With OTYG hosting this year’s regional conclave back in November, and several members attending conferences in Denver and Los Angeles, the next generation of OTYG might be feeling a little left out, but their time has finally come. JYG, the NFTY youth group for 7th and 8th graders, is holding its regional conclave March 8-10 at United Hebrew Congregation in St. Louis.


“JYG introduces middle school students to their NFTY region and a much larger Jewish social group,” Youth Advisor Amy Katz said. “High school students write and run the programming so good role modeling occurs and encourages the kids to stay active in high school.” OTYG always sends a few kids to help with that bonding process within our synagogue youth program.


JYG Youth Advisor Sarah Sadofsky and parent/chaperone Paul Miller will be accompanying Temple Israel’s middle schoolers to St. Louis, where the kids will have an opportunity to meet their peers from around the region and engage in activities designed to enhance their Jewish identities.


“The weekend is about learning about NFTY, learning about their own youth groups, building relationships and making the kids want to come back,” said NFTY-MV Regional Director of Youth Engagement Beth Lipschutz.


The middle school kids, including Spencer Arnold, Jack Fletcher, Hannah Goodman, Emily Kazor, Olivia Nogg, Lindsay Osborne, Isabella Radler, Maddie Rauhauser, and Eliana Reiss, will participate in a short social action program, “because their attention spans are so short,” Lipschutz said, and team-building exercises, including a basketball game.


Some members of OTYG, President Hannah Perry, Morissa Miller and Hannah Radler, will also be attending to help with the “bonding process within” the Temple Israel youth program, Katz said.


OTYG will be returning to St. Louis in April for their own spring chavurah at that city’s Temple Israel, where they will take part in an educational, social action program and a social, much like the fall chavurah that was held at Omaha’s Temple Israel.


NFTY-MV will also hold elections for the next regional board during this chavurah.


OTYG seniors will be heading to St. Louis a day early for a special, secret seniors-only function designed by Lipschutz to commemorate their last NFTY youth group event.


If kids register by March 14, the cost of the St. Louis trip is $135; between March 14 and 21, $155; and after March 21, it will cost $175 and kids will have to contact Lipschutz at nftymv@urj.org to check if there’s still room, so be sure to register early.


For information on financial assistance for these and other youth group activities, visit the Jewish Federation of Omaha website or contact Mary Sue Grossman at (402) 334-6445.