So much to celebrate in NFTY678!
By: Audrey Honig, NFTY-CAR Middle School Coordinator
Looking back at our NFTY-CAR middle school experiences this year, we have so much to smile about! While connecting virtually, we looked beyond the idea of simply “recreating” in-person NFTY experiences on the screen. Instead, we reimagined and brought creative energy to NFTY678 — and we had so much fun along the way! I want to share a few highlights that made NFTY678 so special this year.
1. Small group hangouts: One of the best things about virtual programming is connecting in small groups. This year, we coordinated several groups of 5-8 middle schoolers in the same grade to build relationships and enjoy time together. Together, we answered hilarious “would you rather” questions, played some very competitive games of UNO, and had a fabulous time showing off our pets. I am confident that the friendships formed through these hangouts will transfer wonderfully to in-person gatherings!
2. Ambassador Meetings: The NFTY678 Ambassador group includes middle schoolers who choose to spend time together learning about leadership from a Jewish perspective and building community. Through monthly meetings, they developed friendships and rituals (like virtually “high fiving” each other after each meeting). One of my favorite meetings was centered around self-care. High school leader Lyla taught our community how to make fortune tellers and labeled them with different self-care activities that are both meaningful and fun. We learned that great leaders care not just for their communities, but also for themselves!
3. Amazing partnerships: Another highlight of NFTY678 this year was our partnerships with organizations including the JUF, Springboard, and guests from jGirls Magazine. Through our partnership with the JUF, we hosted a Giving Circle for our NFTY-678 participants to allocate funds to nonprofits working to support youth-at-risk in Chicago. Through this program, we allocated over $2,000 to Chicago Youth Centers, while defining the Jewish values that drove us to do so. Thank you to our partners who made NFTY678 rich and meaningful!
4. The NFTY678 Va’ad: Lastly, working with the NFTY678 va’ad was an incredible highlight of this year. The va’ad is made up of eight high school students who meet almost every week to plan and implement programming for NFTY’s middle schoolers. They developed their leadership skills this year through innovative programming, thoughtful listening, and setting a strong example of Jewish engagement for their younger peers. We recently talked about what they are most proud of this year, and the most consistent theme was an increased sense of confidence in their leadership. I can’t wait for them to carry this confidence with them!
Todah Rabah (Thank you) to everyone who played a role in making NFTY678 such a success this year. It has truly been a great year of creativity and connection!