By ILTC 2010 Bloggers on 07/13/2010 @ 06:10 PM
Here are some parting words from our blog writers. Thanks to everyone for an amazing ILTC!
“ILTC taught me the skills I need to make a difference in my community at home, BBYO or otherwise.” –Ian S. Donnelly, Gold Coast Region
“I can sum up my summer experience in 6 simple words; ILTC was the BOMB DOT COM” – Samantha Metz, Philadelphia Region<
“ILTC made me a better leader over all and gave me the skills to be even better”- aleph Raymond Eisenman, Gold Coast Region #51
“ILTC gave me great resources for my future in AZA and in life afterwards. Dorm 9 is awesome like it’s our job” – Robert Fertig, Brandeis AZA #1519
“BBYO boldly promises that every teen can find him or herself here. In the case of ILTC, I was able to find myself a place in the international order and discover a group of friends that will last far longer than Perlman’s hot water supply.”-Abigail Koffler, Big Apple Region #12
ILTC was one of the best summer experiences I could have. I learned skills that will help me make EASTERN REGION the BEST region any other region has ever seen!“ – Gabrielle Lewis, Eastern Region #6
“ILTC may just be a silly little acronym to some people, but to me it means so much more. I met amazing people from across the world and learned more than I ever thought possible. I now have the tools to take back to my council, so Baltimore Council will still grow and thrive long after I graduate.” –Kristen Cabrera, Northern Region East: Baltimore Council #59
“ILTC was a great summer program. It helped me bring my leadership skills to a new level. I cannot wait to come home and apply everything I learned here to my region at home.” –Shira Hirsch, Pacific Coast Region #43 testt
Teens Visit Orphanage
Posted on 07/13/2010 @ 11:45 AM
In a hotel in Sofia, Bulgaria, Jewish teens from across the United States in conjunction with a delegation of Jewish teens from throughout Bulgaria devised a formula designed to provide much needed escape for fifteen Bulgarian orphans from the trials and tribulations of their every day life. Incorporating, games, gifts, snacks, and hours to spend bonding, this coalition provided these six, seven, and eight year olds with an extraordinary event.
A handful of teens accompanied staff members to the orphanage to meet and transport this select group of orphans back to an anxiously awaiting group of teens fully equipped with open arms and gigantic hearts. The teens well supplied arsenal of good will also included donations of stuffed animals, toys, underwear, socks, clothing, and candy that had been collected by teens prior to travel to be distributed to these needy children in exchange for endless smiles and appreciative hugs.
The first steps off the bus at Hotel Harmony set the tone for the rest of the day. Teens that had ventured to the orphanage had already appeared to swiftly bond with the kids as some exited the bus holding an orphan in their arms and others confidently holding hands with their new friends. The other awaiting participants rushed to meet our little guests of honor and begin a day that all parties involved will surely remember for the rest of their lives.
An evenly distributed group of precious girls and adorable boys immediately clicked with eager teens as they commenced a day of dancing, wiffle ball, puzzle solving, song singing, reading, eating, and memory making. As the day went on, orphans and teens conquered obstacles including language barriers, cultural differences, and even medical conditions such as deafness to wholly embrace an undoubtedly unforgettable experience.
At the end of the day, the orphans and teens said their goodbyes, and the children, escorted by a handful of participants, boarded the bus for their ride back to the orphanage with stuffed animals in hand and memories of a truly special day in their hearts.
Update from Bulgaria!
Posted on 07/13/2010 @ 10:54 AM
Greetings from Bulgaria,
One can try but it is impossible to understand where time goes. As the cliché goes, it feels as if we arrived yesterday but in reality, half of the trip has vanished into the past, and all that remains is one long weekend. The teens of Ambassadors to Bulgaria 2010 have fully embraced their time here and continue to completely immerse themselves in each and every activity we take part in, whether it be the tour of a village, a discussion of values, religion, cultures, or simply and most importantly continuing to build friendships with their peers.
The past few days have been jam-packed with history, culture, and fun and have been thoroughly enjoyed by all those involved.
