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URJ Youth & College Programs – Congregational Recruitment Planning Calendar October 2013 – September 2014

Adults who work with youth Youth Parents Lay Leadership College and Young Adults October •

Register for Biennial! Join us December 11-15 in San Diego. Meet with the staff of our youth programs, participate in workshops and intensives, and partake in experiences that will focus on our work together to deepen, expand and connect these engagement opportunities to the work you are doing in your congregation. 

Encourage your teens to register for Biennial, too! NFTY Teens at Biennial, a new teen experience at the Biennial, includes a home-host option (lowering barriers for more teens to participate), time out in San Diego, teen-only programming and participation with the larger event. 

After the holidays, URJ program staff (think: Camp directors, NFTY staff, and more) begin traveling to congregations. Request a visit today. 

Invite a NFTY in Israel staff member to speak to your families about a summer in Israel – it’s never too early to start saving. Kindergarteners can picture themselves in Israel, and 9th and 10th graders can hear from alumni to start thinking about their own trips in just a few months. Put notices around your building, in your Temple bulletin, and in emails to parents to apply for camp and Israel scholarships around this time. The early bird gets the discounted summer program! 

Registration is open for NFTY Nashir Songleading Institute in Chicago, November 15-17. 

Registration is open for URJ Camps! Schedule a visit for prospective families, invite the camp staff to speak at your congregation, or host a summer programs fair to showcase opportunities for your students. Request more copies of camp brochures. 

November •

Appeal to congregants to include youth group, Israel and camp scholarships in their year-end donations.

Remind your congregants that a summer experience is the perfect Hanukkah gift! 

December •

Early-bird deadlines are approaching. Remind families to take advantage of discounts and register for summer programs today! 

The URJ youth engagement staff is at the Biennial in San Diego, CA December 11-15, 2013. Make plans to join us for an incredible five days of networking, learning and community! 

January •

In honor of Martin Luther King Day and Tu B’shivat, organize a day of social justice in your community to bring young people and adults together in the spirit of tikkun olam. Know teens who want to pursue social justice further? Encourage them to spend their summer with Mitzvah Corps! 

Purim’s around the corner! This is a great time for youth groups to be visible in your congregation. Check out for resources for kids, teens and parents. 

February •

Scholarship and registration deadlines are approaching. Reach out to last year’s camp families to remind them about any upcoming deadlines! 

FREE TRIP TO ISRAEL for young adults 18 to 26 – Registration opens the 2nd week of February for Taglit-Birthright Israel: URJ Kesher Trip. You can nominate your congregation’s young adults for PRIORITY status on a Kesher bus this summer. 

March •

What are you doing this summer? Make plans to join us as faculty at a URJ summer camp! 

April •

Summer is coming – take some time to plan for next year and make youth a priority. Convene your youth committee, have the Temple president speak with the youth professional and educator, and explore resources for how to connect with your young people who are participating in a youth program for the summer. Remember to check out our Youth Committee resources! 

May •

Mazel tov to Confirmands! Remind them that they are eligible to receive $250 in scholarships from the URJ toward their trip to Israel. [More about the NFTY in Israel B’nai Mitzvah Certificates] 

Help send your college students off in style by putting them in contact with Hillel on their future campus homes, and order them a copy of the RJ Insider’s Guide to College Life – orders due by July 1. 

June •

Summer is here! Write postcards to your youth participating in programs. Check out’s guide to writing the best letters at summer camp. 

Are members of your congregation on faculty at camp this summer? We want to hear from you! Write a guest blog post for the RJ Blog about your experiences with URJ youth programs, and share with your congregation to help underscore why summer youth experiences are so important. E-mail us with your post or story idea! 

Include URJ youth programs in your fiscal planning. Start or enhance a scholarship fund for camp, Israel and NFTY scholarships so you can give the gift of immersive, impactful Jewish experiences all year long. 

July •

Next year is a NFTY Convention year – start promoting and fundraising scholarship funds so your teens can attend. Speak to your congregation’s Brotherhood, Sisterhood, and other groups to discover opportunities for partnership.

 •

Are your students becoming bar or bat mitzvah this year? They are eligible to receive a $250 gift certificate towards a future trip to Israel with NFTY. Place an order for certificates during the summer, and we’ll send them during the year along with a sample script for the presentation and instructions for how to redeem them later in the year. It’s never too early to start planning the trip of a lifetime! [More about the NFTY in Israel B’nai Mitzvah Certificates] 

August •

Welcome kids and teens home from summer programs: Host an Israel or Camp Shabbat and celebrate the summer of Jewish growth these young people have had! [10 Ways to Make Camp Count in Your Congregation] 

Nominate teens for NFTY Institutes to help them explore their personal Judaism in a specialty area. 

Convene your youth committee to plan for the year. Review your congregation’s participation in NFTY, Camp and Israel programs in 2013-14 and set goals for the year ahead! Find more at 

Schedule a meeting with the Temple president and youth group president. 

FREE TRIP TO ISRAEL for young adults 18 to 26 – Registration opens in September for Taglit-Birthright Israel: URJ Kesher Trip. You can nominate your congregation’s young adults for PRIORITY status on a Kesher bus. 

Registration is open for NFTY regional events on an ongoing basis. Check your region’s website for a calendar and share it with teens, parents and your congregational team. 

August 12 is International Youth Day, the day designated by the United Nations to celebrate the influence and capability of young people to change the world. Join a local service project in your community to honor this global initiative! 

September •

Invite all students to services the Shabbat before school starts for a “Blessing of the Backpacks” to wish them well as they start this year’s learning adventure. 

The holidays are here! Check out the Journal of Youth Engagement for thoughtful resources on how to make this a meaningful opportunity for engagement. Subscribe now! 

Invite alumni of youth programs (Israel, Birthright, camps, etc) to speak about their experiences during the High Holidays. These stories will inspire the congregation and renew your entire community’s commitment to youth engagement. 

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