Past Present and Future
Our premises were finished in 1965 and the next decade saw activities across the whole synagogue expand and included a whole range of youth activities. An edition of Emet from 1975 shows a long list of opportunities for youth covering a wide age group
Cubs; Scouts; Venture Scouts; Junior Youth Club; Senior Youth Club; Sports including football, swimming and athletics. 16+ club; Brownies; Guides; Ranger Guides; Judo; Jewish Girls Brigade and Ballet.
Many of these activities are still happening today, some still being run by myself and our youth team and some opportunities being offered under the roof of EDRS.
At our Jubilee in 1985 the youth put on a variety show, this is something we emulated this year with our production of Joseph and his Technicolor dream coat.
Summer camps are the big event of the year in the youth centre and while searching the archives it put a smile on my face to see this was also the case many many many years ago. Kaytana 1978 ran for 2 weeks in the summer, where according to the met office it was a scorching 26c, and you could attend Kaytana for the grand total of £9 per week! Now our Kaytana and Kadima Summer camps are highly respected and popular. Registered with Ofsted and graded at the highest level possible we see young people from all over come and join us for 3 weeks packed for of fun, excitement and adventure.
When reading the archives there were many names that kept popping up but one that holds a special place in the heart of the youth centre is Barney Ross. Barney was an active member of EDRS for 42 years and was particularly involved in the youth right up until he died in 2000. In his memory The Barney Ross Award was created, given to a volunteer who has shown outstanding contribution and dedication to the youth of EDRS, this year we are proud to be presenting this for the 14th time. Barney Ross reflects the past, present and future of EDRSYC.
Through all the records and discussions I have had with people about youth activities of the past 79 years volunteer madrachim (leaders) are always mentioned. Without them none of our activities would be able to run, this is the same now as it was years ago and will be in years to come. Our Hadracha course started in 2004 by Lisa Goldsobel and myself, has just had its 5th graduation class, 27 young people completed a 2 year course giving them the skills, knowledge and confidence to volunteer here at EDRS as well as out in the wider community and we are about to start the journey with our 7th intake on the course.
Whether its memories of past youth workers including Warren Elf, Mark Bromley, Karen Graham, Jo Weber or newer experiences with me, Lisa Goldsobel or Sheldon Mordsley it is interesting to see how much things have changed but also how much things are still the same.
Young people have many more pressures then they had even 10 years ago. Whether its school priorities, sports teams or helping to look after a family member. The youth centre at EDRS will develop, change and grow based on what people want from us. This year saw us completely change our activities from a mixture of sessions for different age groups to a drop in all day option on Sundays for school years 4-10, giving more hours available to come along and be involved.
EDRSYC creates a place for all young people to express themselves however they want. We teach them valuable social skills, they meet new people, we educate in a fun and creative way and create an atmosphere of acceptance. Young people are amazing and can achieve so much. The young people involved in EDRS today are the youth workers, teachers and leaders of EDRS’ future and it is our responsibility as the present parents, teachers, youth workers and community leaders to help them on this journey.
We can not predict where the youth centre will be or what activities will be on offer in the future but if our past is anything to go by we will continue to be popular, diverse, inclusive and most importantly fun!
“Look closely at the present you are constructing. It should look like the future you are dreaming”
Director of Youth