Wow! How exciting to have such wonderful folks in our new youth crew! Our first session was a lot of “getting to know you” and brainstorming for what our program will look like over the next year. After a fun chat about who we are, what we’re into, and specific fun questions like “what reality show would you be on if you could?” the crew chuckled our way into a conversation about Teen Rights. We made a list of what rights teens DON’T have and how they relate to the basic human rights; life, liberty, and happiness. This lead to a powerful discussion about individual decisions and personal autonomy. We decided as a group that our rights when we’re together will be: safety (we are in a safe place and will be free to express ourselves without judgement), respect, and freedom of opinion. After a short break for chewy candy we decided as a group what kinds of activities we would like to do this year. There will be a focus on anti-bullying (which the youth seem to be in to) and we will potentially bring our service work to a global scale- Susan, Lili’s mom, came to check in with the group’s interest about working on a global project and will be bringing us several resources to look into at our next session. The teens (and myself) are very excited for our mixture of fun adventures (including a snow fort winter revert to childhood and potentially a friendly painball game in the spring) and educational/fundraising activities, (sock monkey creations to sell- maybe baked goods) we also briefly touched on our volunteer opportunity to usher for the Jewish Humor Festival, happening in January, which the youth agreed to be a part of! Our first session seemed to fly by and we were out of time before we even had a chance to talk about our Hebrew themes for the year, Lo Ta’amod al Dam Rayecha (not standing idly by) and La Shon Ha-ra (not to have an evil tongue). I plan to incorporate these ideals into our lessons for the year as we continue to talk about anti-bullying. Again- I’m super excited for our youth program and feel like the teens are just as stoked as I am (or close at least) I look forward to building trusting relationships through out the year, and having some REAL FUN while we do so.