Young Counselors from Yoav to Lehigh Valley

Since the Partnership was founded in 2002, a youth delegation from Yoav has travelled each year for a six week stay at the Jewish community’s summer camp in Lehigh Valley. The delegation consists of four youths aged 15 17, usually two boys and two girls. Their main task is to make Israel alive for the children at the camp, and to educate them about Zionism, Jewish Peoplehood and the Yoav region. This is accomplished using informal educational methods. The members of the delegation learn about the community institutions of Lehigh Valley and are hosted with local families. They take part in community events and visit various sites on the East Coast. The annual delegation of youth from Yoav to the Lehigh Valley community strengthens the bonds to Israel among the campers and their parents, as well as their identification with Israelis, while the youths from Yoav are exposed to the Jewish community experience in North America. All this goes toward strengthening the connection between the two communities. On their return to Israel the youths take part in leadership activity of one type or another in the region and also assist in recruiting the next group. Responsibility for the delegation is shared between the Youth Department of the Yoav Community Center and Partnership2Gether. Each year, some 30 students in Grades 10 and 11 who are Yoav residents apply for the program. The selection process includes a personal interview and a two day group workshop. The delegation members undergo professional training and acquire tools and skills that help them succeed at the summer camp. We view the delegation as the flagship project of the Partnership. Up until today, over 40 young people from Yoav have participated.