NCSY GIVE WEST: Day 24 (Final Day!)
We started our day really early leaving at 3:30 to get to our flight, that is if you decided to sleep. Many of us decided to stay up and spend our last few moments together. As we parted ways at the airport tears were shed and so many hugs were exchanged. Some flights took off like they were supposed to. Most of us though were on flights that were delayed. The group flight was actually canceled, but luckily there was another flight for us! Of course, it took hours before we actually got our tickets and made it through security so most of us took power naps. After we got past security we found our gate that had already changed about four times since we got to the airport. As soon as we got to the gate we went looking for food because we were given $12 food vouchers WOOHOO!!! Baruch HaShem we were directly across from Starbucks! Food shopping only lasts so long so we sat for about six hours waiting for the plane. We played games and talked with friends while waiting for our flight. In the end, we got to spend even more time with friends!!! It was an 18-hour ordeal for the group flight actually, talk about bonding. With all the many delays before and after we all B’Ezrat Hashem made it home safely.
NCSY GIVE WEST: Week #4
NCSY GIVE WEST: Banquet Speech #2 (Sarah)
Hi, my name is Sarah Wurzburger just in case you didn’t know. Before GIVE west I had never had a summer like this. Before camp, I hadn’t realized how many people were homeless and we were able to make them feel like someone cared. Today at the refugee camp was a good example of how we put smiles on many peoples faces. GIVE west showed that there is always chesed to do. I would love to continue volunteering when I get home. Although it will be hard, I hope that I will succeed. Hope you join me on this journey of a lifetime that was started by give west to do chesed anywhere! This summer I have made so many new friends and I’m going to miss everyone so much. I can’t wait to keep in touch and stay good friends with all of you! This has been truly been the best summer ever! (Sarah, NY)
NCSY GIVE WEST: Banquet Speech #1 (Rebecca)
It all started with delayed flights, really good La Bella pizza, and super fun icebreakers. We learned each other’s names, where were all from……our favorite ice cream flavor, T.V shows, and singers. Although it took a few days, we quickly became one big family. We learned how to make everything a fun situation, whether it was singing in the homeless shelters, dancing in camp ETTA or surviving a 7.1 earthquake. This was all possible thanks to our advisors who taught us to always have a smile on our faces when doing anything because you never know who you could impact. An overarching theme of this summer was to always be thankful for what we have and to not take anything for granted. In the St.Vincent De Paul Society, we learned to be thankful for every bite of food that is put into our mouth. At Camp Etta, we were able to feel the joy of helping Jewish teens like us who aren’t able to do all of the things that we can. When helping with the Kiruv Camp at the Spivak’s, all of us realized how lucky we are to have been raised in a Jewish environment. Lastly, today, we were able to interact with people from different cultures, who are in very different situations than we are. I had the privilege of meeting an amazing girl named Zala, who showed me a different way on how to look at things. When our bus pulled up her eyes lit up and said: “WHOA, is that your bus!”. She got to walk on and was AMAZED by everything we had. Later, she said, “I wish I could be you guys when I grow up.” She also told me that this was her favorite day of summer camp and that all of her friends who missed it would be SO upset they weren’t there. I could go on and on listing how each place, whether it was a chesed or a fun touring activity, helped us realize how lucky we are to be who we are. As we were walking out of midnight mission, I heard a woman who said something that sums up what Give West is all about. She said, “These girls could be hanging out on their couches right now and watching T.V, but they decided to come here.” Before this summer, if you told me that I’d be spending my July Fourth handing out food in a homeless shelter, I’m not sure how excited I would be. However, Give West made each and every one of us LOVE chesed instead of thinking of it as a burden. Now, if you told one of us we were hopping on the bus to go to a homeless shelter, we’d be prepared and excited for what would be in store. We were all HAPPY to go help the homeless people living in L.A, and we knew that if we didn’t do it, no one would. This is a Jewish idea, which is taught in Pirkei Avot, a book filled with Jewish philosophies, that Esther and I had the privilege of learning. The quote goes like this, “אִם אֵין אֲנִי לִי, מִי לִי?”. “If I am not for myself, who will be for me.” This summer we learned that you can’t just sit back and assume others will do the job for you. In our chabburas, which were lead by our amazing advisors we learned that the only way to become a better person is to slowly work on yourself. As Leah said on the first day, “By the end of this summer, you all will be different people than you are right now.” I can definitely say this is true for myself, and I’m sure everyone in this room can too. Give West was an inspiring, fun, and outstanding few weeks, making it the BEST. SUMMER. EVER. (Rebecca, FL)
NCSY GIVE WEST: Day 22 (Seattle and CW!)
