For the 11th Year, the MyShliach Tzeirei Hashluchim West Coast Winter Camp took place amongst the beautiful mountains of Glendale, California with young shluchim joining from as far as Australia.
For the 11th Year, the MyShliach Tzeirei Hashluchim West Coast Winter Camp took place amongst the beautiful mountains of Glendale, California. Young shluchim from all across the country, and as far as Australia, came together to spend an unforgettable week connecting to their fellow shluchim.
The annual winter camp’s focus is to create a feeling of family and community amongst the young Shluchim and to impart an understanding of their critical importance.
“The energy was incredible,” says Rabbi Zalmy Kudan, longtime beloved director of the Camp, “even the simplest moments were made special. It was just that kind of atmosphere.” He shared that one day, while the Torah was being taken out to be read, the camp erupted into singing and dancing, and best of all, no one was surprised.
“This camp is special,” says Rabbi Mendy Shanowitz, Director of MyShliach at Merkos 302. “It gives young shluchim a chance to connect with their peers, and that impact lasts the entire year.”
Each morning began with a “warm-up” session. The entire camp would sit in a circle while the twelve pesukim were recited, a story was told, and cookies and hot cocoa were given out. From there, the campers would daven and head off to learning classes, where they studied from an in-depth curriculum about Moshiach, immersing themselves in the ultimate goal of their shlichus.
Every day, the young Shluchim enjoyed a unique activity, including ice skating, archery, and even a silent disco. However, this camp’s outings come with an inspiring twist. The young shluchim utilized it to spread Yiddishkeit wherever they went. The final day of camp was spent at Knots Berry Farm. In addition to enjoying the rides, the young Shluchim went looking for fellow Jews who wanted to put on tefillin. As they headed back to camp, they discussed the roller coasters and rides, but most passionately about the moments of sharing Yiddishkeit with those around them.
“We look at this week as an opportunity to reinforce the young shluchim with a sense of enthusiasm and joy in their unique Shlichusin,” says Rabbi Mendy Kotlarsky, Executive Director of Merkos 302. “We are here for the Shluchim and their families in everything they need in all areas of their life, and the winter camp is one of those critical necessities.” As young Shliach Mendel Bush shared at the banquet, he has been coming to this camp for the past six winters, and each time, he felt this week had fuelled him throughout the year.
That added energy boost was felt throughout the week in many moments, including a special visit from Rabbi Shlomo Cunin, head shliach of California, who spent time with the Shluchim on Motzai Shabbos. In light of the tremendous amount of Mivtzoim accomplished throughout the summer, Rabbi Cunin emphasized the importance of Mivtzah tefillin and the incredible impact they, as young Shluchim, can have on everyone around them.
The camp was directed by Rabbi Zalmy and Shterna Kudan and Rabbi Mendel and Rochel Loschak, Shluchim in S. Barbara, California. Together with them, counselors came from all over the world to help contribute to this critical mission. “The counselors were key to the success of this year’s camp,” says Rabbi Simcha Backman, Shliach to Glendale, CA, and long-time committee member of the winter camp, “their dedication from the first moment blew us away.”
Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky, Vice Chairman of Merkos L’Inyonei Chinuch, Mr. Shmuel Aizenberg, Mr. Sholom Leyton, Mr. Yosef Gorowitz, and many other generous individuals made this wonderful experience for the young Shluchim possible. Without them, none of this would have been possible.
The camp is organized for Shluchim by Shluchim, with the executive committee overseeing the camp’s funding and operations esteemed California Shluchim Rabbi Simcha Backman, Rabbi Nachman Abend, and Rabbi Shlomo Bistritsky.
To support this exceptional project, visit https://www.tzeireihashluchimcamp.com/donate.html