by Kyra Dezjot, special to the Jewish Leader
There will be an upcoming event, Kallah Winter Convention, which will involve attending the Hartford Wolf Pack hockey game watched from the Sky Box, a dance and a ton of guest speakers! The fee for the convention is $300 and you must register by January 17 on b-linked.com. The Convention will be January 30-31, 2016 and is going to be tons of fun! Please contact Marcia Reinhard at our Federation at firstname.lastname@example.org for info on Finncial Assistance. Looking forward to seeing everyone at the Convention the weekend of January 29-31.
By Marcia Reinhard, Youth & Israel Programming Director
This past Sunday, October 19, 2014, our new BBYO Yachad Chapter (Sr Youth Group) held an Ice Cream Social and pre-planning meeting for the upcoming Fall Convention in November. With 19 teens in attendance, everyone either brought an ingredient or $3 to chip in for the ice cream sundaes, followed up with learning the cheer for the Connecticut Valley Region, and creating cheers for our chapter, both to be used at Fall Convention.
We had quite a few new teens in attendance, as well as many of our regulars. I am pleased to report our BBYO chapter continues to grow. BBYO helps Jewish parents raise confident, engaged and well-prepared teenagers through safe and enriching programs that the teens design themselves. These programs foster independent thinking and leadership abilities that will help prepare them for college and other adult endeavors.
Watch for notices regarding a parent informational meeting (probably in early-December) to help you and your teen make an informed decision about joining BBYO.
In terms of brining Jewish youth together for fun, engaging activities while encouraging Jewish values, this was a banner weekend.
By Marcia Reinhard
This past Sunday, Sept. 14, our Sr. Youth Group/new BBYO local chapter, called “Yachad” had a wonderful kick-off event at NOMADS in S. Windsor, CT. We had a good number of teens from the Norwich/Colchester area as well as from the shoreline area in attendance.
Upon arrival the teens went to play Laser Tag – something we do not have in this area. It was nice for them to let loose together and have fun as a group! Following Laser Tag, we went to the Tavern for an early dinner where we received our $10 game cards.
Once dinner was over, everyone filed out into the arcade where they played games, went mini-golfing, played mini-bowling, rode the Teacups (which even the Youth Director participated in) and hung out at the end relaxing in the Tavern. Noa Brosh and Ron Peleg, our new Young Emissaries were with the kids and had a great time getting to know our teens and participated in playing the games and other activities.
We were a small, but mighty group and everyone had a fabulous time!! Parents, please encourage your teens to “get on board” with our Sr. Youth Group/local BBYO Chapter which we have named,
“Yachad” which means “Together.” We really want our local teens to be together for as many activities and events as possible. The regional events are fabulous and your teens get to meet other teens from all around the state. BBYO offers a lot to high school teenagers.
Please contact Marcia Reinhard, Youth Director for more information at email@example.com or call me at 860-235-4719.
As of August 18, I’m back in action as your Youth Group Reporter! Summer 2014 for me, was probably one of the best summers I’ve had in a while. I went to camp for my final year as a camper at Crane Lake Camp, and it was a summer full of memories I will never forget!
As the oldest campers (Olim) we had many responsibilities regarding our Nitzanim buddies (the youngest campers), planning names for Color War, planning our unit fake out, and many more. We had a new dining hall this year so it was quite the experience to have meals with all of camp. As Olim, we were one big unit instead of being split up into separate bunks within our unit. So we all bonded and got to know each other. We became closer this year than any other year. It also helped when we saw that there were new people to our session that usually came 1st session. Also as the oldest campers, we got to be Captains during Color War. Captains are responsible for teaching the younger kids the sayings, songs, and formations for morning and evening line-ups. Color War was the best experience this summer.
Color War is when the whole camp is split into two teams: one blue, one white. It usually lasts about the last 4 or 5 days of camp and everyday there is a big event that happens. The big events include Buckets, Rope Burn, Tug, Hatchet, Chop, Apache, and the last day we have Sing. I was ecstatic when I was chosen to do Buckets. I knew then I could really help my team as a captain. Being a captain in general was fun. It was hard work, though, staying up until 1am writing the songs and sayings, then waking up at 6am to teach the younger kids. But it was all worth it because I knew it was my last chance to make my many years as a camper count.
