Jacob Gottlieb is the Membership Vice President of NFTY-Northeast Lakes, and Noah Clay is the Western Membership Vice President of NFTY-Missouri Valley.
NFTY Leadership is a great experience that few get the opportunity to enjoy. We have both been blessed with the privilege of being a part of our respective regional boards; however, there are moments where everyone has the chance to shine as a leader. Before running for our positions as MVPs, we both had been given the ability to be leaders without a title.
An opportunity like this came to Jacob at last year’s NEL JYG event. He was one of the teen leaders who were acting as counselors to the JYGers, and doing that was one of the most amazing and fun experiences he’s had in his NFTY career. Being a JYG Counselor was a position of leadership without a fancy title, and it was one of the most impactful incidents in terms of his growth and willingness as a leader. Jacob developed skills such as patience, flexibility, and organized spontaneity. He believes having that experience is what really motivated him to run for regional board. There are other aspects of NFTY where anyone can step up and take a leadership position that are not necessarily publicly recognized, but do not go unnoticed. There are many smaller leadership positions like being a JYG counselor that are available in every facet of NFTY and taking advantage of these opportunities can propel you to want to achieve greater leadership roles.
At both of Missouri Valley’s sub-regional events this Fall, we were off-schedule due to unforeseen travel issues. Because of the busses being late, some group leaders were not there when they needed to lead their programs. Fortunately, a few people stepped up to fill the gaps and really helped the weekend run smoothly. Helping in to group lead when you have never done it before can be scary and so can quieting a room, but it was unbelievably helpful when things were not going as planned to know that people were doing everything they can to help the region. Doing little things like these are the best way to show initiative and leadership, even without a title. Everyone who stepped in had a great time and most have requested to group lead in the future.
The lesson behind this is if you never try, you’ll never know. If you never try group leading, you’ll never know if you’ll fall in love with it and choose to make NFTY a bigger part of your life. If you never attend a JYG event, you’ll never know if you might have become great friends with a future underclassmen. If you never run for your TYG board, you may not find what you are truly passionate about in NFTY. There are multiple hypothetical situations, but you probably get the point. That is why we challenge you to hold nothing back. Go out and meet the kid you’ve never seen before. Take the opportunity to lead discussion during a program. Change a JYGers life by introducing them to NFTY. Be a leader because if you don’t, who knows what you might have missed out on.