My experience at NFTY was good. My favorite part was the social part of the weekend. I enjoyed hanging out with new friends and spending time doing fun things especially the dance. It made the weekend more enjoyable and fun. It was fun to hangout in our rooms with friends. I liked being away from my parents for the weekend. It also made Jewish studies and Temple time more fun to be with friends. The party was a lot of fun also on Saturday night.
– Aaron Pingitore
There’s something different about NFTY. A type of safety that I’ve never felt before. With only one foot off of our bus, I already felt at home. Everyone is comfortable with each other there. Especially at Havdallah services, I could literally feel the bond of strangers begin and the bond of old friends build stronger. These friendships pulsed around everywhere I went. The amazing feeling that we were all had at NFTY was presented in so many forms. In music, in programs, in services, and in free time, there were always ways to express ourselves. NFTY is not just events. It is not just learning. It is a home, a home I can take along with me anywhere.
– Bryce Peckman
At new member kallah, I had a blast. I have to admit at the beginning it was somewhat weird because the people that had already been there before on the first day seemed as if they had never left. It seemed very well planned and exciting. When the havdalah service began everything just seemed to fit together right then and there. New member kallah was a blast with the full days and the small amount of sleep we got because we stayed up with the people in our cabin. This was an experience I will never forget and I cannot wait for the next event!
– Andrew Costello
Before last weekend, I had attended NFTY-GER’s New Member Kallah only as a freshman. I remember the experience clearly: the craziness of arriving at a new place, full of possibilities, surrounded by people I had never met, and overwhelmed by the enthusiastically embracing people around me. I had felt, at the time, lost in the mix. But even then, it didn’t take long for me to begin to feel at home. I began to realize that the people around me would make room for us, the wide-eyed new freshmen, and embrace us with open arms into their community. It was that realization (along with the new friends I made) that kept me coming back to NFTY, event after event.
This year’s New Member Kallah was an entirely different experience. I was returning not only as a junior, but also as a newly-electred member of Regional Board. This time, I was one of those crazy upperclassmen who screeched with happiness as their friends came into view and tackled them with a huge bear hug. But an even bigger change was my new role in the region: for the first time, it was my responsibility to make new members feel welcome. I was excited for the challenge. Yes, the weekend was hectic, and it was busy, and it was, at times, stressful; but I was happy knowing that I was making a difference, and hopefully encouraging new members to return to NFTY-GER, and make room for it in their hearts the way I have.
– Lauren Harris
The first couple hours of NFTY for new members are a little bit stressful and scary. Whether it is because of everyone else’s excitement to see each other or for some not being in a cabin with friends. However once those moments end, there is no doubt you will feel right as home. At New Member Kallah, my cabin didn’t have anyone that I was really friends with in it and I only knew one person. Yet I grew to love every single person that I stayed with and when I went home I missed our late night conversations. The friends you make at NFTY aren’t like the friends you make at school. You get close to your friends at NFTY-GER really quickly. The atmosphere at NFTY-GER is really great. Even if you go up to someone you don’t know and start up a conversation they will be happy to meet you and chat. Also if you like the religious and cultural stuff then you will love Shabbat services, Havadalah service, and Becca’s Torah Study. I highly recommend that others go to NFTY-GER events because once you go and meet some friends you will not be able to wait to go back again. Maybe you will find NFTY-GER as home more than your hometown. My experience at New Member was great.
– Jenna Wyatt
Last weekend at New Member was so much fun. I got to see al my friends that I was looking forward to see them all summer. I met new people and made new friends that I will have forever. Every event I am at, I learn something new. It is a learning experience that you get a lot out of and makes you a new person. I had so much fun and can not wait to see all of my friends again at the next event.
– Matt Hall
I have been to 18 NFTY events in just over three years. And after this event it still seems like something new and wonderful is beginning for me. This year, I chaired New Member Kallah as a Regional Board member; meaning that I led programs, ran around, and led the region into one of my homes built away from home: NFTY-GER. Although all of regional board was somewhere on the spectrum of anxiety, there were many moments where we knew things were going the way they should, and completely passing our expectations for the event. I wrote and led a program for the enitre region (about 170 particiapants attended) called Battle of the Sexes vs. the Media, where participants gained awareness about how the media affects how we perceive gender and how we stereotype traits and activities for guys and girls. The program was highly interactive, and everyone seems to have really enjoyed it, which was a genuine feeling of accomplishment for me. Another point of the weekend when I felt very content was when I could look around the room full of GER-ites and see the other TWENTY ONE SALTY-ites enjoying themselves and mingling with other kids. Seeing the other kids from Beth Miriam genuinely enjoying the event that I helped organize and run made me feel so successful and happy. This year is going to be one to remember and I’m so excited that SALTY is also excited to join in the fun! To all of the new members who gave GER a try, thank you and I really hope to see you at Homecoming and Winter Kallah! To the returning members, thank you for building and shaping SALTY, and encouraging the positive environment. And to Dee Ross and Beth Miriam, of course thank you for giving support to all of these opportunities. Get ready for an awesome rest of the year, and I hope you will see SALTY’s enthusiasm bubbling as we continue to grow and get involved!
– Haley Peckman
New Member was at Camp Kutz this year, and I was so happy to be back there. Kutz is like my second home, and I loved showing all my NFTY friends around. After a whole summer apart, my friends and I picked up right where we left off. I participated in the Bigs and Littles program. I roomed with my three littles, as well as my friend Hannah and her little. Hannah and I took our jobs very seriously, sitting in a circle on the floor with our littles every night and asking how they were enjoying NFTY. I really hope we made an impact on their experience, and I hope they come back for the next event. I know I had an incredible time last weekend. The new regional adivsor, Pam, is so enthusiastic, and her positive attitude was really encouraging. Song sessions were filled with energy, the programs were fun and informative, and free time spent playing guitar with friends was relaxing. I can only hope that all new members enjoyed themselves as much as I did.
– Maris Krauss