Optimist Symposium, Israel

While packing for Israel last week, I looked in my travel bag and couldn’t help but smile at how empty it appeared. It wasn’t filled with usual symposium attire of a drysuit, fleece, lots of neoprene and warm, fuzzy clothing to wear around the campfire after a day on the water. Instead a bathing suit, sunhat, summer clothes and a few small knickknacks rested in the bottom of my huge bag. This was my third time instructing at the Optimist Symposium, and it was wonderful to be going back.

Gathering round for morning announcements.

Roddy and Ehud outside the Optimist center.

There are many reasons why I love this symposium, with the warm weather being just one of them. The Optimist Club is very active, and Club members are a supportive and tight group of friends. Ehud Dror and Hadas Feldman do an incredible job of putting the event together.

Steve is ready for a day on the water.

A gorgeous morning at the beach.

Each morning everyone met at the Optimist center and socialized over coffee and tasty treats while waiting for classes to begin. Classes ran for six hours each day, with a long break in the middle for lunch and socializing. Ben Lawry, Roddy Mcdowell and myself were this year’s guest instructors, and we were assisted by local instructors, all of who were wonderful and a huge help. The first evening Roddy gave us a glimpse into his backyard with a slideshow on Scotland. Following evenings were spent sampling traditional food at tasty restaurants or enjoying each other’s company during a backyard gathering. These gatherings were quite spectacular, and tables were filled with magnificent food and beverages. It was wonderful to catch up with everyone and to meet so many new people as well.

Mmmmm, falafels.

An incredible vegan feast.

After the four-day symposium we had time to explore, and Hadas and I began early with a fantastic paddle on surf skis. After that we met up with Ben, Zviki and Zohar, and the five of us headed to the Sea of Galilee and Nazareth. We had a great day off and spent most of it laughing and joking around with one another.

Hadas and I enjoyed a morning paddle in the warm sunshine.

A fantastic morning on the water.

Now I’m on flight two of three back to California, oddly enough munching on bagged olives and hummus in a tube that the airline provided (it just isn’t the same). I’m heading home to Arcata, where I’m assuming my sun hat and shorts will be stashed away for awhile.

A nice view of the Sea of Galilee.

Ben does some shopping in the market in Nazareth.

While I was in Israel, Mark was in Wales, instructing at the Essential Sea Kayak Festival. I’ll be meeting him in the UK shortly, and we’ll spend most of November running programs in the UK and Wales (see you soon Love). For more information on our UK and Wales programs, visit the Events page.

Thanks to everyone at Optimist for taking such good care of me!

One Response to “Optimist Symposium, Israel”

  • Roddy says:

    And thank you Helen for great company and the inspirational insights into Greenland rolling and those wonderful paddles. See you in Scotland for a round Bute paddle “in my back yard.”
    All best
    Roddy

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