By Liza Moskowitz, NFTY Programming Vice President & Taylor Lyles, NFTY Membership & Communications Vice President
Kutz Spotlight Articles outline what our Majors are, how they run, what their goals are, and a little bit about the Major Teacher and participants.
The TYG (Temple Youth Group) Leadership Major has been striving to become better leaders in order to build a stronger community this summer at the URJ Kutz Camp. Because this has been our long term summer goal, we have specifically focused our learning and actions on building community, not breaking it down.
Every day we start our session with an evaluation of the previous day’s programming and activities. We discuss the successes and things that need improvement constructively and then relate our opinions back to our lessons. Through our evaluations, we have discussed the importance of being prepared, having thoughtful discussion questions, and clear programming directions.
We are lucky enough to have fantastic visiting faculty come and spread their knowledge with us during the session. Danielle Black, a youth professional from Manhattan, taught us the significance of Dugma Isheet, our Jewish value of setting a standard for good role modeling. Jeffrey Kagan, an expert in marketing and a TYG advisor from NFTY-GER, emphasized how marketing and branding can affect our TYGs in positive ways. The outside teachers have taught us numerous concepts that we can connect from our North American NFTY experience at Kutz to our home youth groups.
During Trip Day to New York City, we had an amazing opportunity to visit the URJ headquarters. We met with Gillian Kaye, the URJ’s Director of Strategic Planning and Governance, to learn about group facilitation. In addition, Dorothy Walrond, the Administrative Assistant & NFTY Historian, spoke to us about what she has witnessed during her work with NFTY over the past 48 years. At the end of our visit, we were so fortunate to have an open panel discussion with Rabbis Eric Yoffie (President of the URJ), Dan Freelander (Senior Vice President of the URJ), and Elliot Kleinman (Chief Program Officer of the URJ). They not only told their personal stories about how they got involved in the Reform Movement, but also asked us questions about our involvement in youth group and NFTY.
Our experience this summer at Kutz has been so rewarding. We have learned and grown together as a group in order to accomplish our goals and look forward to putting our new found knowledge into action when we get home!