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Teen Songleader Fellowships: Staff Mentors

In addition to the musical support and expert songleading skill instruction teens receive through our program sessions, SUG's Teen Songleader Fellows are encouraged (in fact, required!) to put those skills to the test through actual leadership in their home communities, with the support of a local Staff Mentor. This is a unique feature of our program, and we find it makes for some of the most meaningful real-time learning for our teens, while also providing growth opportunities for their communities.

Becoming a Staff Mentor for one of our Fellows is an exciting and meaningful opportunity to help guide an emerging leader and strengthen their engagement in your local Jewish community. You will be helping a new songleader develop their leadership skills, deepen their knowledge of communal singing, and build meaningful relationships. In addition, by devoting some of your focus to this program and working with SUG’s staff support network, you yourself will build valuable skills for evaluating how your community approaches music and songleading.


There is no musical skill required to be a Staff Mentor for our Fellows. Although music is the primary tool our songleaders may use to teach and lead, the approach to how we harness this tool in a classroom or prayer setting is similar to any other. Great musicians do not necessarily make great songleaders! Our Fellows would benefit from a skilled leader or educator in any area who can support them in goal-setting, thoughtful planning, classroom management, organization, etc.
 
Responsibilities of a Staff Mentor

 

  • Staff Mentors agree to meet directly with their teen Fellow (we suggest approximately monthly) to:

  • Help ensure they have opportunities to practice leadership (such as co-leading a Shabbat prayer or Tot Shabbat service, teaching a song in religious school, or running a musical program) and support them in thinking through their logistical needs to be set up for success

  • Check-in with them to process, debrief and reflect on these songleading experiences as they pass

  • Observe them in action (at least once!)

  • Share in their excitement, commitment and developmental needs as they move through the Fellowship and as the learning and growing deepens.
     

Staff Mentors agree to check in with the SUG staff support team:

  • Toward the beginning of the Fellowship (fall 2023) to ask questions, receive any resources they may need and discuss plans for mentorship of their teen

  • As problems may arise, to troubleshoot or request additional support/resources

  • Twice more to provide feedback on the teen’s songleading growth, in winter and spring 2024 (likely via quick form/questionnaire, unless a full conversation is warranted)

 
Please note that teens will need a Staff Mentor in order to participate in this program. 

 

Become a Mentor

If you have a teen who you think would benefit f
rom applying to our program, please nominate them here.

 

If you would like to mentor a teen who has already applied to our program, please fill out our brief Mentorship Agreement Form.
 
Thank you for your partnership in building up the next generation of Jewish communal leaders!

Just a note to say thanks for your teaching of Zach through the last year.  I know he learned a great deal from you and his fellow leaders, and I’m grateful for the way you and they were able to help him become a better leader, and to help bring more music into our school.
- Allan, Staff Mentor (‘19-'20)

The SUG Teen Songleader Fellowships give teens the training, experience, and confidence needed to:
 

  • Find their own voice as a Jewish leader

  • Develop comfort in front of a room

  • Teach both new and familiar songs

  • Sing with and lead diverse age groups

  • Partner with congregational professionals

  • Develop the requisite skills of analysis, process, feedback-gathering and self-reflection
     

The North American Cohort of the Fellowship is generously underwritten by the Suzanne D. and Stanley A. Racoosin Fund for Jewish Music.

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