Mika applied for and received a Jewish Youth Experience loan. It helped him attend two of BBYO’s summer programs. He went to International Leadership Training Conference (ILTC) and Kallah.
Mika’s experience: Five weeks. Every one told me that my five weeks in Lake Como, Pennsylvania, would be incredible, that my time at Camp Perlman would be the best five weeks of my life. I really don’t want to sound cliché, but they were right. Perlman summer was the greatest experience of my life. Even though I am only 16, the memories of that summer will forever strengthen my love for the Jewish people. Despite being hundreds of miles away from my house in Dallas, Texas, I felt at home. My bed was small and I barely got any sleep, but I have never been more comfortable in my life. Every teen there was an ally, all going through the same trials and tribulations of high school. Every adult was inspirational; they all wanted me to succeed. And every single person at Perlman was a friend. I had a great time at Perlman. I played Frisbee, swam, participated in color wars, and relaxed with my new friends. Not everything was fun and games though. I planned programs and services, did community service, and went to numerous classes spanning from how to plug into the global network of Judaism, to singing. At camp I learned quite a lot, but most importantly my summer instilled me with a drive. I was surrounded by intelligence which inspired me to read, experience, and ultimately learn more. I was also educated on the size of our Jewish community not only in America, but around the world. Jews are only 2% of the world’s population, yet despite our size we have survived and accomplished great feats. It is because of this that I am motivated to continue the Jewish legacy. It is my new goal to become as engaged as possible in not only the Jewish, but also the Dallas community as well. I also want to connect with Jewry across the world. We as a people are a family and need to stick together.