(Back to) the Future of USY

Editors’ Note: Leadership is something that we talk about a lot on Achshav, and in USY in general. As the year begins to come to a close, we start looking to future USYers to begin to take the lead. In this article, HaNegev’s Emma Grungold tells us about a unique opportunity offered to freshmen in her region.

As my senior year in USY reaches its halfway point, I have spent some time reminiscing about the past four years. Specifically my freshman year. Ah yes, the year of new friendships, first conventions, and maybe just a *little* bit of awkwardness. But I also remember the passion of my freshman year. Being so completely and utterly in love with USY that I wanted to take advantage of every part. I had so many program ideas and so many hopes for what I could do over my four years in USY. Freshman year is the foundation of your time in USY, and I was lucky to have the guidance from my region to make the most of it.

HaNegev has a special leadership development track for freshmen, in which Freshmen can serve as “Young Leaders”. While regional board members, sub-regional board members, regional general board members, and chapter presidents are always invited to Regional General Board Weekend, each chapter also has the opportunity to nominate freshmen who show leadership promise to serve as Young Leaders at RGBW and represent their chapters. At convention, Young Leaders (YLs for short!) spend their time in specialized programs, led by the Membership and Kadima General Board, Sub-Regional Boards, and the Regional President, meant to give them an introduction to USY and teach them valuable leadership skills that they can use throughout their next four years. They also bond with each other as a grade, make tons of inside jokes, and come up with YL nicknames and cheers. The Young Leaders program prepares freshmen to be movers and shakers in their chapters, sub-regions, region, and even international USY.

I remember when I was a Young Leader only three short years ago. I was in awe of the incredible leaders in my region. I aspired to be like them one day. With their help, I realized that I too would have the skills to make an impact on USY. I was empowered and believed in the greatness of USY.

HaNegev had our RGBW for 2019 just a few weeks ago. And there, I was able to get to know and work with the next generation of Young Leaders… the next generation of USY leaders. I watched them learn together, teach each other, support their new friends, and have tons of fun. And once again, I was empowered to believe in the future of USY.

So I implore you to take the extra minute and focus on your freshmen. Call them and ask them how they are doing. Encourage them to take a leadership role and run a chapter program. Teach them the skills and help them discover their goals so they can reach their full potential. Let them find their love and passion for USY. They are the future of this organization, and you can be the one to lead the way with them.

Emma Grungold is a senior from HaNegev USY. She is a proud member of B’nai Aviv USY (BAUSY) in Weston, Florida. She is currently serving as regional President and as Alumni Outreach Coordinator on Communications International General Board.