Matt Nussbaum is a junior and serves as NFTY-PAR Programming Vice President.
Just over a week ago NFTY-PAR’s Summer Leadership Kallah, affectionately called SLK (slick), occurred at URJ Camp Harlam. The PAR Board was extremely excited for the four-day event centered around building our future leaders in PAR. We had crafted an event that was unlike one PAR had ever seen and to say we were anxious about whether it would be a hit or not would be an understatement.
Our theme for the week was Starting from the Bottom, yes, like the Drake song. The central idea which we based the theme and all of our programming around was how to build a youth group. Not about being an individual leader, but about working together with your peers to do everything from coming up with a name to advertising to recruiting members and to running events for a TYG.
The week began with the participants being put into pre-made groups of eight or nine PARites of all different backgrounds; grades, actual TYGs, and genders were all mixed up. Their first task as a group was to come up with the foundation of their new TYG for the week. They had to create a name, a recruitment strategy, a calendar for the year and several other details needed to begin a TYG.
On day two, they had the task of writing three programmatic items in a short amount of time. Each TYG had to completely write a program, a creative service, and a fundraiser. They had to base them off of the NFTY Study and/or Action Themes for the year.
Their final task required them to fully plan and write an event. The seemingly easy task was made difficult when each TYG was given a different problem to overcome halfway through their time, requiring some to completely scrap their original event and start over.
The different tasks our participants had to do throughout the week were not difficult ones. They were, however, great practice tools that we know they will use throughout the year to strengthen their TYGs and allow them to prosper. They left the event with new knowledge of programming format, event ideas, the usefulness of your fellow board members, and so much more.
We had come up with the theme because we realized that some of our TYGs were experiencing challenges at the TYG level in our PAR community. Our leaders were not being equipped with the tools they need to succeed. Many were just used to going through the motions of being on their TYG board and just doing what has always be done. By allowing them to start completely fresh, we believe that they now have the drive and the abilities to bring new energy and success to their own TYGs.