While each of our clubs has a different personality, a lot of our activities overlap. Our curriculum is set by our incredible Teen Advisory Board of club leadership, and the club presidents collaborate to design their activities. This month we’ve spent a lot of time celebrating Israeli culture through crafting, from watercolors of Israeli landscapes to making kadorei shokolad and hummus together. We’ve found some incredibly artistic teens this way, and learned about Israel’s biodiversity through art. When we’re not making a mess, we’ve been bolstering our self-identities and mental wellness by exploring different types of Judaism, and their availability in Boulder, and meditating with Jewish mandala coloring for Shabbat.
If we’ve learned anything from our professional development work, it’s that teens are more stressed now than ever. We’ve been using our connections with our teen leaders as well as in the clubs to promote mental wellness. We’ve found that crafting in general can be a stress reliever (for more on this, check out CNN’s article on crafting as a meditative activity), and this works in our clubs of all sizes. In our smaller clubs, these intimate activities occupy students’ hands and allow them to relax, which has opened them up to sharing with us and their peers. In the larger clubs, students have to share supplies, which breaks them down into smaller groups and makes them share more than just paints with one another.
Working with these students has really helped us understand their experiences a little more, and given us tools to help them relax better.