By Rachel Goldberg
There was no better way for these 150 teens to spend their Martin Luther King Jr. weekend than at NFTY-SWâ€™s Social Action Weekend. With the theme being #firstworldproblems, NFTYites stayed true to not letting their problems get to them, and instead helped the community. The teens participated in a variety of programs and social action projects then enjoyed a night of mini golf and laser tag at Golfland.
#firstworldproblems Programming Vice President Matt Wall and Membership Vice President Jordan Weissman began Friday morning with a special karaoke mixer. Participants split up into groups and were assigned a song to present to the region. NFTYites worked together to come up with new lyrics about changing the world and helping the community. Of course, no one could forget about the amazing dance skills as well! Everyone had a blast watching and performing!
Programming Vice President Matt Wallâ€™s program dealt with the issue of first world problems. Participants personalized a coat of arms with words, phrases, and pictures about their family, what they are proud of, what they would change about themselves, and how they want to be remembered. NFTYites also made collages about their first world problems and how they can make those problems new solutions. Once both were completed, people got the chance to share if they wished.
Religious and Cultural Vice President Cody Rosen led a beautiful Torah service Saturday morning with the songleaders. Following services, participants discussed the plagues of the Egyptians and compared them to the modern plagues we all face today. After, NFTYites decided on a few plagues that they felt they should stand up for. They created a poster representing their thoughts on the plagues and presented them to the region.
Saturday afternoon, NFTYites continued their education on mental health. Maddy Ginis, Social Action Vice President, led a program about depression, anxiety, anorexia nervosa, and Asperger Syndrome. Participants engaged in a variety of activities and learned about symptoms, myths, facts, and discussed different definitions. Later, everyone gathered with their TYGs to discuss how to help others with a mental illness, including what to do and what not to do.
SOCIAL ACTION PROJECTS Friday morning NFTYites split up and went to different locations around the valley to participate in Tikkun Olam. The community services activities included working in classrooms at Wilson Elementary School, preparing art projects and serving food at St. Vincent de Paul, making fleece blankets, organizing medical supplies, and playing with children at the Boys & Girls Club. Everyone had a blast and got first-hand experience in making a difference in the world.
CAMP SWIFT CARNIVAL Over 200 elementary school children joined NFTYites at the annual Camp Swift Carnival. Participants took a small group of children under their wings for the afternoon enjoying games, food, music, and tons of fun! There were a variety of activities ranging from golf and the mummy wrap to spin art and fortune telling. Many Southwest alum joined the event to visit old friends and help out with the carnival.
After two super-busy, jam-packed days of volunteering, programs, and playing with children, participants still had tons of energy! NFTYites spent the evening at Golfland ready to have a blast and wear some crazy costumes. Upon arrival, everyone was given a wristband and was off to go mini golfing, ride go-carts, play laser tag, or just have some fun at the arcade. The regional board and head songleader Taylor Wachman wrapped up the relaxing night with Havdallah and friendship circle. Everyone spent time with their closest friends and enjoyed the last night they had together for the event.