10 things I took away from the CTeen Leadership Retreat

6 years ago vlamport 0

This summer, I attended the Leadership Retreat for the first time. The retreat was such a wonderfully unique and inspiring experience that I would recommend to anyone. Here are ten things that I took away from the retreat…


1. Be a LEADER: Good leaders create followers; great leaders create other leaders

This is what the Rebbe’s vision and message was and what Chabad is all about. The Rebbe gave us our Shluchim, our Shluchim introduced us to CTeen, and then as leaders our job is to create other leaders.


2. Don’t Judge A Chapter By It’s Size: Your CTeen chapter might be small in numbers, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t accomplish great things!

At one point during retreat, all the leaders sat in a circle and one by one shared some of their most successful events. Some chapters, such as those in California or South Florida, are HUGE and hearing the turn out they got at their events was a little overwhelming. But then I realized: having a small chapter does not make it less successful. I walked away with a newfound sense of confidence and appreciation for my chapter.


3. Delegate, Delegate, Delegate: Delegating responsibilities correctly is very important. As  a control freak, I can tell you: It doesn’t help to take all of the responsibility for yourself! Keeping your friends and chapter mates involved is an awesome and powerful thing.


4. No Judgement Zone: No matter how humble and modest we think we may be, we all subconsciously label the people that we meet. First impressions may say a lot, but it’s always  important to get to know the other person! With an open mind, we can remove those labels and connect to people without superficial barriers, which is what being a leader is all about!

On the first day of retreat, we played a game called Labels. We were put into groups of six and the objective was to plan an event; however, here’s the catch! Each person in the group was given a label with phrases such as: Ignore me; Make fun of me; Argue with me; Laugh at me; Agree with everything I say. The labels were on each person’s forehead, so they could not see it. We were to treat each person as if they were their label. With these labels, it was extremely difficult to plan an event!  The way we treat people makes a huge difference!


5. Test Out New Lingo: Always be DTF—Down to Farbrengen, that is! Always be open, ready, and willing to learn about something new.

During retreat we had countless Farbrengens; at the Shabbat table, hiking in the woods, even while playing Escape The Room! By discussing and debating different aspects of Judaism, we were able to learn and become more aware of what it means to live a Jewish life.


6. The Power of Song: Closing your eyes and singing niggunim with a group of girls (or boys if you’re a guy!) is such a powerful way to connect to your neshama. Try it; trust me, you won’t regret it!

Right before Shabbat ended, I sat in a circle with the girl leaders and a Rebbetzin, and she taught us some niggunim. I was familiar with some of the niggunim, and some I had heard in shuel, but sitting there, holding hands, swaying from side to side, was an experience like no other. We were physically connected with our hands, but as we really got into each niggun, I could feel each of us spiritually connected with our neshamas. The effect that the niggunim have had on me are still going strong.


7. Disconnect to Connect: When you keep Shabbat, Shabbat keeps you

I think that each time I keep Shabbat with different people, it is a completely different experience. The leaders each came from very different Jewish backgrounds and households, but we all kept this Shabbat together. Often, people that do not or have never kept Shabbat think that it is extremely difficult, myself included. We were all inspired to try our best to keep Shabbat. By turning off the world around us, we were better able to focus on each other and the activities we participated in.


13507149_10154321773617431_7598160003192106822_n8. Take Your Time to be a Teenager: We learned a lot about relationships on Shabbat. We all walked away realizing that being a teenager also means just having fun and not dating. This was a particularly amazing thing for me.


9. Powerful Leaders: There is so much we can learn about leadership from the Torah. You just have to crack open a Torah and you’ll see it for yourself!

Shabbat morning, Rebbetzin Rochel Flikshtein taught a workshop about leadership in the Torah. Sometimes, being a leader can be a lot of work and responsibility and it feels like I am not sure how to go about being a good leader. After reading different pesukim from the Torah exemplifying leadership, I learned the different leadership qualities that Hashem wants us to have. For example, when Hashem tells Moshe to have Aaron speak for him, we learn that a good leader must delegate responsibilities to their peers.


IMG_925410. The Mitzvah Count: On Shabbat afternoon, Rabbi Berel Solomon spoke to all of us about his experience of becoming religious. What I took away from his talk was this: Every mitzvah you do is important, no matter how religious you are or what you do after that mitzvah is done. Every mitzvah we do counts; do not feel discouraged because you aren’t doing all the them all the time.