THE 34th annual Maccabi Junior Carnival wrapped up in Sydney on Tuesday after a jam-packed week of sport and socialising.
This year saw more than 400 young Jewish athletes from New South Wales, Victoria, Western Australia, Queensland and New Zealand take part in the event, which included an athletics carnival, outdoor and indoor sports, a harbour cruise, a pool and foam party, a community volunteering day, Shabbat services, an obstacle course challenge and more.
“Carnival has been fantastic. We only had one small hiccup with the heat last week but apart from that everything has gone the way we hoped,” Carnival manager Justin Shelton said.
“It’s a credit to the awesome organising committee that worked with me to put on this Carnival.”
As part of the activities, participants volunteered at a number of aged-care facilities and charitable organisations in the Jewish and wider community on Community Day.
NSW participant Ryan Mayer, who volunteered at NSW Friendship Circle, said: “It’s an awesome experience to be with these kids and learning how they work and feel because a lot of their emotion comes out.
“It feels great to give back to the community … we’re making a real difference to real people, which is the best thing someone can do.”
Maccabi NSW president Danny Hochberg told The AJN Carnival was a great success.
“The kids had a wonderful time, they loved the social aspects of it, the new sports such as rock climbing allowed the kids to get out of their comfort zones and try something new,” Hochberg said.
He noted that Carnival management were very challenged, not least of which by the weather.
“We had to cancel an indoor sports day when temperatures passed 38 degrees. That’s a first for me, I don’t recall that happening before,” he said. “It was a reflection of the fact we take very seriously the welfare of the kids.”
Hochberg said a stand-out result of the Carnival was the fact that for the first time there was a unified youth leader group which worked without state boundaries.
“It brought the youth leader group closer together and it meant that a youth leader felt responsible for all kids, not just the kids in their state,” he said.
He added that it resulted in a more socially cohesive group “which worked so well together”.
“They are the pride of Maccabi,” he said.
Junior Carnival will next be hosted in NSW in 2020, with the event set for Perth next year. “NSW always looks forward to Carnival because it’s an opportunity for us to showcase our community,” Hochberg said.
See all the pics in this week’s AJN.