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What Teens Say: Reflections on the Triple T teen Retreat

53 teenagers – 7th through 11th grades – gathering together for our Triple T (“Tracks for Temple Teens”) teen Retreat. Over dinner, I asked them a few questions, and gave them my laptop to record their answers.

First Question: What have been the best parts of the retreat so far?

  • Arielle Tylim and Alyssa Kaplan 10th Grade and Ben Buckley 7th Grade: The best part of the Triple T retreat was spending time with our cabins and making new friends. 
  • Rachel Harris 8th Grade: I have loved getting to know everyone better. Before the retreat I knew everyone’s faces but I never really talked to them. I have enjoyed meeting new friends. 
  • Carly Klinenberg 10th Grade: The best part of the retreat was being with all my old friends and making new ones. 
  • Abigail Barnes 8th Grade: I have enjoyed meeting new people and services. 
  • Zoey Pittler 8th Grade: I loved reconnecting with friends that I haven’t seen in a while. I also loved all of the people in my cabin. 
  • Ben Davidorf 7th Grade: One of my favorite parts of the retreat was singing in the services. I loved all the new Jewish songs that I learned like “hay-yah-ho.” 
  • Jacob Buckley 10th Grade and Steven Suffin 7th Grade: We loved every part of camp! We would happily come back!  
  • Aaron Moxness 10th Grade: I thought the retreat was amazing, and can’t wait for next year!! I especially liked playing guitar in the song sessions. 
  • Steven Simen 10th Grade: Um…. this retreat has been awesome, well organized and well planned. The best thing was the water balloon launch. 

  • Caryl Kaplan, retreat nurse/mom:
    The best part of the retreat has been the people I have met both campers and staff!!

Second Question: How was the retreat different from what you expected?

By and large, the number one answer was that they expected to be overwhelmed with praying and rituals. In fact, all but one student responded saying that the retreat was balanced, friend-filled and exciting.

  • Steven Simen 10th Grade: I can’t say anything bad about this, because it has been very good. 
  • Abigail Barnes 8th Grade: I expected the retreat to be really boring but it has been very fun. I have had so much fun hanging out with my friends. 
  • Zoey Pittler 8th Grade: The retreat was almost like I was at Camp Newman, but for just a weekend.

    Aaron Moxness 10th Grade: It was everything I expected. 

  • Rachel Harris 8th Grade: … there have been so many fun-filled activities. 
  • Arielle Tylim and Alyssa Kaplan 10th grade and Ben Buckley 7th Grade: … we had a lot of fun and enjoyed making friends with the younger kids. 
  • Caryl Kaplan, retreat nurse/mom: Watching their interactions as a “fly on the wall” was a heart warming experience. The world could use many more Or Ami young people. 
  • Rabbi Paul Kipnes, 15th Grade: I forgot how kids of all different ages bond together in a camp setting, so that differences disappear and then become one community.

Thanks to Rabbi Julia Weisz, Mishpacha Coordinator Rachel Kaplan Marks, LoMPTY youth advisor Stefanie Philips, and the amazing staff.

To catch a glimpse of how much fun a teen retreat can be, check out our pictures on Facebook. Look at Congregation Or Ami and at Paul Kipnes.

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