CA Month – Raffi and Elie Newman: “What an amazing experience.”

Welcome back to our Crew Appreciation series. It takes a community of dedicated, passionate individuals to help create the magic of Shambhala. We are so fortunate to host talented crew members from across the globe as we all come together on the Farm to turn dreams into reality. Over the next few weeks, we will be featuring influential members from various teams on the Farm. Today we feature brothers Raffi & Elie Newman.

Crew Raffi and Elie

Raffi Newman

“Real World” job: Network Engineer
Shambhala Job: Anything Goes & Tech
Shambhala Spirit Animal: Nicole from HR
Favorite Snack on the Farm: TACO JUSTICE!


Elie Newman

“Real World” job: Conveyancing Paralegal
Shambhala Job: HR & Tech
Shambhala Spirit Animal: My brother!
Favorite Snack on the Farm: Poutine! And all the food created by the wonderful farm kitchen. Mad props. They work so hard and I can feel the love then I eat the food!

SMF: What does Shambhala mean to you?

RN: Vacation with my brother!

EN: Freedom, expression, contentedness, acceptance and kindness. And also… Mega party!


SMF: What has Shambhala taught you?

RN: To accept the things you can not change, to have the courage to change the things you can. And to have the wisdom to know the difference.

EN: How to be kind to people in stressful situations and how to accept that things can change from one moment to the next.


SMF: What’s your Shambhala Story?

RN: In 2008, for whatever reason they let 100 of us through the gate at midnight. Like refugees, under the moonlit fields we ran across the farm with only that which we could carry with us on our backs and under our arms. We scrambled into the forest and set up our camp. As the sun began to rise across the foggy farm valley, my friend and I (who was also my lab partner in school) started talking about what we would do with our knowledge of business systems and wireless infrastructure.

Unbeknownst to us the farmily was listening. Specifically Phil, a hardy looking handyman, who told us the farm had use for guys like us. We exchanged contact information and proceeded to rave our faces off. 6 months later we received an email asking if this was something we were still interested in doing.

Following that, Britz who was managing volunteers at the time reached out to us both and set us up with HR. We were a small team then; my friend and I were pre-show volunteers and the returning two staff members had set everything up for us. It was awesome–each of them was an expert in their field of IT. One was a server infrastructure specialist in “real life”, and the other a network infrastructure specialist – the same as my lab partner and I! And thus, a great relationship was formed.

These two who had previously worked alone had two technicians suddenly had capable volunteers whom they trusted. They could dispatch us to carry out tasks they would normally only trust to do themselves–which equated to a fully seamless passing of the torch of knowledge and understanding. Rather than having just one or two people to preform complex tasks that the entire event depended upon, we now had a full team. The formal training from our work/school experience allowed these tasks immediately shared with us.

A concept like that is pretty standard in an IT department, but you do occasionally see situations where people hold duties pretty close to the chest. With these two Sr. level specialists taking us under their wing, we had a rare opportunity to confab on project work outside of Shambhala from experts in our respective fields who not only knew standards, principles and concepts, but also had a wealth of fun stories to share. What an amazing experience….!

Volunteering was such an incredible experience, I had to start bringing my brother.


SMF: How has Shambhala changed your life?

EN: I would say that it hasn’t necessarily changed my life, but rather it has added something tangible: a desire to connect with people in meaningful ways.


Sign up for the Anything Goes team with Raffi. Sometimes teams can find themselves short staffed. As Anything Goes, you fill the gaps when needed. You enjoy having a diverse range of tasks and you’re able to learn the basics of a job quickly. You’re able to quickly switch to new tasks or to wait patiently for your next assignment. Sound like you? This team needs you!

Join the HR crew with Elie. Welcome our staff and volunteers, help them fill out paperwork, file documents, give people info about their shifts and be part of the heart of our operations. You’ll be right at home working with the HR Crew! Excellent for those organized “people persons” with office experience.

Click here to apply

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