I was on the Blue team for the first time this summer. The teams were White Creation vs. Blue Destruction. Blue team won by 5 points, so it was one of the closest Color Wars in history. It was a special summer for our unit, also because 1st session my unit won Fight Song so we got a plaque hung in the Rec Hall. My unit also contributed to the history of the Rec Hall by taking paint and writing our names and dates on the walls.
The best moment of this summer, besides winning Color War, was during Rope Burn. White’s rope burned through first, but only minutes later when the Blue team’s fire was just high enough to reach the rope, blue’s fire fell. But it didn’t stop burning. The white team Pit Crew and Feeders crossed the designated line to Blue team’s side and started handing Blue all the sticks they had left over. That’s what camp is all about for me and I’m glad I could experience it.
I met some really wonderful people over the years, but everyone made a huge impact on my life and changed it for the better. It was the best 4 summers anyone could imagine. Crane Lake Camp is my second home, and I will always remember what great memories I made there. I can’t wait to go on the Israel trip next summer and become a counselor the summer after that. Olim ’14 forever!! So parents, if your child is a “couch potato” during the summer, look into Crane Lake. They’ll definitely have fun, make new friends and learn so much. And kids, if you want to experience something new, interesting, and fun, ask your parents if you can look into it and maybe go up and take a tour. If not you can do the next best thing. Come to Temple Emanu-El on Sunday, Feb. 1, 2015 at 10:30 am. A representative from Crane Lake and Eisner Camps will be there speaking about both camps and showing us a video of life at both camps. You won’t want to miss this!
As for BBYO Sr. Youth Group, our 2nd year is about to begin! We have many fun and interesting events planned. You may have already gotten a flier, but the first event will be on September 14, when we go to South Windsor to Nomads! Nomads is a multi-entertainment venue. There are many activities to do including laser tag, mini golf, bowling, bumper cars, basketball, rock climbing, and they even have an arcade. The details are as follows: We will meet at Temple Emanu-El at 1:45pm for check-in with Marcia. We will depart from the temple at 2:00pm. If you live in the Colchester area, meet at 2:00pm and leave at 2:15pm. Contact Marcia for Colchester meeting location. Her information is below.
The estimated return time is between 7 and 8pm and parents will be contacted when we get ready to leave. The event is $30 per person and includes food, a $10 playing card, and one game of laser tag. Chaperones and drivers are needed. Contact Marcia if you are able to chaperone and/or drive. Registration and payment in advance is requested. Spending money is needed for other attractions such as the arcade, mini golf, mini bowling, bumper cars, basketball, and rock climbing. Contact Youth Group Director Marcia Reinhard at 860-442-8062, 860-235-4719 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
It’s good to be back as your Youth Group Reporter, but that’s all for this article. I’ll be back for the October issue! Until then, this your Youth Group Reporter signing off.
It is hard to believe that another school year is coming to a close as I watched our Senior Youth Group members graduate from Jewish Community High School (aka "Hebrew High") and will soon be graduating from publAouth Group Members. Now I watch them leave the nest of Eastern CT for new and exciting experiences as they go off to college in far-away places. Someone has clearly stepped on the accelerator as I feel as though we are "fast-forwarding" through time.
I would like to wish a heartfelt "Good bye and Good luck!" to my Senior Youth Group Seniors: Jay Alpert (Syracuse University); David Elperin (University of Rhode Island); Micah Greenleaf (Ithaca College); Ross Krasner (Northwestern University); Alan Luner (University of North Carolina); and Nathaniel Ross (Vassar College). I know you will all be hugely successful in whatever you pursue.
While on the subject of our Senior Youth Group, I am pleased to report that we officially became a BBYO chapter this year, as we planned. Actually, the plan was just to affiliate with them and get the ball rolling; however, thanks to three very driven and motivated teens, we met our membership goal and became an official chapter last December when we hit 12 members.
At the end of August last summer, two of our Senior Youth Group members (and, interestingly, one who has not been active), attended the BBYO b'Yachad convention - their kick-off for the year and introduction to new members. The three young ladies were Megan Dame, Hillary Goldstein and Shelby Kranc. The girls thoroughly enjoyed the convention and got a taste of what BBYO is all about. While there, they learned how to plan out the first half of the year so they were ready to take off as soon as they returned. Immediately upon their return, they jumped into action by calling, emailing and Facebooking their friends about BBYO.
