This is an initiative of the JNF called JNFuture Leadership Institute Mission. This was their first mission to Israel. It consisted of 24 highly motivated participants chosen from different parts of the US (there was one participant from South Africa) who will serve as JNF's ambassadors to their communities. It was a 5 day trip and took the group all over the country, where they met with people from different walks of life, including the mayor of Be'er Sheva and in Merkaz Klita. The group spent their last evening at Neot Kedumim. The photo below is of the entire group, including Russell Robinson – CEO of the JNF in North America, Gabrielle Carlin and Bruce Gould, of Orlando, Florida who served as the group's mentor. Here's a lovely quote from Ben Levien, one of the participants:
After spending a week in Israel on JNFuture’s Jewish Leadership Institute Mission, we ended our trip at Neot Kedumim. The symbolism of our group, who had only met a few days earlier, coming together to plant trees to close our mission reminded us of the timeless connection we have with Israel and the impact our actions can have on our homeland. Even though our group left Israel the next day, the trees we planted together will flourish and become a part of Israel’s landscape.