EnerJew, the FSU Jewish youth movement, continues to invest in youth leadership with the fourth installment of its “Madrichim (counselors) school” – a five-day learning seminar aimed to arm participants with the skills and knowledge necessary to lead local youth groups and community activities. The seminar ran from last Wednesday to Sunday in Minsk, Belarus and was attended by over 90 activists from five countries.
Overall, the Madrichim school course requires participation in four seminars to complete the program, and this was the first seminar to produce a graduating class. The group of nine was warmly congratulated during a festive ‘graduation’ ceremony, while the team set to graduate next seminar – already of 20 people – looked on.
The seminar’s program was prepared by EnerJew’s informal education professionals and invited experts. “We had the ‘Dream team’ of specialists running the seminar,” said Eliezer Lesovoy, EnerJew’s education director. “These were some of the best EnerJew’s professional mentors and outside experts of youth psychology and creative techniques,” he said. Also teaching were professionals from the Jewish agency for Israel, one of EnerJew’s sponsors.
The age of participants ranged from 14 to over 20, as some of the movement’s coordinators also participated in order to raise their leadership skills. Activists came from Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Georgia and Azerbaijan.
It is important to note that the project prepares activists not only for EnerJew events but also for general leadership in the community. “Already after one or two seminars the participants begin to conduct their own activities in the community, sometimes for younger children and sometimes for the elderly and senior citizens, using the skills they get here,” said Lesovoy.
One of the main avenues for the youngsters to apply their newly received knowledge are FJC’s “Gan Israel” summer camps, where they work as counselors or assistants. “This is a large and very important project that prepares informal education professionals, who can apply themselves in many aspects of Jewish communal life later,” Lesovoy said.