The YEC brought together youth professionals, clergy and lay leaders to learn,
network and share ideas on how to nurture and grow youth programs. The
conference focused on experimentation, with opportunities for participants to
conceive, plan, implement, and debrief experiential learning programs with
teens attending the NFTY Convention. Participants also attended skill-based workshops relating to various elements
of youth engagement, led by experts within the Jewish community and from
congregations doing exemplary work.
"I was asked to help inspire the almost 900 Reform Jewish teens and the
nearly 150 professionals and lay leaders who work hard every day to keep them
engaged," said Rabbi Jacobs. "In the end, they were the ones who
inspired me! I was simply amazed at the level of passion and motivation both
groups have for living Jewishly and reimagining Jewish life for the generations
to come. The future of the Jewish people is in their capable hands."
"The more the adults who work with youth are engaged deeply in what we say
and do, the more our teens will be engaged, deeply, in what we do," said
URJ Director of Youth Engagement Rabbi Bradley Solmsen. "If each of us
commit to learning and growing - to being learners ourselves - we will be that
much better at helping our teenagers learn and grow. That's what I hope the
Campaign for Youth Engagement is about."
One highlight of the YEC was a visit with youth ministry at the First African
Methodist Episcopal (Mega) Church to learn about their approaches to youth
engagement. Participants also heard from dynamic speakers such as Cyd Weissman,
Director, Innovation in Congregational Learning for Greater New York, for The
Jewish Education Project and Allison Fine, co-author of the bestselling The Networked Nonprofit, and author of the
award-winning Momentum: Igniting Social Change in the Connected Age.