Ido Levita - Counselor at Otzma ('Strength') Camps
Meet 26-year-old Ido Levita, a counselor who has worked with the IDFWO in our Otzma (‘Strength’) camps since Passover 2012. He began to work for the organization in his final year at school at Hebrew University, studying philosophy, economics, and political science.
Levita said: "About three and a half years ago, I needed direction. I was finishing school and I felt I needed a framework to guide me.”
A workshop was held for graduating students who were looking for a direction. At this workshop, Ido met Yonan Merom, a member of the IDF Widows and Orphans, who was a speaker at the convention.
“He told me about the Otzma camps and it really intrigued me,” Ido remembers. “I was very excited and the next day I met Shlomi (Director of Youth Programing at IDFWO), who interviewed me for the position.”
“The camp was a week and a half away and it was just before Passover. My being a counselor was not planned, but it happened and I am very happy it did.” Ido went through unique training for it is necessary before helping young people who have experienced loss. “It was not simple by any means. I was so scared at first, I had never experienced dealing with such trauma. It took time to adjust and adapt to the atmosphere, but once you make that step, it gets much easier."
"It's hard to sum up how it feels to work with these children, but it is undoubtedly one of the most important things I have experienced in my life. I became a part of a family and I formed relationships with children that went beyond the camps into my everyday life."
When asked about a moment he remembers particularly, it was difficult for him to answer. "There are so many meaningful experiences," he explains. "It's hard to choose but two particularly stand out in my mind. I was on the bus with the kids to my first Otzma, and the bus had taken a pit stop. One of the kids approached me and asked if I was a new guide of the group, to which I said yes. At a moment of still being at my peak of stress and excitement, he just hugged me. I will not forget this ever.” "The second case is Yom Hazikaron (Memorial Day for fallen soldiers). This day is always very significant, because we (all of the instructors) accompanied the kids to come together in the hardest moments of standing before the graves of their parents.”
"I do not know if you can describe it in words. I think if you ask any of the counselors, it's simply an environment of pure fun, love, friendship, and family.”