By: Forrest Yesnes, NFTY President
It’s almost 11pm here at the URJ Kutz Camp, and I’ve just gotten back from cleaning up after the evening program. Tonight’s was put on by the Regional Board major, a group made up of rising seniors from across NFTY who were elected in their home NFTY regions to lead their teenage peers during this coming school year. The program revolved around a project that NFTY has been working on for two years now, called “Living NFTY.” There are two aspects that the Regional Board track identified as falling under the title of “Living NFTY”: initiatives and a a lifestyle. Participants studied the five “Living NFTY” initiatives and then took an in-depth look at what values shaped these topics. They brainstormed more ideas for initiatives to take on by delving into issues that NFTY hasn’t yet supported. Participants walked away changed; the program helped them get a grasp on how much they truly are able to move NFTY in any direction they choose.
Besides working on the program, the regional board members have also pondered the thought of “Living NFTY” by learning skills and lessons revolving around NFTY leadership. Visiting faculty have stopped by and given our regional board members a chance to talk about how to market NFTY to the various people in their lives (friends, families, clergy, and potential members), how to work with different group dynamics within their boards back home, as well as how to create efficient and practical goals to accomplish their many ideas. Members of the Kutz family staff here on camp have shared their wisdom, too, like when Melissa Frey came in and gave us the 411 on ethics and responsibilities of being regional officers. And finally, on the day we visited New York City, aside from seeing a Broadway show and having some free time to explore Times Square, the regional board members attended a workshop put on by Chicago City Limits, an improv club a few blocks from the TKTS steps. With rapid fairytale skits and plenty of Zip-Zap-Zopping, our major became even closer than before and we won’t soon forget the fun times we had together.
The summer has flown by, and it’s been quite an experience for Sarah and I, as major co-teachers, to spend time with these regional board members from across NFTY. We are so excited to follow up with them in the comingmonths as we see where they are with their action plans and hear about how the lessons learned from their time at Kutz have shaped their terms on regional board.
Thank you so much to all who have helped make the regional board track what it was this summer, to the participants themselves who have made it such a fun ride these three weeks, and to Sarah for being a true role model and inspiration for not only the regional board members, but to me as well.