Shirlee, my co-worker, and co-lifer, shared her article with me about the past year we have spent working with the Federation and the growth we have seen since. One place of growth that I am proud to write about this month is our youth leadership programs. SaBaBaH has been around since I was a kid, and at 12 members strong, I already see the potential these young people have in our community or any Jewish community they find themselves in one day. Some of these teens are now staff members at Camp Ideal. Another just finished their Eagle Scout project by blazing a new trail in the forest and building benches for the community to enjoy our little slice of nature.
There is another youth initiative in development, and by the time you read this, the members will be a month into their training! Hadracha, meaning leadership in Hebrew, is the name given to our new and improved CIT (Counselor in Training) program at Camp Ideal. It allows for children from 8th to 10th grade to explore their Jewish identity through action. By learning skills like teamwork, public speaking, time management, and social action, our Hadracha campers will develop their own style of leadership and use it to create positive programming at Camp! They will also be involved in constructing new elements of Camp Ideal for future campers to enjoy!
This summer, we have 74 campers signed up for Camp Ideal. If you have stopped by at one of our Friday ShiShuks this month, you will have seen their smiling faces. They may be playing Gaga or singing the Camp song. They could be the ones selling you your Shabbat Challah or bundling fresh cut flowers for your Shabbos table. But whatever they are doing, they are also building lifelong friendships and discovering their own voice and identity. Leaders are made, not born, and we are putting in the effort to ensure our youth have every chance to grow as individuals and as leaders. Thank you for giving your children this chance, thank you for helping us grow Camp Ideal into “the” place to be this summer, and thank you for your faith that together we can build a better community.