Sport the JCC Colors at the Maccabi Games!
At this very moment, a delegation of 15 young athletes representing the JCC Denver is competing at the JCC Maccabi Games in Fort Lauderdale, Florida! After several years hiatus from sending a delegation, we are over the moon that, once again, JCC Denver will have a presence at this much-loved and enriching event. This is in large part thanks to the generosity of Elaine and Steve Berman, who have been instrumental in our team’s ability to participate.
Attending the JCC Maccabi Games is a profoundly eye-opening experience for many young people, as they embark on, or continue, their journey of exploring Jewish culture and tradition. Daniel Siegel, who is heading the JCC Denver Delegation, says, “It’s a cornerstone of youth programming, and nurtures connection to heritage and the greater Jewish community of America. It’s the largest gathering of Jewish youth in the world; Kids come from literally all over the globe. It is truly a unique experience for most kids.”
Comprised of athletes aged 12-16, our 15 competitors will be under the guidance of two coaches who have a combined 16+ experience in coaching and attending the JCC Maccabi Games. Mike Kboudi, one of the coaches, has seen each and every one of his own children travel to the Games to compete. Coach AJ, who has been coaching and volunteering his time for ~10 years, will also be attending.
While in Fort Lauderdale, athletes will stay in host family accommodations and truly immerse themselves in the new location, activities, and community of their hosts. Dana Britten, mother to one of our Delegation athletes, remembers being a host family for two athletes in 2010 when Denver hosted the JCC Maccabi Games. Now that her son Saul is competing in Fort Lauderdale, Dana sees the experience coming full circle.
“When we hosted two boys from Philly in 2010, I was actually pregnant with Saul at the time. I remember joking with my husband that, someday, maybe our son would be sitting in some host family’s kitchen eating Cinnamon Toast Crunch and drinking a gallon of milk a day. Turns out, 12 years later, we were right!”
Saul will be competing on the boys’ Basketball team, but because this team is quite small, they’ll be joining forces with other smaller delegations to make up a complete team. Dana feels that this is a great opportunity for Saul, to be meeting new kids and forming the kind of teammate bond with athletes from around the country.
Saul and his siblings have attended JCC Camp Shai since the earliest they could, and Saul spent two weeks at Ranch Camp this summer (on the sports track). Having Saul on the JCC Denver Delegation is not only exciting for everyone, but also a natural progression of his family’s connection with the JCC. The JCC exists to foster connection and build community; watching our youth travel to far corners of the country to continue this mission is not only moving, but incredibly inspiring.
Good luck to our athletes!