A Guide to Planning a Separates Program

May 21, 2021
Gillian Beck

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Class of 2021

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As my term as Regional N’siah and as a teen member of BBYO comes to a close, I am taking time to reflect on my experience, and to evaluate the role I have played in my region. Serving as Regional N’siah this year has been the highest honor and most amazing privilege I could have ever had, and although it is bittersweet to say goodbye, I truly am so grateful for the experience I have had. Through this opportunity, I have learned many valuable lessons, those of which I would love to share with all those who will come after me. However, there is one lesson, relatively vast in its existence, that I would like to share. This lesson is about how to host a Separates Program.

The art of planning and executing a Separates Program is no easy one to master. I for one have definitely not mastered the skill, yet I do believe I have some insight to share. First, no matter the platform your Separates is being hosted on, that is if it is online or in-person, it is crucial that you create a specific atmosphere for the program. To me, it was always important to cultivate an environment where individuals felt comfortable to share and to learn from their peers. This can be done by encouraging individuals to create both a safe and warm physical environment, as well as a comfortable metaphorical environment. I always encourage my participants to turn off their main room lights and utilize a lamp or LEDs for light, in order to create a darker, more serious space. I also always begin my program by reiterating the concept of “four walls,” meaning that no matter what is said at the program, it shall not leave the room, or call, where the program is being held. I think it is extremely important to mention this at the beginning of any program that may quickly become deep and personal so that your participants not only feel safe to share but also secure in the people they are sharing with.

My next piece of advice is to cater your program to your target audience. This can be done in a variety of ways; from sending out surveys to gather the interests of your participants, to engaging in conversations with them to gain insight. No matter the method of collection, it is important that you know the audience you are catering to so that you are able to create a program that is not only interesting to them but will leave them feeling as though they have gained something from the experience. A critical aspect of any good program is ensuring that the participants leave with a sense of appreciation and admiration for the program they just attended, and by ensuring that the topic of your Separates is relevant and interesting to your attendees, this goal is sure to be achieved.

There are various elements that can be integrated into your Separates Program in order to make it top tier. It is crucial that you include various activities that promote self-reflecting and group discussion. Both types of learning are imperative to a successful Separates Program, for it is most ideal for your participants to be able to discover more about themselves, as well as discuss with their peers in order to see that they are not alone in their thoughts, feelings, and struggles. Whether your Separates is in person or online, you can incorporate various individual activities, as well as breakout group sessions, in order to add variety to the experience.

Separates are quite complex, and at first, they may seem very tricky to plan. However, what is most important is that you explore something you are passionate about so that you can put one hundred percent of your hard work and dedication into the program. By doing this, you are sure to be successful, and to host a Separates that every one of your participants will enjoy!

Gillian Beck is a BBG from L'chaim BBG #2444 in Lake Ontario Region Canada who loves animals.

All views expressed on content written for The Shofar represent the opinions and thoughts of the individual authors. The author biography represents the author at the time in which they were in BBYO.

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