LINCOLNSHIRE — In hopes of making the end result both beautiful and rare, Amy Orlov is creating adversity for herself.
The incoming senior at Stevenson High School is the new President of the Chicago Area Region of the North American Federation of Temple Youth; the nonprofit organizes Reform Jewish teens. Orlov spent her junior year as the chapter’s treasurer, so she has an understanding of the financial challenges that face her idea: expanding the federation’s camp for underprivileged youth to Chicagoland.
She worships with Temple Chai in Long Grove, and returned two weeks ago from a month-long retreat for NFTY leaders in Warwick, N.Y. She spoke recently about her trip, her upcoming year as the chapter’s executive, and quotes from her favorite Disney film.
Q: What was the leadership retreat like?
A: For the first five days, it was a lot of meeting with the other 18 chapter presidents, to talk about what we wanted to focus on. We also took a trip to New York City, to meet with the leaders of NFTY. It was a lot of interacting with new people. But it was my second summer at camp, so I got to see a lot of kids I hadn’t seen since last year. In the city, we went to a place called Chicago City Limits, and we did improv with them. We went to Times Square, and we spent about four hours there, and we ate real junk food. And we went to Broadway, we saw Mama Mia.
Q: What made you want to get involved with a national youth group?
A: A lot of it was the upperclassmen who talked to me about it. I was like “Oh, they have fun, maybe I’ll have fun.” When I was a freshman, I didn’t like it at first. Everybody already knew each other. But, you make friends. Everyone’s very open there, it’s a very non-judgmental group, which is something hard to find in today’s society. I knew that I wanted to be on the regional board, that I had a lot of interests. After that year of being treasurer, you saw what was going on, and all the ideas, and sometimes the flaws, but I liked it.
Q: What would you like to do during your year as president of the Chicago region?
A: That is a very good question. One of my big things, and this is something I started working on last year with my advisor, Logan Zinman, is Camp Jenny. It’s a camp for underprivileged children in Atlanta. I thought “Wow, this is such a great program, why don’t we have something like this in Chicago?” I started working on it my junior year. We’re pretty set on it happening. It’s going to be Memorial Day weekend, 2014. I’ve been focusing on logistics, funding. I think it’ll be very cool, once we figure it all out.
Q: Your email address professes your love for Disney. What is it with you and Disney?
A: My family is what you would call one of those Disney families. We go to Disneyland a lot. My mom, she had two handicapped brothers, but Disney, because they’re so good with customer service, they always took care of them. Some people are like “Doesn’t Disneyland get old?” and I’m like “No, not yet.” I’ve been there more times than I can count.
Q: What Disney-related thing — a character, movie, ride, anything — means the most to you?
A: I really like the movie Mulan. There’s a quote from it that I really like. Here, let me pull up the exact words (Orlov starts an internet search)…it is “The flower that blooms in adversity is the most rare and beautiful of all.”