Parents are the key decision maker when it comes to sending students on a Year 10 Israel program. Whether your child attends a Jewish day school or not, you will be the one who gets them on the plane. Going overseas for six weeks to the other side of the world is a big thing for any 16 or 17 years old to do, so they need more than just approval from mum and dad, they may need a little push to overcome any nerves. We have put together our top five tips for parents, to help ensure your child takes this amazing journey.
Talk through their personal fears
It’s normal for them to feel nervous about going away on the trip. For some, they will be unsure from the moment it is raised, while for others it might only kick in just before they head to the airport. You need to remind them that there are others feeling exactly the same. The great thing about being part of a group, from a shared community, is you quickly build a bond. Being nervous may turn out to be what helps break the ice with others who are there to comfort or share their angst.
If your child is nervous already or has some genuine social anxieties, Y2i staff and those on each of the programs are always available to answer any questions and support your child.
Focus on what they are gaining
It is easy to dwell on what you might be missing out on because there will always be something else on. The key is focussing on the incredible journey they are about to undertake. Of course, it is also up to the parents to make sure there are no big family vacations being planned at the same time. It is a unique formative time in your child’s life; a chance for them not just learn and bond with others, but to grow as an individual. Talk through any obstacles your child may believe are in the way because this truly is a once in a lifetime experience.
All levels of knowledge are catered for
The programs are there to educate students through first-hand experiences. It does not matter whether your child’s knowledge of Judaism, Israel and its people is small or great, everyone is catered for. While the IST program is designed around the Orthodox traditions of Moriah and Masada, the Emanuel and BJE programs take a pluralistic approach, meaning everyone is catered for. The idea of the programs is for each person to learn and take on board what feels right to them.
Make an effort to meet up with other parents
There is every chance yo may already know other parents who will be sending their child, so make sure you catch-up with them and talk through any issues or concerns. Even if your children are not friendly, it will be reassuring for them to hear what others might be experiencing in the lead-up and what they are looking forward to. Seeing familiar faces will always be a comfort in those first hours and days before they make their own new friends. Remember also all the programs meet up on the Community Day in Israel, so it’s also great to have some people to look out for that will not be going on the same program.
If you don’t know any other parents, but would like to be introduced to some, just let our Y2i staff know.
Be prepared to push a little
Even the most excited kids can go through a phase where they are not sure about whether they should go or not. Many past participants have said they did not want to go right until they were boarding the plane, but without exception say it turned out to be the best thing they had ever done. As a parent, you may need to give them a little push. Rest assured you are not on your own and we are sure you and they will never regret it.