A chesed visit conducted by youth in the Madrich School, Volgograd
Madrich School, Volgograd, Russia
Name of implementing organization:Or Avner, Volgograd
Date of initial project approval:November 2008
Brief description of the local Jewish community
The Jewish community of Volgograd numbers approximately 10,000. The community is served by a Jewish kindergarten, a day school, a Jewish summer camp, and a youth club. A Jewish Communal Center works to promote Jewish Tradition and Jewish culture. It also conducts welfare and charitable activities. The Or Avner Secondary General School, established in 2000, is comprised of grades 1 through 11, and has an enrollment of 147 students. The preschool, Gan Geula, has an enrollment of 51 children.
Project aims and objectives
To teach older children Jewish History, Tradition, and customs, in order to prepare them to work as madrichim at school and in the local Gan Israel summer camp
Eighteen pupils participated in the project “Madrich School”. The training component began in 2008/2009 school year. Students worked in summer camp in 2009 as madrichim. They received further training during the 2009-2010 school year, followed by the camp session in summer 2010.
The program included 6 subprograms: Young Leader, Jewish Tradition, Master Class, Charity, Game is a Serious Business, and Voice.
The training program was comprised of two one-hour lessons per week, with a total of 68 hours of classes each school year. The curriculum included: Jewish History; Jewish Tradition; Jewish Customs; Psychological Features of Young Children; Organizing Creative Activities; Fostering Creativity; and Developing and Conducting Games and Other Creative Activities to Further the Study of Jewish Tradition and Culture. Classes included lectures and practical experiences. Students learned to organize and implement games; to work on the school newspaper; to use various arts and craft techniques; and to teach the concept of compassion. They helped conduct activities in preparation for Jewish holidays, as well as competitions and game programs, in school during the academic years 2008-2009, and 2009-2010. Some of these activities took place after school hours.
The subprogram Young Leader aimed to develop students` organizational abilities and leadership skills, and included logistics for developing and organizing summer camp activities and programs and thematic days.
Within the framework of the subprogram Master Class students learned various applied arts techniques, and developed designing skills for their future work as madrichim.
Within the framework of the Jewish Tradition subprogram, children conducted lessons for younger pupils on Jewish History and traditions.
The Charity subprogram aimed to teach compassion for others. Students conducted programs for younger students and for children in the “Gan Geula” kindergarten.
Within the framework of the subprogram Game is a Serious Business, participants learned a variety of games, as well as methods of organizing thematic days and competitive game programs.
As part of the subprogram Voice, students worked on the school newspaper “Chaim”, which has published 7 issues which include a page presenting information about the Madrich School project.
In the summers of 2009 and 2010, participants in the project worked as madrichim in the Gan Israel summer camp. Each summer, the camp conducted two 15-day sessions. 9 madrichim and a Coordinator worked during each session.In 2010, 224 children were enrolled.The camp provided active intellectual, and emotional rest for children during summer vacation, and furthered study of Jewish Tradition and Jewish History. Madrichim implemented the skills and knowledge they had received in their training. The main topic of the camp session in 2009 was the Ten Commandments.
Camp activities included the lesson “Tunnel of Time”, where children learned about major events in Jewish History. They also learned about the geography of Israel. They constructed a Kotel, and each child created a stone for the wall to express his thoughts, feelings and impressions. Various lessons and activities about individual commandments were conducted. In one activity, two publishing groups competed, issuing papers on “Commandments: Man to G-d” and “Commandments: Man to Man”.
Main budget elements
Camp room & board
Transportation to and from the camp
Materials for camp activities
Gifts for social action projects
The project's successes
Participants in the Madrich School provided positive feedback. Their comments included the following:
"I have been studying in Madrich School for two years. It's great! We became very good friends. Our common occupatin has united us. we have learned to create and c onstruct activities and thematic days."
"For the first ti me I was not a camper, but a madrich at camp. We prepared for the work at camp for a year. In my opinion, we did it well. Our guys were very active and positive. It was really great!"
"The two years (in Madrich School) flew by."
"ast year I thought, "Could I?", "Should I try?". Now I know that I can. Madrich School halped me to have another point of view for many things."
Children who participated in the camp also provided very positive feedback, including the following comments:
"The camp is really wonderful! I have never had a lot of friends before, but I have met a lot of them in camp!!"
"The atmosphere in the camp is friendly, the camp activities are interesting. I have gained a good knowledge of Jewish history and traditions. Lessons were carried out with games. It was great!!"