Today was the second to last day of GIVE West. We started off the day by saying goodbye to our advisor Avital, as she left to her sister’s wedding (Mazal Tov!). We miss her a lot but hope she has the best time. When we got to Seattle, we ate a delicious lunch of hot pizza. Afterward, we were greeted with huge smiles by the staff of Washington University, where we are staying. Go Huskies!! We got an informative and interesting tour around the campus. After we settled in the dorm rooms, we left to go sightseeing in the beautiful Seattle. We saw the stunning Space Needle and then went down to the infamous Pike’s Place Market. It was beautiful and super fun, and we even got to visit the first Starbucks! After an action-packed afternoon, we got back on the bus, expecting a regular night on GIVE West. Little did we know that it was COLOR WAR!!! With teams: red, blue, and white, we had the greatest night ever. Red for Torah, blue for Chesed, and white for Avodah! We ran back to our rooms to get ready and then we had relay races, organized by our creative advisors, including bobbing apples, egg and spoon races, and potato sack races. After relays, the teams were pretty much tied up. We had some team time and then a meaningful Mincha and a delicious dinner provided by the incredible Meira Spivak. At dinner, we were treated to insightful Divrei Torah by each team, and then an interactive spelling bee. Then we had an additional team time to work on our presentations. By 10:00 we presented!! Starting off with dances and ending off with songs, each team came and delivered inspiring and creative performances. While the advisors discussed the winners, we sang songs of achdut and love. Then the moment of truth… WHOS GONNA WIN?! With a drumroll, the…… WHITE TEAM!!! Congratulations!! Even though only one team can win, we really, truly all won. And I’m not saying that to be cheesy, it’s really true. Spending our summer on GIVE West together is a rewarding and winning experience. Meeting these incredible people and doing meaningful Chesed has truly made us all winners in our eyes, and in Hashem’s. We aren’t lying when we say BEST. SUMMER. EVER.
Leora, New Jersey
Zehava, New York
NCSY GIVE WEST: Day 21 (Portland Day 2)
Today, on GIVE West, we started off with an early morning, davened and had Chabburah. After that, like always, we had an amazing breakfast, yogurt parfaits and packed our lunches. Then we got onto the bus and drove to our chesed for the day. We organized clothing for children in need. Followed by chesed, we had an amazing experience of white water rafting! It was so fun and enjoyable. People fell off while laughing and having a smile on their face. Even though the water was cold, we didn’t let that ruin our fun. After that, we went back to the hotel and had an amazing dinner made by Meria, the Portland NCSY director. To end off an amazing day we had the best night activity, a GIVE West talent show!!!! It was so awesome and everyone participated. Everyone got to show off their talents and it ended off with a spot show given by our very own advisors.
NCSY GIVE WEST: Week #3 Video
NCSY GIVE WEST: Day 20 (Portland!)
Today was a fun filled day on GIVE West! We started off the day with a chesed project at Meira Spivak’s house. Mrs. Spivak is the NCSY coordinator in Portland, Oregon and she runs a camp for public school kids in August called Camp Kesher. We help her prepare games, night activities and carnival activities for her camp, as well as cleaning out a shed to help give her more storage for her supplies. We then enjoyed a delicious salad bar for lunch and listened to an inspirational shiur from Mrs. Spivak about what it means to be a beautiful person and how we should spend as much time focusing on our inner beauty as we tend to focus on our outer beauty. We then went to the ADIDAS factory where we had time to browse and shop the discounted employee store! After that, we headed to the Willamette Jets Boatride Excursion. Campers enjoyed a super intense boat ride where they spun around in the water and got soaking wet. Afterward, we went to the famous Portland Rose Garden in Oregon and drove home for a delicious dinner. We were then surprised with a super fun night activity; Zumba lead by our very own adviser Zahava Isaacs. Campers danced around and enjoyed an active session. The day ended with a relaxing night swim. We can’t wait to see what the rest of camp has in store for us as we finish up our last week here on GIVE West.
NCSY GIVE WEST: Day 19 (Shabbos)
We definitely saved the best Shabbos for last! This past Shabbos we were all comfortable with each other and we were able to learn new things from each other. We had inspiring chaburot including ones where we learned about our identities, and how to continue being inspired when doing the mitzvot. In the afternoon, after our delicious lunch, we played a super fun game of GIVE WEST headbandz. One girl went out of the room and everyone else was told who or what she was. Then the girl came into the room and had to ask yes or no questions to find out who they were. Although this seems like a simple game, it taught us that we all need to find out we are as people. We then enjoyed a couple of hours of free time, followed by a delicious shaloshudes, and then a very powerful ebbing. This one was especially emotional because it was one of our last kumzitzes of GIVE West. We ended Shabbos with a fun and meaningful Havdalah.
Sarah, New York
NCSY GIVE WEST: Day 18 (Friday)
Starting off with an early morning, we were sad to leave California, yet excited to travel to our third state, Oregon! Even though we had a nine-hour bus ride, we still had an amazing time! From Torah discussions to nail painting to multiple games of psych, we loved it all. We finally got to see our real bus driver, as we became passengers of our “flight” to Portland, all while singing “I want it that way.” Among many bathroom stops, one of which was a Walmart shopping spree! When loading the bus, we were all surprised with ice cream! Then, after a long day of driving, we arrived at our hotel to get ready for Shabbat. The day ended with a delicious and meaning dinner. Another successful day on GIVE West!!
Shira Rivkah, Florida