Engaging Parents in Youth Groups (continued)

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Hi all! It’s been a while since we’ve had some back and forth but when we left off last time we were speaking about how to engage parents in the development of a solid Youth Department. We talked about the first pillar: “Communication”. Now let’s move on to the next few pillars:

Pillar #2 – Encourage
When you call a parent during the week and let them know how great their child is doing or much you appreciate their support – you have just encouraged a fan. The positive feedback is a powerful trigger for future engagement. Don’t assume that your parents know how well things are going or how much of an impact that they made. Let them know.

Pillar #3 – Involve
I know most synagogues tend to keep their parents away from the Youth Groups but that’s a mistake. Out of site out of mind. If the parents aren’t involved with the groups they may never see the value of supporting a robust program. There are so many ways to involve parents: bring them in to speak – somebody there must know a cool Magic Trick, somebody must have served in the IDF.

Another way to involve parents is to perhaps due a once a month tefilah at the end of davening. Or perhaps think about running a “Mommy and Me” program. I ran “Mommy, Me and Rebbe”.

Pillar #4 – Work on a sophisticated Battle Plan
Parents respond to a Youth Department that operates professionally and responsibly. If it is evident that you are running a planned out program that is structured with development in mind – there is no doubt that it resonates.

Build slowly and step by step. Too much in one shot will show itself. Parents are worried about their children’s safety. Creating a safe environment is an essential component of a great Battle Plan.

Hatzlacha on your 4 pillars! I’d love to hear your feedback on how it goes.

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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.