Over the past year and a half, I have had the privilege of working as a Springboard Teen Engagement Specialist.
The teens, parents, and professionals I have been able to work with along the way have reassured me that this community will continue to thrive. Being able to be both a teen and professional in this community has been an eye-opening experience. As a teen,
there were many things I took for granted and never gave much thought to what went on behind the scenes. As a professional, being able to use my experience as a teen to provide meaningful and engaging programs proved invaluable. I am confident that without my experience as a Jewish teen in this community, I
would never have become a Jewish youth professional.
It’s been an incredible experience, one that cannot be summarized in a single blog post. I’ve decided to focus on a few lessons I’ve learned as a Teen Engagement Specialist:
There is no better day than today to make a difference.
As a Teen Engagement Specialist, I felt empowered to take initiative and create unique, memorable experiences for Jewish teens. None of that could have happened without amazing supervisors and team members, knowing that I had their trust to put ideas into action and take initiative in making a difference in
Jewish youth professionals need to have lots of hats ready in the closet.
One day you may be tasked to organize excel sheets and perfect mail-merge skills. The next day you’ll be speaking to another group of professionals about different email hacks. And a third day you’ll be driving up to an overnight camp to run an immersive and engaging program for teens. Jewish youth professionals need A
LOT of different hats and knowing when to wear which. Mentor hat? Yes. Facilitator hat? You bet. Technology wiz hat? Without a doubt. I have come to appreciate the vast amount of skills and areas that come with being a Jewish youth professional.
Jewish teen leaders of today are the Jewish youth professionals and leaders of
As cliché as it sounds, it's true. There is no better experience when looking at Jewish youth professional roles then authentic experience in these programs. It is something that cannot be explained but only felt. You just know. For the teens reading this that look up to their staff and other Jewish mentors, they
were just like you not so long ago. The amazing experiences you have in your programs don’t need to end when you graduate.
Relationships are everything.
As a Teen Engagement Specialist, my number one priority was to build, cultivate, maintain, and enhance relationships. Whether with teens, parents, and professionals, having these strong relationships makes the work we do possible. I want to thank everyone that I have worked with, in any capacity, and allowing
me to make even just a small positive difference in the Chicago Jewish teen community.
It’s been a pleasure getting to know so many teens, parents, and professionals in our community. Thank you to all those who have let me learn and grow both personally and professionally. My email will remain, and I won’t be moving far (less than 100 feet to be exact), so please continue to reach out as I begin my new role
at the JUF. This is Teen Engagement Specialist Sam Grobart signing off. L’hitraot!