Shabbatonim & Yommim Tovim
Ongoing events throughout the year is integral in keeping the relationships and growth fresh and exciting. These programs provide the opportunity for participants to get together and bond. It fosters a sense of belonging and family. It is also a tremendous opportunity for teens to connect to their religious roots in a new way. To discover a deeper meaning of Rosh Hashana or shabbos. A new meaning, one in which they have a place. It is often at these retreats that our youth ask the questions that they never could. They develop a new perspective and appreciation. It is an opportunity to spend time with our mentors and enjoy a healthy environment. Typically, we have an official shabbaton once a month but it is not uncommon for teens to join us more frequently for shabbos. They know this is their home and we are family.
Experiential Snowboard Club
It is our belief that keeping youth engaged in active, healthy, and fun activities is very beneficial to them. Like all of our programs this program is staffed by our mentors and is built around fostering trust and relationship. In the winter time we run a weekly trip to a mountain for snowboarding. This is always a fun and exciting experience and the teens look forward to it every week. For many, it is their first time ever snowboarding and they approach it with a nervous excitement. The first day is hard and no one can really get it on their first try. They are together though. They fall and they laugh and they try again, encouraging each other throughout. The first day we end and everyone is a little beat up. Then, week after week, they start to get it. They challenge themselves and push themselves passed what they thought was possible. They start to feel good about themselves and build confidence. Amazingly, we see this confidence and dedication transfer to other areas of their lives. Suddenly, they are looking forward to snowboarding and that becomes their outlet. Instead of seeking out negativity they seek out snow. We all know the concept of outdoor education and how it can really provide breakthroughs. On the surface, our snowboarding trips are good, healthy fun that have an added advantage of positive role models and relationships. At its heart, it is a deeply therapeutic experience. Under the careful, subtle guidance of our staff they began to explore their perceived limitations. They reevaluate their abilities. They build skills and confidence. Slowly, they incorporate all of that into the rest of their lives.
Crisis Recovery Mentoring
Gavz is a multifaceted project aimed at tackling the challenges that face our youth. At the core of the Gavz Project is our staff. These men and women are carefully selected to be the ambassadors to our future generation. The Gavz staff goes through an intensive training program developed by Rabbi Ace Klatzko together with professionals from the mental health, education, and law enforcement fields. This program teaches our staff how to relate to teens and as importantly how to recognize and respond to complicated scenarios. This program needs to be further developed and disseminated to a larger staff so as to further our ability to reach more kids. Ultimately, we need to create an army of Crisis Recovery Mentors. These CRM’s are the key to reaching our youth. These mentors are a teens lifeline. They are actively engaged in developing motivation, goal setting, and care planning through ongoing sessions, check-ins, reliable, available, caring, honest and knowledgeable interactions. it is common for our staff to go out to meet their clients and not wait for them to take the initiative. In addition, our mentors benefit from team meetings, continuing staff development and supervision.
Gavz Israel Experience
Gavz Israel Experience takes teens on a 10 day whirlwind trip to Israel. Like our summer camp it is an intense program designed to foster growth and relationships while simultaneously exposing participants to the land of Israel and our heritage. Generally, Gavz Israel targets older teens that are considering a year in Israel or whom may benefit from it, but are unconvinced. There is a specific focus on visiting yeshivas and programs and exposing them to the options that exist. By mixing in the fun and building relationships we are afforded the ability to help guide our participants to the option that is most suited to their growth. Over the years, we have helped placed hundreds of students in various programs throughout Israel. For some we helped find a yeshiva, for others the army was the right fit. Many even chose to stay on and are still living in Israel today. Gavz Israel also gives us the opportunity to get to know the options first hand so we can make a better referral even from the states. In addition, our mentors dedicate time to follow up with former participants. Sometimes former students find themselves struggling and alone. Our mentor’s visits gives them new life and helps them navigate the specific obstacle they are facing. We have also met many new face while in Israel who have slipped through the cracks and are floundering. These young adults needed someone to care and pick them back up. While there, we plant seeds so that when these students return to America they will know they have someone to turn to.