Our primary goal with technology is to use all available channels to spread the word about our upcoming events. However, besides communicating the concrete facts about events, we also hope to convey why joining youth group is fun and rewarding. Through our videos, we demonstrate our friendship and enjoyment to practice Judaism together in a youthful, creative and personal way.
We extensively use our facebook group for parents and participants. When our youth group is trying to learn a new song for our creative service, I will post a youtube clip on facebook for our participants to learn. For our new members, I posted videos of the Birkat Hamazon, so our new NFTYites will know this prayer before New Member Kallah. We also post our pictures from past events and create event pages for upcoming events. Currently we have 50 members in this group, with daily activity.
We also use technology as a way for leadership development. A current senior in our youth group is the technology chair and is responsible for updating our youth website: http://www.bethmiriamyouthgroup.org/ and our Membership VP is responsible for our facebook page.
What kind of successes have you achieved in using this technology so far?
Our most successful use of technology has been the video photo slideshows after each event. By viewing our videos, our new members will be emotionally engaged and are more willing to participate. The photos and videos, along with a Jewish song, are the best hook. We use an online software program called Animoto. For this year, our two videos have been for our kick-off pool party and for the senior youth group board retreat. For the pool party, we had all 3 youth groups included and this video appealed to parents and participants. The videos can be viewed here and here.
Also, since they are available through a link, it helps that it doesn't have to be downloaded via email as a large data file. We also use mass texting as a way to increase religious and cultural awareness. Our Religious & Cultural VP sends our weekly texts to remind us about Shabbat... to take a deep breath and reflect. We also get text reminders about Israeli politics and we are reminded as Reform Jews to remain aware and educated about Israel and also be reminded of the sanctity of Shabbat.