Engaging Parents in Youth Groups

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Rabbi Einhorn’s SynaBlog is a new innovative blog that shares tips, tactics, strategies and best practices that enable Shul growth and promote Shul vitality.

Let’s continue where we left off. We were discussing the not so well known art of engaging parents in your youth groups. We looked at four compelling reasons why it’s critical to keep your synagogue adults in the loop.

Now that we’ve hopefully been sold on the “why” – it’s time to talk about the “how”. How can we effectively engage parents in our youth groups?

The first pillar of proper adult engagement is COMMUNICATION. There needs to be proper open conduit by which your message and happenings are relayed over to the membership.

Within this first pillar – communication- there are four highly functional ways to make this connection.

#1 – Keep parents updated. Whether through a weekly newsletter, blog post or phone tree, you need to simply let parents know what’s happening and when. There’s no point in running a top of the line carnival if the adults don’t know that it’s game on. If a tree falls in the …. You get the point.

#2 – Capture your passion. Parents need to see/feel/ and hear about your enthusiasm. It’s that dynamic element which comes across strongest. Have the parents sit in on a session that you’re running. Ask the Rabbi to let you update the Shul once a month after davening.

#3 – Share your vision. I know we’ve spoken a bit about developing a Shul mission statement. The youth group should be no ministry. Partner with your board in developing a vision for the youth group that is engaging and empowering and MOST IMPORTANTLY fits with the synagogues vision.

#4 – Open Forum. Create a friendly opportunity where parents can give feedback and ask some questions. This can be achieved by hanging out at the kiddish after davening instead of running out of there. You can also put your email in the Shul bulletin letting parents know they can always contact you.

There’s so much more to share. See you next week!

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Rabbi Shlomo Einhorn is a Musmach of Yeshiva University. He has served as the founder of WINGS a Synagogue Consulting group. Prior to moving to Los Angeles, Rabbi Einhorn was the Rabbi of Manhattan’s West Side Institutional Synagogue where he helped grow the membership by 70% over 4 years. Currently, he is the Rav and Dean of Yeshivat Yavneh.