This summer, my Chalutzim year eagerly awaited our return to camp, after two long years away, for our Solelim year. Needless to say, we were incredibly disappointed to find out that Jacobs would not be opening this summer. When we saw that Jacobs would be offering a virtual Solelim program, we eagerly joined, excited to have some form of a camp experience.
Not only was I excited to reconnect with my camp friends, some of whom I haven’t seen in two years, I was also excited to gain some important lessons on leadership. The discussions we had are not only applicable to being a camp counselor, but to every leadership opportunity. We talked about what kind of leaders we want to be, where our strengths were, and how to utilize those strengths to become effective leaders. Conversations about qualities that we’ve seen in our most influential camp counselors were incredibly helpful to me, especially as I start my term as the NFTY Southern President. As we see the world changing, these lessons have helped me navigate our region into the new normal of NFTY.
What made our sessions so special to me was doing them with people that I love. Rabbi Lexi created a particularly warm and open atmosphere where we all felt comfortable and safe sharing our thoughts and opinions on the topic of the day. With each session, I learned something new and gained valuable life skills. Although I wish we could have completed this program in person, I am so grateful that we were able to do it online. It’s safe to say that we all feel more prepared to be on staff next year!
Ana is a rising senior at Newman School in New Orleans, Louisiana. She is the current NFTY Southern president and was a participant in the Spring 2020 semester of Heller High. She attended Jacobs Camp for 4 summers, and was going to return as a Solelim participant this summer.