Written by: Will Saltzburg, NFTY-PAR MVP
NFTY is a movement built from connections that grow into meaningful friendships. Without the love and support of our peers, NFTY would not be the same. Because NFTYites have created strong bonds with their contemporaries, they are able to be honest with one another.
At NFTY-PAR’s first event of the year, Haggigah/Maccabiah, the family system was introduced. A family is a group of 12-15 PARites with 2-3 mentors that welcome first time participants with open arms at every regional event. This new system offers new members more opportunities to connect with someone as their NFTY-PAR mentor and creates a group of familiar faces for everyone.
From August sixteenth through the nineteenth, NFTY-PAR came together for our second overnight event of the year, Summer Leadership Kallah (SLK), at URJ Camp Harlam. As a community, we further developed our leadership skills and made friends to last a lifetime.
SLK offered a unique opportunity for each family to partake in. Because SLK is four days long, the regional board gave each family the opportunity to share feedback about the event with two days left together. One person from each family guided the conversation and shared their families’ feedback with the regional board.
An important part of being a leader is understanding the importance of feedback; specifically, how to take criticism as well as providing it constructively. In a community like NFTY where your peers are also leaders, it can feel awkward and challenging to give advice or criticism to someone who is your age. The fact that you are each other’s friends makes their comments more impactful. Along with learning how to take criticism, this situation teaches a leader how to be flexible. It is important to take the feedback you have received and transform that into reality.
NFTY-PAR’s four days together were extremely fulfilling because the regional board was able to hear what people wanted from the rest of the event, and worked to make that happen. When people’s voices are heard they truly feel apart of a holy community, like NFTY. Because of families, friendship and feedback, SLK was a week to remember.