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October 13, 2015 | 30th Tishrei 5776

Serving Our Youth: August 2010

Serving Our Youth
Website | Subscribe | Donate August 16, 2010 | 6 Elul 5770

From the Union Youth Specialists

> Youth Resources
> Webinars
> NFTY and Youth Programs
> Israel Programs
> Camps

Summer is slowly winding down and planning for the school year is beginning to ramp up. As always, we’re here to help you plan your year with valuable resources (like our NFTY TYG Starter Guide). We also offer consulting in a variety of areas including youth program development and management, youth policy creation, youth committee support, and Youth Advisor training.

Read on to discover what we accomplished this past summer at URJ Camps and learn about the exciting Israel programs, conventions and online learning opportunities that lie ahead for 2010-2011. We welcome you to contact us for more information or assistance.

Wishing you a successful start to the school year,

Margie Bogdanow


Craig Rosen


Rabbi Laura Novak Winer


Youth Resources

NFTY TYG Starter Guide
Learn to cultivate and nourish your Temple Youth Group (TYG). Chapters include Leadership Roles and Responsibilities, Programming, Social Action, Publicity and Fundraising.

Resources for Building Community and Group Dynamics
Mixers and other ideas to build your youth group membership.

Ready to Use Informal Youth Programs, Resources and Ideas at your Fingertips!
As you begin building the yearly programmatic framework for the Jewish youth in your congregation, use one of three program banks offered by the Union.

Youth Committee Listserv
Are you a Congregational Youth Committee member looking to connect with others online? Subscribe to this listserv to post questions and concerns, share answers and provide feedback to others in similar situations.

Congregational Youth Volunteer Leaders Networking Group
If you are a lay leader involved with Youth in your congregation this is the networking group for you. By joining this group you will also be subscribed to our listserv. Visit the Networking Groups page to join.


Webinars are free, live web presentations that allow you to learn from experts. Here are a couple of upcoming Youth-related webinars.

Integrating Youth Professionals into Your Community - September 15, 2010, 1 PM EST
Presented by Margie Bogdanow, Youth Specialist
Integrating a new youth professional into your community? Join us to learn valuable tips for orientation and supervision for your new team member's first few months.

What does a "Youth Friendly" Congregation Look Like? - October 7, 2010, 2 PM EST
Presented by Craig Rosen, Youth Specialist
How can your congregation convey that youth are an important part of the community? We’ll take a look at some practical ideas to make your synagogue a more welcoming place for youth. This webinar is ideal for lay leaders and youth professionals looking to build their youth program!

Union Webinar Archives
Webinars can also be accessed afterwards through the Union's webinar archives. Some of the webinars that are now archived include: Youth Worker 101 – What You Need to Know for A Successful Year; Strengthening Your Youth Committee; and Sacred Choices Training for Facilitators of the Middle School and High School Curriculum.

What’s New in the Union's NFTY and Youth Programs

Rabbi Yoffie, in his report to the Union Board of Trustees, has indicated teen engagement as one of his highest priorities for the next two years. Efforts will include: Rebuilding NFTY with increased funding, staffing and training and helping congregations promote teen engagement. Rabbi Laura Novak Winer, in her role as Senior Consultant, Director of Teen Engagement, with the partnership of the NFTY staff, Youth Specialists and many others, will be heading up these efforts. Please watch your inbox for information about how to get involved in the teen engagement projects and pilots to be unveiled in the coming months!

As summer ends and we go back to school, NFTY is kicking off the 2010-11 year with hundreds of programs for your teens at the regional and North American level:

NFTY Regional Events – now thru May 2011
NFTY’s regional programs – hosted by congregations or held at local camps – bring youth groups from across the region together for Jewish enrichment and hands-on experiential programming.

NFTY Convention 2011 - February 18-22, 2011
Bring your teens to Dallas this President’s Day weekend to experience the ultimate NFTY community. They will connect, learn and have fun with hundreds of their peers in grades 9-12 from across North America. A limited number of need-based scholarships are available from NFTY. Preference will be given to applicants receiving scholarship dollars from other sources, including from their home congregation.

Youth Workers Conference 2011 - February 18-22, 2011
Youth Workers Conference will bring youth workers, clergy and lay leaders to Dallas, Texas to learn with experts, network with colleagues, share ideas and participate in joint programs with NFTY Convention delegates. The conference will provide your staff and lay leaders with meaningful learning experiences and a community in which to share best practices and program ideas, as well as opportunities to connect with teens from your congregation.

And it’s never too early to think about Summer 2011. Registration for our summer programs beings this fall and now is the time to identify teens in your congregation who will be great candidates for these unique leadership experiences. Your personal outreach and financial support is key to their decision to spend the summer with NFTY:

NFTY Leadership Experience at URJ Kutz Camp – June 26 to July 19, 2011
Send your current and future teen leaders to be part of the unique, peer-led Reform Jewish community at Kutz Camp. Kutz offers a college campus-style environment where they will choose a major, pick minors, select from outdoor recreational electives and more, creating a daily schedule customized to their interests. Kutz alumni return home ready to be leaders in the congregation, serving their youth groups and religious schools.

Mitzvah Corps – Summer 2011
A unique summer opportunity for your teens in grades 10-12 with a passion for social action! These programs combine hands-on work with communities in need, together with Jewish learning, friendship and fun.

URJ Israel Programs

The URJ offer your teens, college students and young adults the opportunity to experience Israel by participating in one of our short or long term travel programs:

NFTY in Israel
Summer travel to Israel for high school teens. Registration for the 2011 summer will begin in November of 2010.

KESHER Birthright Trip
FREE ten day trip for Jews 18-26 who have never been to Israel on a peer program. Registration begins September 13th (returning applicants) and September 14th (new applicants).

NFTY-EIE High School in Israel
Accredited high-school program offering a fall, spring or summer semester. Registration is open now and scholarships are available for this fall.

The Netzer Year
Pre-college eight month gap year program for high school graduates. Registration for 2011-12 year begins November 2010.

Kibbutz Lotan's Green Apprenticeship
Trains participants to understand and create alternative solutions for the issues facing the modern world.

Tikkun Olam-Tel Aviv
Five or ten month program for college graduates committed to pluralism, social justice, Jewish learning and Hebrew study.

For more information about these or any other Union sponsored program in Israel, visit

URJ Camps

While every summer at each URJ Camp is uniquely fun and meaningful, this summer we’re particularly proud of a number of significant accomplishments:

URJ 6 Points Sports Academy
This summer, we opened our thirteenth camp! With registration that surpassed our initial expectations and rave reviews from campers, parents, staff members and professionals, 6 Points continues to be a wild success. Visit the camp’s blog at for a collection of videos, news articles and letters that celebrate all of the successes.

"The Clipboard"
Our camps have ramped up their communications efforts this summer, providing families and the interested public with a great window into camp life through regular video updates, blog entries and copious use of Facebook and Twitter.

Camp Alumni Reunions
Some of our camps are reaching milestone anniversaries this season (Greene is 35 & Kutz is 45), and most are hosting alumni reunions throughout the summer. We encourage you to register as an alum to stay in touch with our camps.

Starting in the fall, we’ll be moving into our recruiting season, and look forward to reaching out to Reform Jews across the continent. Most of our camps are 80% full by December – let us help you get your kids to camp! We invite you to be in touch with your regional camp, Kutz or 6 Points to discuss ways to connect your congregation’s kids with camp.

You and your youth can always visit for more information on our camps and specialty programs, staff opportunities, news updates, research and more!

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