By Max Miller-Golub, NFTY-PAR
Last year, Spring Kallah was my favorite time in NFTY. It was obviously not my preferred event because all the seniors left, and although the Saturday night banquet was great, that’s not what made the weekend special. I thoroughly enjoyed Spring because of the programming. Even though Fall Kallah programming is often revered as the best, I saw Spring’s Tochnits (programs) as better and it set high standards for what I expected this year’s event to reach.
This past Friday the 13th, I received the privilege of group leading the first program of this year’s Spring Kallah. I had read it earlier in the week and I understood it, but I did not fully grasp the meaning until it was executed. The program was simple. The staff set out paper, markers, cards, board games, magazines, etc. Once the groups were selected, there were two rules:
- Come to a consensus about what the group wants to do
- Have fun
My group and I ended up playing a mix of Uno and card games, which also involved dancing and the game “ninja” during the break in between hands. After 30 minutes, we cleaned up and did a very short conclusion. I began the wrap up questions with, “Was this a meaningful use of our time?” The group was positive that our game was in fact a proper use of time, and I wholeheartedly agreed with them. We all had a great half hour. I then realized the reasoning behind the program.
I saw the respect that the NFTY-PAR Board members who wrote the program had for PAR. They understand that the participants don’t need to be coddled for an hour with heavy planning to have a meaningful experience. The seniors didn’t need to do a deep program at their last event to appreciate NFTY. They gave us supplies, and we provided the imagination to make the program run successfully. I would not attempt to try this at Hag/Mac, the new members’ event, but it was the perfect program for the perfect time.
And so, Spring Kallah lived up to my expectations and it has been confirmed as my favorite PAR event. The programming was superb once again. At the end of it all, I was able to learn an important lesson. I have high ambitions for where I want to end up in PAR by the end of my NFTY career, and what I plan on taking with me from this adventure is that sometimes, less is more. Less highly structured time is more fun, but also in the right situations, a less complex program can be so much greater than a highly planned one.