members walked the teens through their personal experiences on Israel trips, from spiritual moments at the Wall to more secular fun at the Shouk and in Tel Aviv.
The program was designed specifically to demonstrate moments teens might have on a journey to Israel, and while it did not attempt to cover up current Palestinian political entanglements, it avoided becoming mired in political debate by focusing on actual experiences staff members have had (rather than the staff's political analysis of their experiences.)
There was a station wherein curriculum director Suzie Schwartz discussed her experience at a checkpoint in Israel, and some of the teens were especially keen on learning the on the ground consequences of Middle Eastern conflict policies.
Bianca Levy explained her interest succintly: "I'm excited to better my education about Israel and the Israeli conflict."
The entire program went well, and at the end of the evening there was a cheerful bonfire as the teens finished their rotations.
They discussed some of the day's activities, including the beginning of their specialist chugim. "I liked the chug!" Kayla Berlinberg exclaimed to her friends.
"Me too!" Laura Gorenshtein agreed,
"Eric Hunker is really cool." Talia Hoffman nodded her enthusiastic agreement and then turned to a nearby staff member and explained, "We're in Kallah-capella."
When asked for a comment on his popularity with the girls, songleader Eric Hunker grinned and exclaimed, "Awesome!" He then modestly--and hilariously--began a mock award acceptance speech, "I'd like to thank my parents..."
Thanks, Moms and Dads. It was another great day at Kallah 2012.
CLTC 5 from the song leader
Posted on 07/15/2012 @ 10:19 PM
Hello BBYO Parents,
Allow me to introduce myself! My name is Josh Goldberg, from Dallas, TX, and I’m thrilled to be the Songleader here at CLTC this summer! My goals are to show your teens how powerful music can be as a tool for building community, Jewish identity, spirituality, and of course, to have a LOT of fun!
Our session is going great so far! Together we have been learning and singing everything from traditional Jewish melodies, modern prayers and Jewish themed songs, classic campfire songs, to some of their favorite hit songs on the radio today. The energy at our nightly song sessions is unbelievable.
This weekend, the BBG chapters created and led beautiful Shabbat evening, morning, and the boys led a rousing Havdallah service. Today, we had a Songleading “How to” session, where 18 teens learned how play a Jewish song, “Od Yavo Shalom”, and led their peers in singing it!
I look forward to another week of musical moments and discoveries with your teens!