By Louis Bordman, Debby Shriber and Emily Messinger
When it comes to youth engagement, we often think about what we don’t have.
We don’t have enough teens. We don’t have enough funding. We don’t have enough time. We don’t have enough staff.
However, when the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) Eisner and Crane Lake Camps began to explore how to partner with congregations and families to engage more teens in a joyful Jewish life, we challenged ourselves to focus on an abundance mindset rather than maintaining a scarcity mentality. As such we have created a new year-round youth engagement initiative that starts with one of the camps’ greatest strengths: a committed, connected cohort of teens. These are the engaged 5% who go to camp, temple and NFTY youth group events. Our initiative, The Northeast Teen Collective, gives these committed teens the tools to inspire the multitude of unengaged teens.