The nine dedicated teens who make up the second cohort of Ilene Blau Teen Leadership Institute have committed to develop their leadership skills through study and activities focused on Jewish approaches to leadership throughout the 2018-2019 school year.

This year’s cohort met for the first time on Thursday, Sept. 13. In this first session, the teens surveyed different leadership examples and qualities. Using Rabbi Jonathan Sacks’ “Seven Principles of Leadership” as a guide, participants compared these seven principles to biblical and contemporary examples of leadership. Led by the program’s co-coordinator Kerri Matthews, each participant developed a personal mission statement that will drive their personal development as leaders for the year and beyond.

Some of the second cohort participants are returnees from year one as they have built deep friendships and have developed a desire to continue to develop as leaders.  This past summer, many of our teens also served as counselors-in-training for our summer camp, Camp Rimon Gadol.

The IBTLI and its participants will meet monthly from September 2018 through May 2019, meeting monthly for training sessions and activities. The teen participants will have an opportunity to bond as a group through one day-long trip and a weekend retreat scheduled in March. During our sessions, participants will participate in hands-on opportunities to display leadership skills through service learning projects making a difference in the communities they live in. At the end of the cohort, our teens will lead a learning session for adults, presenting on a subject of their interest and displaying what they have learned through the year.

This program is named in honor of IIene Blau, in recognition of her 20 years as executive director of the EVJCC.

Next up for our teens is the first day trip of the year to give our participants a chance to bond as a team. The day will include community service, fun activities, meals as a team and opportunities for learning and discussion.

Keep an eye out for these next great leaders!

-Andre Ivory