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Channah and friends at the conference

Bonfire at Camp Chi

Channah Greenfield

Channah Greenfield: Review of NCSY 's Spring Regional Camp Chi

Channah Greenfield, June 11, 2014



There are a handful of Jewish youth groups throughout North America, and NCSY is definitely one of the strongest. It has been inspiring North America’s youth for 60 years. There are many different regions, but Midwest  is the best. I may be biased, considering the fact that Winnipeg is part of the Midwest region, rather than being part of a Canadianregion. We in Winnipeg may not have the largest chapter but we have a very inspired and determined one.



Most other chapters in NCSY have adult chapter advisors, who plan programs, conventions, and details pertaining to conventions; for example, the transportation to conventions. However, a chapter advisor is something that Winnipeg is definitely lacking. Instead, I and my co-presidents Julia Elbaze and Kas Kuropatwa work hard every day, along with the support of our parents and Rabbi Ari Ellis of  Herzlia Adas Yeshuran Synagogeu to plan out each and every detail.



It’s never easy, but it’s always worth it in the end. The Winnipeg chapter has flown, bussed, and driven in order to get to conventions throughout the years; we are without a doubt extremely dedicated people.



Each year Midwest NCSY has a Fall Convention, Winter Convention (Conclave), Spring Convention (Camp Chi) and many other smaller conventions. Occasionally Midwest will attend an international convention as well; for example, this year Midwest attended the International Yarchei Kallah Convention in New York.



I just attended my final NCSY convention as an NCSYer. It was my seventh convention over five years. Camp Chi, the Spring Regional Convention, is the last convention of the year and is held at Camp Chi in Wisconsin. It is held over five days and is packed with programs, sessions, trips, singing, dancing, and fun.



The Winnipeg Chapter met at Herzilia Synagogue at 8:00 a.m. and excitedly packed and squished ourselves into two cars which then “sped” to Minneapolis. Once in Minneapolis we all enjoyed lunch at the  kosher Vitali’s Bistro. It's ironic that the redtaurant has an  Italian name , considering that they serve crepes, sushi, and omelettes but no Italian food. After stuffing ourselves with nutella crepes we rushed to the Knesseth Israel Synagogue in St. Louis Park, boarded the Minneapolis bus with their chapter and were on our way to the convention!



After a total of 14 hours of travelling, the Winnipeg chapter (in combination with our best friends, the Minneapolis chapter) arrived at Camp Chi around 11:00 pm on Thursday. The other chapters had begun arriving as well, and once everyone dragged their heavy duffels into the mess hall, we had the typical dinner and rules before carting our bags to the lovely cabins.



When we woke up the next morning we had a day filled with sports and other activities before getting ready for Shabbat. A few hours later, everyone gathered, sunburns and all, for singing and dancing and Shabbat dinner and an incredible session inspired by NCSY turning 60 this year.



The next day was started off by optional services or sessions, and then we had lunch, afternoon programming, free time and Havdallah. This unbelievable day was ended with a bonfire and barbeque by the beach.



Each year at Midwest Spring Regional, there’s the option of going to Wisconsin Dells on Sunday. The Dells are a place to shop, go on rides, get henna tattoos and just explore in general. It’s definitely a highlight of the NCSY year. After the Dells, the kitchen staff and directors bring out the very best for banquet, which this year consisted of Belgian waffles, ice cream, pizza, hashbrowns, fruit, root beer floats, mashed potatoes and any other dairy foods imaginable. The Banquet is always followed by awards, in which every senior is given a personal address and award after their time spent at NCSY. Due to the fact that my graduating class consisted of 70 seniors, it took 7 hours, which just goes to show how personalised each award is.



After awards, the few remaining skulked off to their cabins and regrouped a few short hours later for breakfast, singing, dancing and goodbyes.



There is always NCSY merchandise available at the end of conventions, in the past it’s been sweatshirts, mugs, t-shirts, or tumbler cups. This year it was bright orange NCSY blankets and for the first time ever, yearbooks!



After teary goodbyes, Winnipeg and Minneapolis alike boarded the bus and returned to St. Louis Park where Winnipeg spent the evening in the company of wonderful community members and friends. The next morning, half of the Winnipeg chapter crammed into a van and the other half boarded a greyhound bus, that group was then met by Rabbi Ellis and driven the rest of the way home.



NCSY and its programming has impacted teens for generations, and I feel lucky to count myself among them. It’s been amazing to be a part of Midwest NCSY for the past five years; especially the Winnipeg chapter and I’ve loved watching it grow. This year we brought 11 NCSYers to Camp Chi, which is more than Winnipeg has ever had in my time, and equal with many other larger cities. I look forward to returning as an advisor in the future, and watching our chapter and NCSY in general, grow and continue to inspire.

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