Scholarships and Incentives
Israel & Europe
Summer Staff Job Descriptions
Staffing a USY Summer Program can be one of the most rewarding experiences in Jewish education. The prospect of working with some of North America’s finest teenagers and helping them to shape their Jewish lives is a fabulous opportunity.
In many respects, the responsibilities of a USY Summer Program staff member are similar to those of a camp counselor. At times, the staff member will need to be an authority figure, a good listener, and a friend. In addition, the staff members must be able to plan and implement programs relating to Israel as well as Judaism.
Unlike camp, however, there are no “specialists” on USY Summer Programs. Therefore, USY Summer Program staff people are expected to plan and carry out many of these “specialties.” Ability to handle many varied responsibilities in a time-sensitive environment is a definite plus.
USY Summer Program Staff people are expected to conduct themselves as role models in all that they do. This relates to the Jewish educational aspects of the trip as well as the seemingly secular aspects of the trip. Summer Program Staff must display a commitment to Shabbat and Kashrut, both during the summer as well as in their own lives. It is important that staff members are comfortable serving as a role model, since the teens we work with are at a critical juncture in their lives, where they may look to your actions for guidance in making decisions about themselves.
USY Israel Pilgrimage
USY Israel Pilgrimage is a six-week summer tour where high school students from all over North America travel and hike extensively throughout Israel, learn about contemporary and historical issues relating to Israel, and learn how to live a Conservative Jewish lifestyle experientially, and through informal study.
The number of staff for each group depends on the size of the group. The number of kids per group is approximately 44 for per group, which has a staff comprised of one group leader (Israeli or American), one American female staff members, one American male staff, one full-time Israeli medic, and full-time Israeli counselor. As a general rule, the Group Leaders have had prior experience with the USY Israel Pilgrimage Program.
A Pilgrimage staff member has educational responsibilities (in terms of teaching the Pilgrims) as well as being responsible for those tasks, which help the group function each day. For example, during the course for the summer, staff members may have the opportunity to lead and teach religious services, teach sichot (study groups), help the kids exchange foreign currency, adjust to a foreign culture, and help encourage their personal growth with regard to Israel and Zionism. While this may sound like a great deal of responsibility, it is important to be mindful that Pilgrimage can be a transforming experience for both the USYers and the staff members.
These responsibilities may vary according to the specific Israel Pilgrimage program for which one is working. For instance, staff experience in leading Shoah-related sichot (study groups), or attending the geographically relevant needs of the children while they may be touring in England, Italy, etc.
USY on Wheels
USY on Wheels is a six-and-one-half week cross continental bus tour where high school students from all over North America travel together, seeing sights and learning to live a Conservative Jewish lifestyle.
Five staff members travel on the bus with 48 teenagers and a bus driver for the entire trip. One of the five staff members is the Group Leader (Rosh Tiyul). As a general rule, Group Leaders have had prior experience with the Wheels program.
A Wheels staff member would have educational responsibilities (in terms of teaching the Wheelniks) as well as be responsible for those tasks that help the bus function each day. For example, during the course of the summer, staff members may have the opportunity to lead and teach religious services, teach sichot (study groups), as well as arrange meals, shop for groceries for the group, help coordinate sightseeing and help out in other areas as needed. While this may sound like a great deal of responsibility, it is important to be mindful that Wheels can be a transforming experience for both the USYers and the staff people.