By Mikey Pliskin, NFTY-PAR PVP
From May 15-17, NFTY-PAR had our first event of the year called Haggigah/Maccabiah, or Hag/Mac. It was open to 8th-11th graders and was at Camp Harlam. This event was my first as a Regional Board member, which means I planned this event with the rest of the NFTY-PAR Regional Board from start to finish, and ran the whole thing. This experience was so fun and amazing, and I loved every minute.
Experiencing this event as a Regional Board member, instead of a participant, was so unique and special. Hag/Mac is my favorite event of the year because it is our new members’ event, and it consists of meeting people and fun programs. The past two Hag/Macs, I experienced as a PARticipant, so this time around as a Regional Board member I felt it was my job to create the amazing experiences I had as a participant for these participants! This requires a lot of ideas, planning, collaborating, and decision making with the rest of the regional board. I found we all worked extremely well together throughout the whole planning process.
It was really cool seeing what the rest of the board and I had planned come to life throughout the weekend. We spent weeks planning and prepping this event, so we could only hope and pray everything goes well and everyone loves it.
The first night of the event, I led my first program with Matt Nussbaum, PAR’s President. I wasn’t so nervous, mostly anxious-excited and hopeful that everything went the way it was planned. Matt and I spent the hour leading up to the program prepping as much as possible. We prepped our group leaders, making sure they knew how and when to execute parts of the program. We got all materials we needed for the program.. We got all participants into groups of even numbers, which was a little challenging! Finally it was time to do the program. We gave participants instructions, sent the group leaders off with their groups, and started the program. I stood in the front of the room, watching Matt and my program that we had planned for weeks play out in front of my eyes. It was a surreal experience, and I found that I liked program-leading more than participating, because I loved the feeling of giving people a fun experience more than the experiencing it myself.
Mid-program, Matt and I had a participant approach us and say that they loved the program, and thought it was going extremely well. They made a few more comments about how many people they’ve met through the program and how fun it was, and then they went back to their group. That really solidified it all for me. The reality was I could only control so much of what happened during this program, but I couldn’t control how participants felt, and this PARticipant really confirmed the part I couldn’t control.
I absolutely loved my experience of being a Regional Board member at this event and I can’t wait to continue this term with my board and this great region!