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reCREATION

Grounded in the principles of empowerment, inclusiveness, and openness, reCREATION offers a forum for young Jewish professionals to engage as thought leaders in their own Jewish journey, and in that of their community…with no preconceived outcomes. reCREATION consists of three component parts: an annual summit, to be held at a camp outside ofToronto; experiential educational modules during the year; and a Network of Innovation. The summit, or “Jewish camp for adults,” will enable participants/thought leaders to explore their own Jewish identity through Jewish living as well as through customized learning options. The immersive experience will also provide important open space for collaborating in the development of experiential learning modules and in establishing a Network of Innovation amongst young Jewish professionals. It is anticipated that the experiential modules offered 4-5 times through the year may end up being taught by some of the most unlikely suspects and that it will be this Network of Innovation from which the next Big Idea/s originate.

Need: 

reCREATION recognizes that young Jewish professionals are at the forefront of many important arenas across Canada (technology, business, education, visual arts…). We believe that these young Jewish professionals are precisely the target population who should be the thought leaders and innovators at the forefront of helping to shape our Toronto Jewish community. As research indicates – and as our experiences at the Annex Shul have come to confirm – there is a genuine thirst for connectivity and Jewish expression amongst this target population, and at the same time, a prevailing sentiment that traditional institutions and programs are not meeting those needs. Furthermore, there is a sense of urgency amongst this particular cohort in that as they begin to have families themselves, there is a more acute desire to have clarity around their own Jewish identity, beliefs, practices, values, and affiliation in order to be able to share those with a partner, create a Jewish home, and raise Jewish children.

reCREATION is built on the belief that, provided with the right space for open, non-judgmental conversations, these thought-leaders will not only provide critical clarity, deeper knowledge, and connection for themselves, but they will also help provide clarity/meaning/understanding for a community of Jews who are themselves seeking innovative forms of engaging, identifying, and affiliating as a Jew. By including thought-leaders from various arenas who are Jewish but who aren’t necessarily Jewish thought-leaders, we’re anticipating being able to further our outreach efforts and intentionally create innovation within our own network.

Goals, Objectives & Measurement: 

The Goals of reCREATION are:
1. To engage young Jewish professionals in open, honest conversations about their own Jewish journeys;
2. To empower young Jewish professionals to be thought leaders and innovators in helping to shape the Toronto Jewish community;
3. To promote open-ended conversations -- those that do not have preconceived outcomes -- as important vehicles for both an individual and a community in building a Jewish identity.

At reCREATION, we value:
1. Jewish journeys
2. Connectivity
3. Empowerment
4. Inclusive, Open-minded approaches

Our strategies for reaching our goals are:
1. Hold a Summit, a 3-5 day immersive camp experience built around empowering young Jewish professionals to serve as thought leaders around new, enriching forms of Jewish engagement – a program geared specifically to the questions and interests of the participants themselves;
2. Collaboratively developing experiential educational modules to be offered 4-5 times during the year potentially coinciding with relevant Jewish holidays (i.e. Sukkot, Tu b’Shvat, etc…);
3. Establishing a Network of Innovation, an on-line Open Space where this cohort can share and test their latest Big Ideas.

Quantitative measures are as follows– along with their anticipated outcomes:
a. Summit Participation: we anticipate having 100 participants the first year and increasing participation by 50% the second year. In Year Three, we anticipate needing to put a cap on the number of returning participants in order to accommodate new participation and keep the experience intimate and meaningful for those involved.
b. Participation rate of Experiential Educational Programs (and also Annex Shul participation): we anticipate attracting 250 unique participants in total to the 4-5 Experiential Educational Programs offered in Year One, and increasing that participation by 25% in Year Two. We also anticipate increasing regular participation at Annex Shul events by 20-25% over the first two years of recreation, and we also expect to increase our paid member population to the Annex Shul by 25%.
c. Participation rate in the Network of Innovation: we will not only be able to track participation rate in the Network itself, but also the number of Big Ideas generated and the traction that each gains (i.e., the number of people engaged with each, as represented by standard social media measures – hits, followers, etc…).

In addition to the above quantitative measures, we also anticipate reCREATION having the following important qualitative impact:
a. With such an investment in resources and time, the implicit message is that “we care not only about what our young professionals do, but also about what they think” …and “We value your opinion and encourage your innovative thinking.”
b. Changes the nature of the conversation, where, instead of based on pre-conceived notions of how someone should behave or practice their Judaism, the conversation becomes an open-ended one, one that fosters innovation and encourages risk-taking.

