I spent my first week of summer camp at Camp Coleman, located in Cleveland, GA, as a facbrat, or child of a faculty member, in the summer of 2000. During that week, I received my first bee sting and visited the Cabbage Patch Kids factory (a Cleveland landmark). That week was all I needed to convince me to go back as a camper the following summer, followed by another 7 amazing summers feeling that Coleman spirit.
Through Coleman, I have learned to songlead services, I visited Israel for the first time, I tie-dyed an entire wardrobe, and I spent a week living in the wilderness. I have embraced countless mentors and friends along the way while learning more about myself, my Judaism, and the world around me than in any classroom.
So what about my experience about Camp Coleman has helped prepare me for being NFTY SAVP? In one word: everything. In a more detailed answer, Coleman has offered me a continued exposure to new traditions and Jewish teachings. It has created a space for me to gain the confidence necessary to lead my peers. The people I met as a young child are now some of my closest friends, and they continue to provide the guidance and support I need to truly thrive in this challenging and exciting leadership role.
Thus, Coleman has instilled within me a profound sense of – in Judaic terms – l’dor vador (from generation to generation); in Twitter language, the ultimate hashtag of #generationalleadership. Those who served in leadership roles at camp when I was younger inspired me, shaped me, and led me to where I am today. Serving on the NFTY general board and now on the North American Board as a role model and mentor is the best way I can think of that I can begin to try giving back and being the same resource others were for me.