Dear Jewish Federation,
I always knew that going to camp would be something special, especially being provided the opportunity to meet with Jewish teens involved in BBYO from all over the world. After listening to friends talk about their life changing experiences, I was finally able to join them. A few important things CLTC taught me was standing up for my community, being a Jewish leader, and the power of friendships. These lessons not only shaped my camp experience but also my personal one. The tools I learned I can use for the rest of my life.
At CLTC, we were split into mock chapters and each of us had to fundraise for a charity or cause we strongly believed in. Our donations were non-profit and we volunteered our time and energy by selling bracelets and key chains to other campers. My chapter’s charity of choice was the Malala Fund because we agreed that women’s education is something we felt strongly about. By making bracelets and key chains, we raised hundreds of dollars, all of which we donated. It felt good to be able to fundraise for a cause we believed in and I learned techniques I could use to continue fundraising for other charities and worthy causes on a larger scale.
After camp, being a Jewish leader has taken on many new meanings. Halfway through camp we had the Amazing Race. We were split into four teams and my friend and I were put in charge as captains for twenty other kids. That day I learned the importance of being a team and being a leader. My goal was to set a good example, keep our spirits high, and our voices united. More than that, I had confidence in my peers, commitment to my team, and communication with all members. It was a priority that everyone was having a fun time and trying their best. Being the captain on the team was great, but I felt more like I was one of the team, cheering everyone on and being supportive. The most important lesson I learned at camp was that I don’t have to have a leadership position to be a leader. Being captain for a day was challenging and rewarding but more importantly I learned that I could lead by creating the change I wanted to see happen. I didn’t really understand this concept until I was talking with a staff member and they said that they never really wanted a position on BBYO’s chapter board. But when they saw a cause they were passionate about or a program they wanted to lead, they rose to the occasion without having a board position. This changed my perspective and I now want to become more involved in the Jewish community in Las Vegas because I realized how one person could make a difference.
The friendships I made at CLTC are ones that will last a lifetime. I was able to connect with Jewish kids from all over the US and Canada looking to learn leadership skills and Jewish values to take back to their regions. My mock chapter lead programs and a Havdala service. We got close by spending
plenty of time together through activities and depending on each other for teamwork. My friends are only a phone call away and will always be there to support me with anything from running for elections in my chapter or just be there if I wanted to talk.
Camp has been an incredible experience for me and I’m so glad that I was able to go. CLTC has provided me with many skills that will be of use to me for the rest of my life. It helped me realize my importance of being an American Jew and unity of Jews all over the world. I’ve learned to appreciate the things that I have and how to work effectively with others. At CLTC I found I could call it home and the birthplace of finding my Jewish identity. Camp has inspired me to make a difference in things I am passionate about and to help others make change, and I wouldn’t be able to do this without the tools I learned. CLTC gave me the confidence to act as a Jewish leader to make a difference in our community, with the help of the amazing opportunities I had. CLTC was phenomenal and I can’t thank the Jewish Federation enough for providing scholarship to help me go. The scholarship you gave was truly appreciated.