What suits the theme of Social Action Weekend better than the idea of Pay It Forward? How about over 140 passionate, dedicated teens who love spending their time with each other and helping the community! This past NFTY SW event was filled with fun activities, smiling faces, and of course, music and friendship.
Thursday night began with a little Pay It Forward activity and soon NFTYites were running around singing, dancing, and giving each other compliments. The night continued with an intense game of Coke and Pepsi, a quick friendship circle, and it was off to spend the night at our host homes.
Bright and early Friday morning everyone arrived with their water bottles and sneakers awaiting the buses to bring them to their social action projects. MVP David Siegal led an entertaining “act and react” mixer and finally, it was time to get to work! NFTYites did everything from helping at an elementary school, playing with puppies, painting over graffiti, making blankets, picking citrus fruits for the hungry, working with the elderly, and organizing food at the local food bank. After a hard day of working, everyone headed back home for a few hours of rest. Later, they joined the congregation for Friday night services and enjoyed song session after. PVP Dori Singer lead a touching program. The underclassman did a little meditation and wrote letters to themselves that they will be returned to them their senior year while the upperclassmen made a timeline of their NFTY experience and wrote a letter to a future NFTYite. Head Songleader, Zach Kaplan, closed the night with a friendship circle outside under the stars.
On Saturday, the long awaited Camp Swift Carnival was finally just a few short hours away. RCVP Naomi Movshovich lead services at Palomino with the help of songleaders Zach Kaplan, Shamir Ambrose, and Noah Shinbaum. Torah study about necessity versus want followed. Shortly after, chaos erupted. Hundreds of young children were running about with faces painted and smiles as bright as can be. Participants spent the afternoon bonding with these kids and giving them one of the best experiences of their lives. The carnival included activities like mini golf, football, fishing, bowling, and dancing. There were also games like tic tac toe, ping pong, the penny toss, ring toss, mummy wrap, and even horse races. It was a day to be remembered. The rest of the afternoon was spent learning about the phases of social action based on video clips from the movie “Pay it Forward”. SAVP Lizzie Stein and Dori Singer wrote this program where participants discussed inspiration, personal experience and Judaism while learning how to benefit the community.
Saturday night a we invaded the bowling alley and the competition was on! NFTYites got crazy bowling, dancing, and singing in their crazy white outfits. After, everyone headed back to the temple for a peaceful Havdallah and typical NFTY SW friendship circle. The usual Sunday morning drowsiness came about and participants sang their last songs, said their final goodbyes, and began the countdown until Spring Kallah.