By Avi Mayerhoff, SHFTY CO-MVCP 5771-5772
While NFTY-Northern prepares for Spring Kallah in April, the Temple Youth Groups (TYG) that make up our region are busy with their own events. Behind the scenes of each event are the leaders that make each TYG special and contribute to their success. Additionally, in the past few years, Northern has seen a direct correlation between the success of its TYGs and the success of the region.
If you go to any TYG in NFTY-NO, you will find leaders- whether they are outspoken, passionate orators who can command with their presence, or they are reserved and lead by example, or fall anywhere in between. Go to one of their TYG’s events and you will see them shine. But before the event even begins, TYG board members are publicizing the event to potential participants and making the personal connections necessary to convince someone to come to their first event. They are drafting and editing versions of the program while finalizing all of the event’s logistics. In my two-and-a-half years in NFTY I have gone to many TYG events. Each TYG board puts their own spin on an event, making each one distinct from any other event. Each position on a TYG board allows every person to share their talents and their voice during the planning process. While the average participant sees almost none of this process, they most certainly feel the effects. During the event, everything comes together. Members mix and engage in programs and services, amongst other things, but they also see something very special. For example, at Adventure Rock with KRAFTY, another Northern TYG from Kenosha, WI, we saw the newest additions to their TYG race go-carts while making friends. At CoSY’s lock-in in Milwaukee, WI, we made friends by debating Latkes vs. Hamentaschen. At SHFTY’s Laser Tag event, my own TYG in Milwaukee, we saw 13 new members mingle with the 37 other participants who came to break our single event membership record!
One of the clearest examples I’ve seen of a leader finding her voice within the TYG came at the SHFTY Laser Tag event. I’ve had the opportunity to work with this leader before, but during this planning process, I saw a brand new side of her. I saw her talk to every single participant- all fifty of them- who attended the event, and make that connection that keeps people coming back to NFTY and TYG events. While she may not have the loudest voice in the region, she unquestionably is making a name for herself in a way we should all admire. She is the perfect example of where our TYGs get their voices- using her leadership role in SHFTY, through writing programs and mixers and meeting new people, to help our TYG and our region grow.
As a SHFTYite, I have seen my TYG expand. Combined efforts of many different leaders have allowed for the connections that are imperative to bringing people back flourish. SHFTY’s growth is continuing at the hands of the leaders in this TYG. Consequently, as SHFTY and TYGs across the region grow, we have seen record numbers of participants continuously at our regional events.
Leadership in NFTY takes many forms. But from the North American Board, to General Board members across North America, to cabinet members in the regions, and Group Leaders at TYG events, it all starts in the TYGs. It is within the TYGs participants are able to make the personal connections that bring them into NFTY, and find their voice within our region.
See you in April!