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Considering sending your congregation's youth professionals to the URJ's Youth Summit? The summit, happening February 17-20 in Chicago, IL, is a gathering of a community of adults who are professionally invested in the future of our Reform Jewish youth. Read through these five reasons your team needs to attend - and then get registered. We can't wait to see you there!
The Youth Summit is the only regular professional conference for adults working with teens in Reform Jewish congregations.* The Summit draws more than 150 adults, including youth directors, clergy, educators, and lay leaders, who partake in their own learning while experiencing the vibrant NFTY Convention, happening concurrently.
In past years, NFTY Convention and the Youth Summit have functioned as two separate programs. For the first time, this year’s Summit program will parallel the program at NFTY Convention. While NFTY Convention participants focus on this year’s theme of justice and personal agency, Youth Summit attendees will engage in hands-on learning to support and empower their teens in the pursuit of justice. Teen and adult participants will leave as partners, understanding the powerful work they can accomplish together when they return home.
This year, we will offer the rare opportunity for youth leaders to spend dedicated time processing and learning in small groups with other professionals in similar roles and settings. Cohort groups will be the home base for reflection during the Youth Summit, allowing for meaningful application of learning to a myriad of work environments.
This Youth Summit will challenge participants to help our teen leaders “fail forward” while growing from experiences. We will learn with experts, including the nationally renowned Mikva Challenge, a Chicago-based organization helping youth become active citizens and community leaders. They will guide us in answering questions such as: How can we empower our teens to own an experience rather than feeling they must ask for permission? How can we transition our teens through a ladder of engagement from consumers to creators? And, how can we help our youth teams – teens and adults – turn from responsible volunteers to justice-minded leaders?
Our youth professionals work hard throughout the year to offer teens meaningful Jewish experiences. Often, the youth professionals in our communities are the first people our teens turn to in the most exciting and most difficult moments in their lives. The Youth Summit is more than a conference, it is a chance to celebrate our joy and share our challenges with colleagues. It is an opportunity to take a step further into one of the most influential roles in Jewish life, and to return renewed and ready for the next moments that will shape our Jewish future.
* ARJE (Association of Reform Jewish Educators) Annual Gathering: The Intentional Leader: Charting and Navigating the Waters.