[Archived from March 20, 2009]
[by Daniel Ensign]
After months of planning and lots of anticipation, “Kallah 09: I Feel Home” finally arrived. One hundred ten Jewish teens from the Kentucky-Indiana-Ohio region gathered in Oregonia, OH, for an amazing regional convention.
The 19 Louisville teens boarded a bus and left for Camp Swoneky Friday, March 6, and a couple of hours later, we were welcomed by the members already there.
After settling in and unpacking, we had a small service and started dinner. Kallah was already off to a great start. Dinner was a great time to catch up with old friends and meet a couple of new ones.
After changing into more comfortable clothing, we met back in the dining hall for a couple of great mixers. The mixers involved some chocolate, a beach ball, and several household items; they all played a vital role, helping everyone to get to know each other better.
After everyone was comfortable and relaxed around each other, we listened to an incredible speaker, who, through several activities, brought out our beliefs and feelings about anti-Semitism.
After a night of little sleep, we went to breakfast in some crazy aerobic attire (the theme of this years Kallah), then went straight to the chapel for Saturday morning services. An amazing rabbi led services, and although some of her methods of prayer were a little out of the ordinary, the service was exceptional.
After lunch, we split up into four groups to discuss Judaism and our religious views and beliefs. We discussed the after life and the messiah, did a little meditation and had the opportunity to ask the Rabbi questions about anything.
After the program, we had a few hours of free time to hang out and socialize.
The rest of the night was incredible. We had a good dinner, and then the guys and the girls split up for separate programs. The guys went on trust walk and had an incredible bonding experience.
When we got back to the dining hall, a DJ was waiting. The music started, and everyone enjoyed a fantastic dance.
The following morning, we watched two inspirational videos about tikkun olam, the repair of the world, to help launch BBYO’s new social justice campaign, Stand UP! We also assembled packages of supplies to send to soldiers in Iraq. To finish off the convention, we had a circle and said our goodbyes.
Overall, Kallah was a huge success and an amazing experience for both new and old members. The facilities at Camp Swoneky, staff, meals and all 110 BBYO members made Kallah 09: I Feel Home an absolutely incredible event. There was a perfect balance between Judaism and recreation, and the programs were phenomenal.