The Collab: The URJ Teen Leadership Collaborative

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The Collab: The URJ Teen Leadership Collaborative is a teen-powered, community-driven training retreat where teens will work together to grow and harness their power to begin organizing the Reform Jewish Youth Movement into an inclusive and sustainable movement. 

Here, teens will build a community that supports their visions, encourages them to share their talents and experiences with other Reform Jewish youth leaders throughout the movement, and teach each other skills they can use now and over the course of their lives. 

After almost three years of gathering remotely, teens at The Collab will celebrate being back together in-person, building meaningful, lifelong friendships and having fun!

The Collab will be hosted at URJ Camp OSRUI and therefore has a limited number of spots available. In order to ensure that The Collab is reflective of the diversity of identities and experience in the Reform Jewish community, and is truly a gathering of teens from all over North America, registration for The Collab will begin by invitation. 

We hope that by being incredibly intentional and relational about who we are inviting, we will be putting our best foot forward as we build the future of the Reform Jewish movement as one that reflects all that our community has to offer.

Our teen leaders have spent much of their time over the last couple weeks thinking about questions like: 

  1. How do we make a space that is inclusive and creative, and invites us all to learn and grow?
  2. Who do we need to be represented in this community in order for us to reflect the incredibly varied experiences of our teen leaders, helping us learn to lead for each other and not just for ourselves?

In answering those questions, our teens decided that the teens who attend The Collab should be teens who…

      1. want to build tight-knit relationships in just 3 days
      2. have strong leadership potential
      3. represent the diversity of identities and experiences of Reform Jews
      4. care about the future of Reform Judaism 
      5. want to build the future of the Reform Jewish Youth Movement

What exactly is The Collab? Is it NFTY Convention? Mechina? Veida? A kallah? Camp? Ah!

The Collab: The URJ Teen Leadership Collaborative  is totally new – it is not any event that we’ve done before. It will have elements of those events that we know and love and it will be filled with everything new and exciting!

In vision: The Collab: The URJ Teen Leadership Collaborative is a teen-powered, community-driven training retreat where teens will work together to grow and harness their power to begin organizing the Reform Jewish Youth Movement into an inclusive and sustainable movement. 

Here, teens will build a community that supports their visions, encourages them to share their talents and experiences with other Reform Jewish youth leaders throughout the movement, and teach each other skills they can use now and over the course of their lives. 

After three years of gathering remotely, teens at The Collab will celebrate being back together in-person! They will build meaningful, lifelong friendships and have fun!

In practice: We have a great team of teens who will be planning and deciding the content of this event over the coming weeks in order to make an incredible weekend. Lots of pieces are still being developed and we can’t wait to share more information as we have it.

In the meantime, some of the things we are most excited about are:

  • Time for teens to build meaningful, substantial relationships with other Reform Jewish teens from all over North America
  • Shabbat experiences curated for teens and by teens to support us connecting to to each, to our Judaism, and to our spirituality beyond our congregational services
  • Community organizing training opportunities to grow and have fun as leaders, and to be able to practice our new skills before going back to our home communities
  • Young Alumni Mentors (YAMs) who will stay in cabins with teens, and help to provide a kind of personal mentorship to each of our teens that is unique to the college-aged adult to high-school-teen dynamic
  • Having a ton of fun with the teens we’ll be able to build incredible relationships with, whether that is in our interest-based cabins, leadership programming, free time, or just being around together!

Most importantly, The Collab will have Reform Jewish teens from all over North America who care about being there, being together, and building the next life of the Reform Jewish Youth Movement.

Who is planning The Collab?

A lot of people! 

We have an ever-growing team of teens at the helm. They come from all over North America and represent a variety of NFTY regions, camps, and RAC programs. And part of their job is to bring other teens into our work throughout the process, whether it is to workshop a blurb for communications, or invite them to our planning meetings. 

The new URJ Youth Organizing team is supporting the teen vision and connecting with our administrative and operations teams to ensure that these plans can come to life in October.

Who is going to The Collab?

The Collab will be hosted at URJ Camp OSRUI and therefore has a limited number of spots available. In order to ensure that The Collab is reflective of the diversity of identities and experience in the Reform Jewish community, and is truly a gathering of teens from all over North America.