The first event was a Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur program where we had 13 teens in attendance. I cannot recall the last time I had 13 senior youth group members at any one event. This was a wonderful start. We followed this up with a limo scavenger hunt later in September. I invited Rabbi Safman to join us so the teens and she could all meet and get to know each other a little bit. Rabbi Safman invited us to eat in the sukkah at Beth-El where she also engaged the teens in a discussion about Sukkot. There were 24 teens in attendance. We were off and running!
At the end of October we had an "Intro to BBYO" program but only had 5 teens in attendance. In November we had a BBYO Nosh which drew 10 teens and in January, a New Year's program which drew 11 teens. The numbers stayed between 5 and 10 the rest of the year. Shelby, Megan and Hillary knew that had a challenge to overcome as it seemed when we didn't offer entertaining activities, interest slacked off.
Then came the introduction of conventions. Conventions begin at 4:30 p.m. on Friday afternoon and end at 2 p.m. on Sunday afternoon. They are very costly as the teens stay in a hotel for the two nights, all meals are Kosher and are included in the cost of the convention. The conventions also include an entertainer, usually a singer or comedian, services on Friday night and Saturday morning and a dance on Saturday night.
Kallah Convention and Spring Convention were big hits with the teens. With some help from BBYO and the Jewish Federation, we were able to have 8 teens in attendance at the Kallah and 13 teens at the Spring Convention. The biggest challenge for us will be getting some funding into the Federation to hep support the teens who cannot afford the conventions. They offer so much to these kids that I am hoping to make it possible for every teen to attend convention who would like to. We had a good year in that department this year but it was a bit of a struggle.
BBYO is teen driven but also driven by certain rules and parameters that the teens must live by. They must meet twice a month and hod business meeting both times. Initially, they were told the meetings could not be longer than 2 hours. However, our goal for the upcoming year is to incorporate entertaining activities into one meeting a month. Sometimes we will do mitzvah projects and sometimes they will just go out and have fun together as a group. The teens also arrange activities at the meetings that incorporate at least one or more Jewish values.
One of the other things that BBYO offers our kids is a BBYO Connect for our younger youth group - the Juniors. Some of the outings we had were sponsored by and financed by BBYO to introduce our younger kids to BBYO. In conclusion, BBYO has offered a great foundation to both our programs - Jr and Sr Youth Groups - and has added more Jewish content as well, not to mention, regional events which gets our teens meeting other teens from all around the state. This promises to be a very successful program for us.
The Junior Youth Group was extremely successful this year as attendance was high at most of the events. Our kick-off on the Mystic Argia had 24 middle-schoolers (2 siblings and Megan - our BBYO representative), 16 adults plus Bar, May and me.
This event was followed up by a trip to Riverview Farms in October for a walk through the corn maze, petting zoo, pumpkin picking, a hayride and cider donuts at the end. We had 14 Junior Youth Group kids in attendance. In November, we had a limo scavenger hunt called, "Hunger is Not a Game," where the pre-teens were given gift cards that were donated by local supermarkets, to purchase non-perishables that would be donated to our Federation food pantry to help feed those less fortunate. We had 18 pre-teens at this event. Each subsequent event had anywhere between 9 and 22 attendees.
As for the Jr Youth Group's growth, we are getting pre-teens from Schechter but less from the surrounding synagogues. For example, we have 5th and 6th graders from Schechter who attend almost every event, but for some reason, we get a smattering from Temple Emanu-El's 6th grade and none from any other synagogue. In the 5th grade, however, we have two pre-teens from Columbia, CT, who are affiliated with Ahavath Achim attend a few of these events and two from Oakdale who are affiliated with Beth Jacob who attended one event. In the 5th grade, most of the the pre-teens have attended one or more events.
I am hopeful that our Jr Youth Group and BBYO Sr Youth Group will continue a steady growth through the next few years!
If your teens are interested in the BBYO Jr or Sr Youth Groups, please contact Marcia Reinhard at email@example.com for more information!
by Marcia Reinhard, Young Emissary Coordinator & Youth Group Director
(taken from 2013-2014 Annual Report)
If your teens are interested in participating in BBYO Yachad (formerly known as Sr Youth Group, Grades 9-12) please contact Marcia Reinhard for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also, check back often as events and information will be posted here throughout the year from Marcia and the two BBYO Yachad advisors, Abby Morrison and Brian Lazarus.