Machon Summer Leadership Institute 2016 at URJ Eisner Camp

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imageThe Machon Summer Leadership Institute is a 7 ½ week holistic leadership development and skill-building internship program for rising high school seniors at URJ Eisner and Crane Lake Camps. Utilizing Jewish values, participants explore what it means to become productive and successful staff members, discover their Jewish identity, and gain valuable skills as Jewish leaders, such as conflict management, communication, community organizing, empathy, caring for and motivating others and self, event and program planning, self and communal advocacy, group dynamics, teaching and presenting, and marketing and outreach. Learning takes place through a variety of modalities including, but not limited to, group activities, formal learning seminars, observations, reflection, feedback, and hands-on opportunities. The program is open to existing and new campers and offers participants a meaningful opportunity to add depth to their resumes and complete community service hours.

This summer we asked the URJ Eisner Machon participants to describe the new program and share something that have learned during their time at camp.  We are filled with pride seeing these leaders-in-training step into their roles as counselors and leaders around camp. We hope you enjoy hearing about their experience and learning about the Machon program!

Deborah F.

The Machon program has been a very interesting experience. Every day, I feel more comfortable calling myself a leader. I especially love participating in my internship, where I gain hands-on experience with campers. In addition, I volunteered in the kitchen and with housekeeping and I have learned about a variety of different specialties throughout camp. This program is teaching us core counselor skills as well as vital leadership and Mussar skills. This summer has provided me with an outstanding leadership development experience. What I have learned most is what it means to be a counselor. I am no longer a camper, dependent on adults to get to places on time and do the right thing. I am now responsible for myself and for my campers. In obtaining this new responsibility, I have become exponentially more mature. I have learned about what it means to be an adult, and this is a lesson I will never forget.

David G.

This Machon Program is a full summer leadership experience at URJ Eisner Camp. The Machonikim learn about leadership and how to be effective counselors. I have learned so much about leadership and myself this summer! Through different activities and programs, I learned how to be a good role model for my peers and campers.

Jess B.

I am part of Machon 2016!! Each day I learn so many new things and become a more confident and skilled leader. One part of the program that has stuck out for me is the focus on Jewish values and Mussar. Mussar is like the practice of mindfulness through Jewish values. Throughout first session, Rabbi Eric Gurvis, our Machon Rabbi, led us in reflective activities during what we called a “Mussar Minute.” During the “Mussar Minute” we would do a breathing exercise and focus on acting mindfully. This has helped me become more aware, focused, and connected to Jewish values.

Zoe C.

Machon is an intensive two-month program during which we learn what it really means to be a leader. We also have internship experiences throughout the summer to get used to the responsibilities of being a camp counselor.

Jillian G.
The Machon program has a lot of different components. First and foremost, it trains us to be imageeffective counselors and role models. However, the program does not stop there. We also learn how to become successful Jewish leaders, not only within “The Bubble,” but during the rest of the year as well. We have been taught the values of Mussar and Jewish thinking so we can become stronger leaders and educators outside of the camp community. I learned that there is a lot going on behind the scenes at camp that we do not know about. While we come to camp to have fun, there are many counselors and other staff members who work hard to ensure that everything happens. Everything that goes on at Eisner has a purpose and a plan, all with the intention to ensure campers are happy and enjoying themselves. I learned how difficult it is to work here and to keep 16+ campers happy and healthy. That being said, I have also learned how rewarding being a counselor can be.

Simone J.

Machon is a leadership program intended to prepare incoming high school seniors to be effective counselors. Participants learn a lot while having a really fun time! One thing I have learned about is conflict management and the five levels of conflict.

Sarah D.

The Machon Program is a values-based leadership program designed to let us explore what it means to be a leader and member of the Eisner staff. By learning the skills we need we are able to discover our Jewish identity as well as gain valuable skills as Jewish leaders. Going into this summer I had a negative attitude towards working with younger kids. After having an internship experience with Bonim, I learned how to talk and work with children and actually have fun while doing it!

Miranda F.

The Machon summer program is a seven week institute that teaches both leadership skills and hands-on counselor skills. The program has a focus on self-awareness and analysis framed in the light of leadership development. The best people for this program are those who are either open to new ideas, willing to put forth the effort, or both. One of the most valuable things I have learned this summer is that I don’t like to be quiet. Being in this place, at this time, learning among these people has enabled me to speak my mind again and again. I like it!

imageZach O.

The Machon program at URJ Eisner Camp is a fully engaging and immersive experience for young Jewish adults. Participants will grow from young Jewish adults into Jewish leaders at camp and in their community. This summer I have learned to think before I speak because people are always listening even if no one is around.

Kat K.

The Machon program is a unique experience for rising seniors at URJ Eisner Camp. Counselors and leaders-in-training have the opportunity to develop leadership skills beneficial to them both in and out of camp! Responsibility is a Jewish value that is thoroughly explored by working with campers and in all areas of camp. This summer has been a valuable learning experience for me. I have discovered how much change has occurred since Louis became the director. I can’t wait to learn more!

Elijah G.

The Eisner Machon Program is a very interesting, fun, and enjoyable experience. The coolest part is that everyone wants to be in it and it is incredibly inclusive community for all the teens in the program. There is an enormous amount of programming and learning that is very helpful in real-life situations. In general, the program has been very helpful and eye-opening. Specifically, I have learned how to deal with conflict. Rabbi David Wolfman taught us about the different stages of conflict. These range from a problem to solve to mutual destruction. These different types of conflict occur all the time at camp and knowing how to deal with them is crucial to being a counselor and leader.

Nettie L.

The Machon program at URJ Eisner Camp is a leadership training program for teens going into their senior year of high school. During the first session at camp, we learned about how we can be better leaders and serve as role models at camp. We also had week-long internships with different units. During second session, we are attached to a bunk and work as specialists. The machon program teaches us how to be amazing counselors and helps us discover our leadership potential. I enjoyed learning about the campers’ development stages and what to expect when working with each age group. We learned that within each unit, campers have varied levels of maturity and that each unit requires a different set of counselor skills.

Shoshana M.

This summer I am spending 7.5 weeks at URJ Eisner Camp in the Machon program. This amazing program combines leadership development, counselor training, and an internship experience. During first session, we spent three days per week with an assigned unit. While we were with the unit, we helped in the cabin and took on the responsibilities of a general counselor. During our leadership training we learn about a wide array of topics including Jewish values and Mussar, God, and more. During second session, we are attached to cabins as general counselors or specialists. This summer I appreciated learning all about Mussar.

Lexa K.

The machon program is designed to train incoming high school seniors to become good leaders and counselors. We have been trained through a variety of programs and internship experiences. One thing I have learned is that you have to devote equal attention to each K’tanim camper otherwise they take notice!

Liza P.

In Machon we are learning how to be leaders and how to use the skills we are learning to become better counselors and better versions of ourselves. This summer I have learned the value of appreciating the opposition. As an athlete my mindset is to win. Since learning this value I have been thinking about how appreciating other teams will make me a better player and athlete. Listening to other opinions has also allowed me to widen my perspective. I can’t wait to apply this to other situations and learn more Jewish values!