3 Opportunities to Strengthen Youth Education and Engagement in Your Congregation

Inside Leadership

3 Opportunities to Strengthen Youth Education and Engagement in Your Congregation

Smiling kids packed into a gazebo at camp

With the school year wrapping up and summer just around the corner, now is the perfect time to take a deep dive into planning for next year. There’s an opportunity for everyone, whether you’re looking to reimagine post-b’nei mitzvah engagement, train a new youth professional, or deepen sacred partnerships between professionals and lay leaders.

Learn more about three opportunities from the URJ to strengthen your congregation’s youth education and engagement:

1. Youth Professional 101 Fellowship

Is your congregation hiring a new youth professional this summer? Register for the Youth Professional 101 Fellowship (YP101), which provides new youth professionals in the first two years of their role with training and a peer network to help them create new and meaningful ways of engaging youth in Jewish life. The YP101 Fellowship also includes learning and support for direct supervisors of youth professionals to deepen the impact of their learning and advance your congregation’s overall youth engagement work.

Topics for the 2019-2020 Fellowship will include:

  • Introduction to child/adolescent development
  • Mentoring and appropriate relationships
  • Crisis management
  • “What makes your youth group Jewish?”
  • Beyond youth group: engaging today’s teens
  • Hot topics in teen engagement
  • …and more!

If your congregation has hired or is planning to hire a youth professional this summer, this fellowship will provide additional support for the critical first year of their new role.

Not sure of your plans yet? You can also reserve a space for an unfilled position. Learn more and register.

2. Post B’nei Mitzvah Innovation Online Learning Course

Across the Reform Movement, congregations are reimagining post-b’nei mitzvah engagement and creating dynamic, successful models that are reinvigorating this critical space.

Throughout the last two years, the URJ has worked with colleagues and lay leaders who have been deep in this work as part of the URJ Post-B’nei Mitzvah Innovators Community of Practice (CoP). Now, all congregations can benefit from the learning of this collective journey with the new Post-B’nei Mitzvah Innovators Online Learning Course.

This summer, the URJ is offering two ways to participate in the online learning course:

  • Cohort experience: Join a cohort of professionals and lay leaders working with materials online, live virtual calls, and group exercises.
  • Self-paced experience: Register for the course and set your own pace with your professionals and lay leaders.

Learn more and register by August 16.

3. Sacred Partners in Education: Webinar and Active Learning Network

Are you an educator or education lay leader looking to deepen your relationship with your congregational education partner? Could you benefit from networking with other education leaders across North America and learn how to build appreciation for education in your congregation?

This summer, the URJ is offering two distinct learning opportunities for your congregation:

  • Sacred Partners in Education Active Learning Network: This Active Learning Network (ALN) is for educators and education lay leaders ready to embark on an eight-month journey of learning, networking, and exploration together.
    Participation will include attending six virtual calls, meeting in person at the 2019 URJ Biennial, joining a private discussion group in The Tent, and working with your education partner on your own time. This is an opportunity to form a supportive network with education leaders from other URJ congregations, deepen the holy relationship between lay and professional leaders, and understand why this partnership is a key ingredient of successful congregational life.
  • Sacred Partners in Education Webinar, August 27, 1:00 – 2:15 p.m. EDT: This webinar is intended for educators and education lay leaders looking for an introduction to the concept of sacred partnership. It can be particularly helpful for those transitioning into a new role or welcoming a new sacred partner.
    Participants will understand how to relate the concept of sacred partnership to their work with their education partners, begin thinking about their relationship, and learn about our upcoming Active Learning Network.

Learn more about the URJ’s initiatives for Sacred Partners in Congregational Education in the Tent.

Whether you’re already deep into planning for next year or just beginning that process, we hope these three opportunities will help your congregation invest in intentional and reflective work to engage youth and teens and help them discover meaning, purpose, and joy in being Jewish.

Have something to say about this post? Join the conversation in The Tent, the communications and collaboration platform for congregational leaders of the Reform Movement. You can also tweet us or tell us how you feel on Facebook.

Elena Paull is the assistant director of youth communications and engagement at the Union for Reform Judaism. She grew up at Temple Emanu-El in Dallas, TX, and is a proud alum of URJ Greene Family Camp and NFTY. Elena met her husband, Andrew, at NFTY Convention and currently lives in New York City.

Elena Paull

Published: 5/31/2019

Categories: Strengthening Congregations, Youth, Camp, Youth Group Programs

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