We are looking for teens who…

        1. want to build tight-knit relationships in just 3 days
        2. have strong leadership potential
        3. represent the diversity of identities and experiences of Reform Jews
        4. care about the future of Reform Judaism 
        5. want to build the future of the Reform Jewish Youth Movement

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Information about this year’s registration process:

  • The Collab: The URJ Teen Leadership Collaborative online through the CEVENT.
  • Registration Timeline
      • Monday, August 15: Registration will be opening by invitation
      • Monday, September 6: Registration will become first-come-first-served.
      • Monday, September 26: Registration closes.
  • Registration fees DO NOT include the cost of travel to and from your home to our programs.
  • Payments can be made using a credit card or by electronic check. We accept Visa and Mastercard credit cards.
  • Before you can register online you will need to coordinate your travel plans to and from The Collab: The URJ Teen Leadership Collaborative. You will need your flight, train, bus or carpool information before you can begin the online registration process.
    • Travel Windows:
      • Friday, October 7th – All flights must arrive to Chicago O’Hare Airport (ORD) by 1:00 PM
      • Sunday, October 9th – All flights must depart after 4:00 PM from Chicago O’Hare Airport (ORD)
  • After September 26, 2022 all registration is on a space available basis-only.
  • We will be providing transportation from Chicago O’Hare Airport.

COVID Policies

  • Vaccines REQUIRED: We will require ALL participants, staff, and adults to have completed the full COVID vaccination schedule that they are age-eligible for (CDC defines this as being “up to date”). URJ Vaccine Statement can be found here
  • Pre-travel Rapid Antigen (RA) testing: We will require ALL participants, staff, and adults to self-administer a rapid antigen COVID test prior to travelling to the program or event. You may only attend if your RA test is negative for COVID.
  • Mask-wearing throughout the event is optional.

We know that the best practices surrounding COVID are continually changing.  We will evaluate our policies and practices as the COVID landscape evolves. Our protocols and guidelines will always be subject to change based on the latest guidelines from health experts, state and local protocols, and other health authorities.

Payment Options & Scholarships

In order to make our programming more accessible to all, this program will be using a “Pay What You Can” model.

The full registration cost of this event is $400 USD.

For some, this suggested fee is a barrier for participation; others may be able to contribute more to make this opportunity possible for others. Please pay what you can to support the work of the Reform Jewish Youth Movement. Please select one of the following registration amounts.

Option 1: Actual cost plus a donation of $125 – (Total: $525)– This option fully covers your own expenses and helps pay for another teen to attend this event and other URJ Youth events.

Option 2: Actual cost plus a donation of $75 – (Total: $475) – This option fully covers your own expenses and helps pay for another teen to attend this event and other URJ Youth events.

Options 3: Actual Cost of Event (Total: $400) – This is the actual cost per person for this event without any subsidies (including food, board, staff and program, and airport transportation).

Option 4: Subsidized Cost (Total: $325) – This is the subsidized cost of the event and includes a contribution of $75 from our scholarship fund.

Option 5: Subsidized Cost (Total: $275) – This is the subsidized cost of the event and includes a contribution of $125 from our scholarship fund.

Due to the nature of this event with most teens flying, we are unable to offer travel equalization. Rather, we encourage you to choose which registration payment option feels most comfortable for your family based on your added travel costs.

Financial reasons should never be a a barrier for teens to be able to attend and participate in URJ Camps & Immersives programs. If you need more financial assistance, please email nfty@urj.org.

Refunds/Cancellations

Refund of Payment Policies:

– All cancellations must be in writing.

– Refunds will be processed and returned within six weeks after the conclusion of the event.

– Refunds will be given based on the following schedule

– A 90% refund will be given 21 days prior to event date.

– A 75% refund will be given 14 days prior to event date.

– A 50% refund will be given 8 days prior to event date.

– No refunds will be given 7 or fewer days prior to event date with exception of a documented medical emergency in which case a 75% refund will be granted.

– Refunds will not be made if Participant has attended any portion of the session at NFTY. This covers all circumstances, including, but not limited to:

– Participants homesickness

– Participants refusal or inability to participate in the normal activities

– Participants violation of any rules, regulations or policies at NFTY for which Participant has been provided notice, and as described below in Participants Participation and NFTY Program Expectations section. Furthermore, I understand I will be responsible for the cost of my participant leaving the program early due to violation of the rules.

Please allow up to six weeks after the conclusion of the event for your refund to be processed. Refunds are only eligible for the registration portion of payment. Tax deductible contributions made at the time of registration are not eligible for refund. 

All cancellation requests must be in writing. We will accept cancellations by email to nfty@urj.org. We’re sorry, but we cannot accept cancellations over the phone.

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