My Incredible CTeen Xtreme Experience!
6 years ago Leighest 0
By Adina Samloff
From the moment I heard of CTeen Xtreme Camp, I was thrilled. My family celebrated Shabbat very rarely, but only with a special dinner and matzah ball soup. I went to Camp Gan Israel as a child, and I used to go to Sunday school too. As I became older and was influenced by secular kids, I drifted further and further away from my Jewish roots. I have been waiting for a long time to feel that spark rise up again. When I heard about CTeen Xtreme, I knew that was what I needed to get me back in the right mindset, like a refresher course. But, by the time I heard about it and wanted to register, it was already almost completely booked! But with Hashem’s help, and the kind, generous donations from the members of our community, I was able to secure a spot on the trip. From the time I registered until I boarded the plane to Denver, all I could talk about was CTeen Xtreme. I couldn’t wait for all of the exciting activities, and uplifting moments.
I was a little nervous when I arrived in Denver. It seemed like a lot of the campers all knew each other, and I was worried about fitting in. But, almost immediately after we loaded the bus the first day, I felt like I belonged. All of the girls were so diverse, coming from as far as Alaska, Hawaii, and Canada. We immediately set off to go white water rafting, where we bonded even more. By the time we arrived at the hotel that night, we already felt like a family.
As camp progressed, I learned more about myself, my strengths and my abilities both on the trips and off. On the first morning of camp, we began the morning with praying, which was very daunting for me because I had never prayed before in my life. While we davened, Manya, our chaperon, spoke to us about the importance of starting the day right, by saying Modei Ani and making time to daven. I was so inspired by her talk, and have since decided to say Modei Ani every morning when I woke up. Combine my new found Jewish experiences with the awesome, extreme trips, and you have an amazing, life changing summer. We did so many amazing things: ziplining, mountain biking, tubing, UTV touring, and so much more. As we traveled, we not only did things that were fun and life changing for us, but also had a chance to do nice things for other people. On day three of the trip we volunteered at a park to pack 250 food backpacks for needy children, and we also volunteered at the Utah Food Bank later on in the trip. On top of that, we also took opportunities to spread the shining light we gained at CTeen to other people. We did Jewish outreach on Friday afternoon in Las Vegas, in the Luxor Hotel!
One of my favorite memories from the trip was the day we went speed boating. After the boating, we sat on the dock and took turns jumping off. After jumping off a couple of times, I even convinced Mrs. Lazaroff to jump in with us! It was an awesome moment because everyone felt so free and had so much fun. Besides for that, every memory I think back on has a special place in my heart: from going tubing for the first time, or the Shabbats we spent in Las Vegas and in Los Angeles. Everything was amazing!
Finally, the last day of CTeen Xtreme came. “We davened for the last time as a group that morning and I realized how much I had learned. I could say some prayers without having to read out of the siddur. I was so proud of myself! At the farewell banquet, we sang, danced, and spent time together for the last time before everyone took off to the airport to catch their flights home. I was sad to say goodbye to everyone, but I know that we will be together again soon!
CTeen Xtreme Traveling Camp 2015/5775 was everything more than what I had expected for it to be. I grew as a young Jewish woman. To this day, I wake up and wash my hands (negel vasser), along with modei ani. Thank you to all of those who have sponsored me and have helped me restart my Jewish aspirations. I was inspired the whole trip. Thank you for all of the laugh and memories that I have obtained from these two short weeks. I did not know that I could even experience so much Judaism in two short weeks. I cannot wait for the day I will be given the opportunity to sponsor a group of girls to have the same experience that I have had. I want you all to know that I am so appreciative and grateful for all the mitzvot I have learned, and taken on. My experiences will never fade. I cannot wait for a reunion! I miss my girls and counselors. I will not cry because it is over, but I am smiling because I have been fortunate enough to have experienced CTeen Xtreme with such inspiring people. I remember the incredible and uplifting time I had. I have committed to dressing tznius at least once a week. I have taken on so many more mitzvot than I ever have in my life. The most important mitzvah that I regularly do is thinking Jewishly. I am so blessed to be able to experience this!