Scholarships and Incentives
Israel & Europe
Summer Staff Job Descriptions
Staffing a USY Summer Experience 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 Experience 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 Experience. Therefore, USY Summer Experience 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 Experience 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 Experience staff must display a commitment to Conservative Judaism, 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 sponsors six Israel trips, from four to six weeks, where high school students from all over North America travel and hike extensively throughout Israel and Europe, 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 participants per group is approximately 40-45 per group, which has a staff comprised of one group leader (Israeli or American), one American female staff member, one American male staff member, one full-time Israeli medic, and full-time Israeli counselor. As a general rule, the Group Leaders have had prior experience with USY Summer Experience.
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), 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 Poland, Prague, etc.
USY on Wheels
During the USY on Wheels trips, Wheelniks from all over North America travel together, see sights, and learning to live a Conservative Jewish lifestyle. USY on Wheels, Classic is a six-and-one-half week trip where high school students travel on a cross continental bus tour. USY on Wheels, East and USY on Wheels, West are a four week bus tour where middle school students travel the East or West coast. USY on Wheels, Pacific Northwest is a three-and-one-half week trip that tours the Pacific Northwest and takes a cruise to Alaska.
Five staff members travel on the bus with about 40-45 teenagers and a bus driver for the entire trip. One of the five staff members is the Group Leader (Rosh Kvutzah). 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.