This article, written by Rachel Goldstein, first appeared on LinkedIn.
I returned to Camp Tel Yehudah every summer as a teenager and young adult because I loved my friends and how camp made me feel about my community. While those two things are still critically important to me today, what I failed to realize at the time was the true power of TY's leadership development programming. Only since entering the workplace, and now business school, have I fully appreciated the hours of "peulot" (educational activities) and "sichot" (discussions)- how these programs challenged my peers and me to discuss critical social issues, debate with one another, lead one another to new challenges and ideas, and communicate thoughts freely both in small groups and in front of large crowds. TY allowed a safe structure for feedback and practice that has transferred seamlessly for so many of its alumni into the work place.
If the personal accolades from generations of alumni aren't enough, a Bloomberg Businessweek study published February 9th articulates the core skills employers seek in their MBA candidates, and the benefit of attending TY shines through. The most highly sought after, and hardest to find skills, "leadership skills, strategic thinking, and communication skills", are at the heart of TY's values and flagship programming. (For the entire article, - http://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/2016-job-skills-report/).
Not everyone had the privilege of attending TY - so what can we learn from its campers' lucky experience? Building talent happens best through a community/team norm of positively framed feedback and practice, and the availability of engaging experiences. Leadership skills CAN be taught through purposeful and deliberate programming and communication. And finally, it's ok for high school kids to skip the internship for camp - it may be their best way to prepare for the future.
Former TY camper and staff member, Rachel Goldstein is an MBA Candidate at the Smith School of Business.