By Evan Traylor, NFTY President
A mere 3 days after I returned home from the Netzer Olami Veida in Jerusalem, I again packed my bags to travel to Atlanta for NFTY-SAR’s Winter Regionals! After my amazing experiences with NFTY-GER at their New Member Kallah this past October, I entered Winter Regionals extremely excited to meet new NFTYites, see URJ Kutz Camp alumni, and experience NFTY in a new community.
Whether NFTYites came from Jacksonville, Florida (JAFTY), Charleston, South Carolina (CHARLEY), Charlotte, North Carolina (LIBERTY), or from one of the TYGs in the Atlanta area, each of them proudly represented their strong connection to their TYG throughout the weekend. With the theme of Asefah being “TYG Spirit”, each TYG worked hard to represent their own group through coordinated hats, matching t-shirts, and group cheers. It was incredible to see how all of these TYGs come together to create the NFTY-SAR community.
Another great part of Winter Regionals was witnessing the connection and commitment many people in NFTY-SAR give towards Camp Jenny, a 4-day event held at URJ Camp Coleman each May for elementary-aged students from inner city Atlanta. Staffed and supported by NFTYites from both NFTY-STR and NFTY-SAR, this camp offers underprivileged children the opportunity to have an authentic, fun-filled camp experience. In addition to raising almost $5,000 at the Camp Jenny Auction, many NFTYites in this region were excited for the opportunity to be on staff at Camp Jenny this summer and give back to their community.
During Winter Regionals, NFTY-SAR elects the regional board for the following NFTY year. Throughout the weekend, all 17 regional board candidates showcased their passion and dedication for NFTY and thoughtfully presented their ideas to move NFTY forward as movement. It was incredible to see the entire region respectfully listen to and support all of the candidates as they gave their speeches, went through Meet the Candidates, and Asefah. Mazel tov to the 2013-2014 NFTY-SAR Regional Board-Elect – Debbie Rabinovich, Eddie Samuels, Hayley Giambalvo, Emily Kahn-Perry, Noah Goldstein, and Talia Capozzoli.
Finally, an enormous shout-out to the current NFTY-SAR Regional Board and their amazing Regional Advisor, Jaime Cojac for all of the programming, services, and overall hard work to create a dynamic and engaging Winter Regionals event. Thank you to all of my new friends from NFTY-SAR for welcoming me with open arms into your region – I can’t wait to see many of you in Los Angeles for NFTY Convention 2013! NFTY-SAR – May the Force be with You!
Evan Traylor is a Freshman at the University of Kansas, where he is studying Political Science and Jewish Studies. Evan hails from Edmond, Oklahoma where he was an active TYG member of OKATY as well as TOR Regional Board Member.