There are between 400 and 500 TYGs across NFTY right now. At Mechina, NFTY’s leadership experience, the North American Board challenged each Region to engage more teens from congregations who are not active in NFTY. So, this week’s and next week’s MVP Monday is dedicated towards developing a TYG.
The TYG Starter Guide separates the process into five months. The first month is, in my opinion, the most important month out of the five. This month is dedicated around the framework of the TYG. If you are interested in starting a teen youth program, make sure to get two other people in your congregation who can get excited about NFTY. Then, come up with a plan to approach your temple leadership to ask for their help finding a youth advisor. The advisor can be a part-time staff person, a parent, someone the board of directors, a member of the sisterhood or brotherhood, or anyone in between. The advisor is someone who will be there to oversee the planning of events, to engage more members, and to help build the TYG. Also during this month, begin compiling a list of potential new members, or PNMs for short. A great resource would be teens who were recently enrolled in B’nai Mitzvah classes, confirmation classes, and congregants who have children of age. The last thing to do, is make sure to contact the NFTY Regional Staff person. To see what region your TYG would fall under, check out this very helpful site on the URJ Website: http://congregations.urj.org/default.cfm.
The second month is for beginning to plan your first event. This event could be as simple as a movie night and potluck dinner, or as complex as a Night on the Town! Make sure to have a meeting with the two other teens and advisor to delegate roles for creating the event. There are many things to take into consideration when planning, and there are many things to remember to do during the post-planning process. Before the event, it is so crucial to publicize. Make flyers, send out emails, create a calling-tree: all are valid ways of getting the word out! It is important during the first event that teens get to know each other. In order to do this, create nametags for each PNM and play mixers or icebreakers. You can also make sure there are other activities going on during the event so that people aren’t just “hanging out”.
The first two months of creating or restarting a TYG is so important, but also so rewarding. Now that you know the first couple of steps, it’s time to learn about the next three months. So, come back next week for 5 months to a Working TYG: Months 3, 4, and 5!