Wednesday night, we ventured out into Sunny Beach for the last time. We first arrived at a traditional Bulgarian restaurant just steps away from the rocky banks of the Black Sea. Here we had the opportunity to eat and learn, try new things, and celebrate a birthday! Following dinner, the teens broke up into small groups to explore the town mostly populated by visiting tourists and native shopkeepers. In a small square in the center of town sat a "Shaman", a spiritual Bulgarian figure who wore an oversized mask resembling an owl with horns. We learned that this mystic allegedly had the ability to chase away bad spirits and replace them with luck. Some teens were lucky enough to sit with him briefly and have their auras cleansed while the rest had an opportunity to interview locals, try some food and drinks exclusively available in Bulgaria, as well as do a bit of shopping.
Early Thursday morning we departed Sunny Beach on a journey through the center of Bulgaria. The route we travelled brought us through a countryside of rolling mountains covered in dense green forests whose peaks seem to disappear into the clouds. Our bus climbed a mountain pass into the Balkan Mountain arriving briefly at one of the most famous monuments in all of Bulgaria. It was here that in 1877, 7000 Bulgarians held off 40,000 soldiers of the Ottoman Emprie from atop the mountain. During the battle, the Bulgarians ran completely dry of ammunition and resorted to throwing rocks, guns, and even bodies of fallen comrades down the mountain to stop the advancing forces. In the end, the Ottoman soldiers retreated and the Bulgarians were left victorious. The monument itself was constructed in memorium of this battle for liberation. It consists of a tower located atop 999 stairs.
Our next stop was Etura, a craft village origionally constructed in the late 18th century. The town's most vital resource, water, provided by a small river that flows through a canal parallel to the buildings within is used in every facet of daily life. The village is known for it's hand crafted jewlery, wooden carvings, pottery, and bread. Local craftsmen demonstrated each art in their respective shops. Teens were able to observe and admire as well as explore freely and purchase what works of art they found most impressive.
We made our way to a hotel in a very secluded area of Veliko Turnova where teens had lunch and a few minutes to relax.
That afternoon, we reconvened for a discussion about anti-Semitism. It was made very clear while touring around that anti-Semitism was fairly prevalent in Bulgaria as seeing swastikas and other images of anti-Jewish sentiments occurred fairly often. Bulgarians and Americans exchanged personal stories and possible methods of combating such awful and hateful practices.
After such a serious and emotional discourse, the teens needed a relaxing night full of fun and that is just what they received. We had dinner at a FANTASTIC Bulgarian restaurant in the old capitol of Bulgaria, Veliko Turnova. Salad, pasta, and cake washed away the disheartened feelings felt a short time before as they remembered how great it was to be in a group of people so accepting of one another.
After dinner we were treated to a light show that can only be found two places in the world, Brazil and Bulgaria. Seated on an outdoor balcony, we were able to observe a fortress illuminated by a rainbow of colors and lasers that that stretched endlessly into the black night sky synced to a soundtrack of what can only be described as a mixture of medieval battle music and an orchestra that would honor the entrance of royalty. A brief discussion was had discussing that this particular fortress, tsaravets was the last to fall from Bulgarian rule when Bulgaria was conquered in 1376. It is said that evteemee, protector of the fortress encountered an axman whos duty it was to slay him and instead, his potential makers hands turned to stone resulting in life-long imprisonment in place of death.
Tonight we venture back to Sofia to celebrate Shabbat in one of only two working synagogues in the Bulgaria amongst the local Jewish community followed by a night tour of Sofia. Tomorrow we will be meeting with orphans for a day of fun and games.
All is well and we look forward to a strong end of an already amazing adventure.
Shabbat at ILTC!
Posted on 07/11/2010 @ 12:29 PM
We had another wonderful Shabbat together. Please read below for details (which includes departure and return shipping information):
Friday: July 9th:
We celebrated two birthdays, Lauren Goldberg and Evan Kimel, and at dinner we sang them happy birthday and their dorms enjoyed warm chocolate cake!
7:45AM: Optional Shacharit (Morning Prayer): Led by Dorm 8 (Dorm of the Day)
8:30AM: Aruchat Boker (Breakfast)
9:30AM: All Region Meeting, Leadership Topic of the Day: Judaism. Participants learned and discussed ways to infuse Judaism into their programming.
