The 2018 West Coast Student Retreat

By Delaney Kahlert, National Student Board Member

This February, we invited student interns from schools all over California to Morro Bay for our annual West Coast Retreat. Fourteen students gathered at our beachside airbnb to discuss the meaning of The David Project mission and the impact of relational advocacy on their respective campuses.

We began with a series of sessions, starting with a personal narrative workshop that helped students verbalize their passions and experiences with Israel. This spurred a number of deep conversations, and as we broke off into partner pairs. I had the honor of speaking with Joel, a David Project intern from UCSD. He told me the story of his first experience in Israel and how it inspired him to wear a Kippa everyday to maintain the deep meaning of his visit in his daily life.

As the day progressed, we worked out possible scenarios in campus outreach, developing skills to help navigate tricky situations, and how to better support student interns in their campus endeavors. We had conversations about our most difficult struggles on campus, and how to deal with the challenges of advocating for Israel to close-minded peers. These conversations helped student interns feel supported and empowered as a part of a larger national community that is The David Project.

At the end of the day, we celebrated the end of shabbat with Havdallah, remembering the importance of Shabbat, and blessing the upcoming week. The night was filled with delicious Kosher pizza, ice cream sundaes, and a hilarious game of “What do you Meme”.

On Sunday, we created action plans with our campus delegations to bring back what we had learned to our respective universities. Before we all went our separate ways, we headed to the beach to explore the beautiful Morro Bay and get some group shots before we returned back to school.

Overall, the weekend was filled with new friendships that helped make The David Project feel more of a network and community rather than a program or initiative. A groupchat has already been formed, helping us keep in contact and lean on one another throughout the upcoming semester! Can’t wait for next year :)