The recent rise in antisemitism on college campuses has sparked concerns among students, parents, and communities. As the challenges faced by Jewish students navigating higher education persist, there is a growing need for safe spaces that celebrate Jewish identity and foster a sense of belonging.
Related Blog Posts on NFTY, Summer Youth Experiences, Journal of Youth Engagement, and Youth Engagement
Over the past 150 years, the impact of our youth has been nothing short of remarkable. As we reflect on the past, we can't help but take pride in the transformative influence of programs like URJ camps, NFTY, Heller High School in Israel, Yallah! Israel powered by NFTY, and L'Taken Social Justice Seminars.
NFTY founded Dream Street in 1975 with the belief that all kids should have the chance to have fun, make friends, try new experiences, and bring all of their identities to summer camp. Each summer, Dream Street accepts about 60 campers who have disabilities and/or mobility impairments like cerebral palsy, spina bifida, limb differences, and spinal cord injuries.
The URJ has been bringing Israeli counselors to camp for many years. Their presence offers several valuable benefits to the camp program.
When adults find out about my job as director of URJ 6 Points Creative Arts Academy, many of them say the same thing: "I wish that had existed when I was a kid!" I know how they feel.
There has been a lot happening in the teen and youth space over these past weeks, and many more opportunities are coming down the pipeline.
A few weeks ago, I had the joy of being at the "NFTY-GER Ball," one of the many NFTY events being run by Reform teen leaders across North America. A room full of teens gathered at Temple Sholom in Scotch Plains, NJ to dance, laugh, get to know one another, and celebrate Jewish life.
We are excited to announce that, thanks to a generous commitment from RootOne LLC (seeded by The Marcus Foundation and powered by The Jewish Education Project), the certificate will now be worth $3,250!* We hope that this increased amount allows all Reform Jewish teens to travel to Israel as a rite of passage.
During the COVID pandemic in southern California, we saw our Jewish communities weaken. From our camp spaces disappearing to our teen youth groups (TYG) struggling, many of us stopped programming and decreased in membership, while a few of us thrived the best way we knew how - by joining forces. For us, as youth directors, advisors, and educators, we knew this was the way to keep teens inspired and engaged with one another.
Summer 2022 was full of opportunities and growth. We celebrated the joy and beauty of camp and Israel experiences, infused intention and meaning in our planning and programming, and enabled campers, summer immersive participants, and staff to create communities of respect and belonging.