10:00AM: Mock Region Meetings: Participants delved in deeper to working with Judaism in their programming and a few regions worked on their evening programs.
11:45AM: Morning Snack
Noon: Creative Arts: Teens had their seventh creative arts session including everything from ceramics, 3D Art, 2D Art, improvisation, israeli dancing, lego modeling, jam band, intramural sports, and video yearbook.
1:00PM: Aruchat Tzoharaim (Lunch)
2:00PM: Shabbat Planning
3:00PM: Chofesh (Free Time): Teens spent most of Chofesh preparing for Shabbat.
6:30PM: Menorah Lighting: We all gathered in the large quad to light our ILTC menorah and transition from a busy week to a peaceful Shabbat. Teens reflected on their time at ILTC with various stories and poems.
7:00PM: Aruchat Erev (Dinner)
8:00PM: Shabbat Services: Participants in the Friday Night service put together a reflective and musical service. A traditional service was also offered.
9:30PM: Region Planned Evening Program: Kallah: Judaism: Finding your Jewish Identity through peer to peer lead discussion and reflection questions.
11:30PM: Evening Snack
Saturday, July 10th:
9:30AM: Aruchat Boker
10:15AM: Saturday Morning Services: Teens had the option of attending a meditative service or creative/traditional service.
11:45AM: Shabbat Elective: Teens choose between a variety of electives including meditation, Israeli culture, faith versus reason, change management, Jewish college life, the art of Chassidic melody, and Shira.
1:00PM: Aruchat Tzoharaim
2:00PM: Shabbat Elective
3:00PM: Chofesh: Teens spent time hanging out at amphitheater, large quad and small quad, also playing sports and music.
7:00PM: Aruchat Erev
8:00PM: Shabbat Reflection: Participants choose between three options – guided meditation, group discussion, or nature hike.
9:30PM: Region Planned Evening Program: Kallah: Social Action: Global Philanthropy causes with a focus on poverty and medicinal means in Africa.
11:15PM: Evening Snack
ILTC Roundup July 9
By ILTC 2010 Bloggers on 07/09/2010 @ 04:10 PM
Our last Shabbat! Here's what's gone on this week, from the teen point of view.
I am You Is He Is ....Me to We: Michel Chikwanine spoke to ILTC this morning and certainly woke people up with his riveting story about life in Beni, Congo. His powerful speech about the organizations Me to We and Free the Children enabled the ILTC body to Stand Up for education in Africa. He certainly got people talking and inspired them to raise money to build schools in Africa. People are even talking about going to Africa to build schools. It is safe to say Michel motivated ILTC to help these incredible organizations.
I am You Is He Is ....Me to We: Michel spoke to ILTC this morning and certainly woke people up with his riveting story about life in Beni. His powerful speech about the organizations Me to We and Free the Children enabled the ILTC body to Stand Up for education in Africa. He certainly got people talking and inspired them to raise money to build schools in Africa. People are even talking about going to Africa to build schools. It is safe to say Michelle motivated ILTC to help these incredible organizations.
Conquering Cow Palace Although Camp Perlman food holds a special place in every camper's heart, a trip off-premises (even if it's seconds away) was a welcome treat. This week, members of the successful color war blue team, as well as members of the Big Deal Region, took a stroll to Lake Como's favorite frozen vendor. The adventure gave teens a chance to see more of the town and scope out motorcycle riders. Participants chose from kosher ice cream and "monster" milkshakes as well as burgers and fries. While the trek back uphill bested some particularly full stomachs, the trip was deemed a success as another generation of ILTC-ers learned of the dairy goodness down the road.
Israel Night, Or "The Fourth Of July Was Soooo Last Week" Wednesday night, everyone deccked out in their blue and white in support of our homeland, Israel. We had falafel and pita for dinner fresh from Israel. Folloeing dinner, we attended a program all about the founding Zionists of Israel. After, we had Israel dance and arts and crafts.
Mambo Region #5's Program Not A Mambo Thursday night, ILTC participated in the next mock region program based off of RLTI (or Regional Leadership Training Institute) conventions. We did a round robin of programs designed to build teambuilding and trust. Mambo Region #5's RLTI was a huge success!