ROI can be measured as follows:
Number of unique participants at the Summit, plus the number of total unique participants at the experiential programs during the year, plus those engaged with the Network of Innovation (both innovators and “users,” i.e., those who represent the traction numbers), plus the growing participation and membership base of the Annex Shul. And then add to that total the number of family members and friends who are impacted by each individual’s participation… Without providing any measure for the unquantifiable PR impact that reCREATION will have, we anticipate that more than 2000 people annually will be impacted by the important work we do.

Opportunity for Involvement: 

Many of the young professionals who have come together to form Six Points are precisely our target market for reCREATION! We invite you to participate, but even if you yourselves were unable to do so, we would imagine that you could serve as an important network to help promote what we’re all about. As well, while we have backgrounds in Jewish education, in programming, and in facilitation, and have a clear sense of targets around strategic and financial planning, and around marketing and uses of social media, we know we would benefit greatly from the groups’ expertise in these areas.

Time Frame: 

January-March, 2012: Marketing and Promotion, specifically of The Summit

Summer, 2012: The Summit

Sept, 2012 – June, 2013: 4-5 Experiential Educational Modules, likely around the following Jewish holidays: Sukkot, Chanukah, Purim, Passover, Shavuot (using each also for marketing/promotion of The Summit and the Network of Innovation)

Summer, 2013: The Summit (at Camp X)

Sept, 2013 – June, 2014: 4-5 Experiential Educational Modules

Six Points JVPF exits with the confidence that participation levels, outside sponsors and partnerships, and individual contributions will ensure reCREATION’s sustainability.

Sponsor/Staff: 

Annex Shul

Organizational Structure and Expertise: 

Annex Shul is governed by an Advisory Board and a Leadership Team composed of young professionals with skills ranging from early childhood education to strategic planning. The Advisory Board led by Bram Belzberg and Rich Meloff acts as a sounding board and resource to the Leadership Team, chaired by Scott McGrath an individual with expertise in leadership development, strategic planning and training.

reCREATION will be supervised by the Annex Shul Chair in collaboration with the Spiritual Leader . The Annex Shul recognizes the large undertaking of researching, creating, implementing and maintaining such a program and therefore will be hiring an educational coordinator.

Scott McGrath, MSW., the Chair of the Annex Shul is a consultant and trainer working with camping professionals, educators, parents and organizations focused on engaging and developing youth or young adults. Over the past four years Scott has worked with 18 Jewish summer camps across Canada and the United States in a variety of training and consulting capacities. He is currently a faculty advisor with the Foundation for Jewish Camp Cornerstone program and held a similar position last year with their LaunchPad program. Scott is also the Chair of Engagement for CANFAR’s Young Professional Council and a member of AGO Next’s leadership committee.

Scott will leverage his knowledge and passion for Jewish camping, his experience and expertise in young adult engagement and his networks from his professional work in these realms and volunteer work in the greater Toronto community to build Annex Shul’s reCREATION initiative into a powerful touch point of Jewish engagement for those who might not otherwise relate to the more mainstream and traditional Jewish institutions unsuccessfully vying for their attention.

Elyse Lackie is currently a member of the Board of Governors and on the Executive of the Board of UJA Federation of Greater Toronto, and a member of the Board of Directors for UIA Canada. She was a vice chair of Education/Leadership Development for the JFNA National Young Leadership Cabinet 2010, and will be co-chair designate of NYL for JFNA in 2011 and co-chair in 2012.

Yacov Fruchter is the Spiritual Leader of the Annex Shul. Since 2005 he has worked in the field of informal Jewish education. Working primarily with emerging adults through Hillel Montreal and later Hillel Canada, Yacov has coordinated as a lay leader and professional four national conferences and several leadership development retreats.

Criteria that Enhance Competitiveness: 

reCREATION is new, it’s fresh.
Jewish overnight camps have been important vehicles for experiential Jewish education for campers and for staff for years. reCREATION takes the level playing field and the immersive environment of sleepover camp as a model for young professionals to foster their own Jewish identity and as incubator of new ideas and programs for the Jewish community.

reCREATION is sustainable, in that it’s built on
- relationship with the Jewish camps, an RFP to play host to the Summit and experiential learning modules throughtout the year will keep it competitive, and camps will want to host reCREATION for the exposure (in that they will see young professional’s children as potential future campers)
- fee-for-service: for the high-end, engaging product that we’ll be delivering, we’ll be attracting clientele who can pay
- sponsorship opportunities

reCREATION is scalable - Summit participation rates (or even the number of Summits held), the number of experiential educational programs offered during the year, and the vastness of the Network are all scalable based on interest, need, and available funding.

reCREATION financial leverage
This investment in young Jewish professionals is an investment in the future. Participants themselves may invest back into reCREATION, they may sponsor someone else to participate, or they may seek out sponsorship from their business or contacts to do the same.