Program Highlights - Leader's Assembly
Leader's Assembly

Program Highlights

Sunday  //  1:15 PM
Community in Context: From Cross-fit to Your Camp

Casper ter Kuile and Angie Thurston, Harvard Divinity School students and co-authors of How We Gather, share their research that reveals how a host of growing organizations, like Cross-Fit and Soul Cycle build community and transform lives in unexpected ways. These groups, while largely secular, consistently mirror traditional religious functions. Some of the more well-known are described — only half-jokingly — as “cult-like.” Focusing on community, personal transformation, social transformation, purpose finding, creativity, and accountability – how do we take lessons learned and apply them to Jewish camp as we take a leading role and chase excellence in the changing landscape of Jewish engagement.

Casper ter Kuile is building a world of joyful belonging. He’s a Ministry Innovation Fellow at Harvard Divinity School where he supports innovative community leaders across the secular/sacred landscape. Together with his colleague Angie Thurston, he’s co-authored two reports – How We Gather and Something More – that map this emerging landscape. Casper co-hosts an award-winning podcast, Harry Potter and the Sacred Text, which engages a modern classic through traditional sacred reading practices such as Havruta and Lectio Divina. Casper is also an On Being Strategist and was previously the co-founder of Campaign Bootcamp and the UK Youth Climate Coalition. He lives in Cambridge, MA with his husband Sean.



Angie Thurston is an On Being Strategist and a Ministry Innovation Fellow at Harvard Divinity School, working to deepen spiritual community amidst increasing religious disaffiliation. She is the co-author, with Casper ter Kuile, of How We Gather and Something More, two reports profiling new forms of meaningful community in America. Angie is a leader in the international fellowship of Urantia Book readers. A graduate of Brown University, she began chairing semiannual spiritual gatherings in 2010 and is dedicated to connecting and supporting young community leaders nationwide.



Monday  //  9:00 AM
iGen: Understanding the Influences Shaping a Generation

Based on survey data from 11 million teens and young adults, Jean M. Twenge,  Professor of Psychology at San Diego State University and author of the new book iGen, as well as 140 scientific publications, will discuss the cultural changes shaping today’s young generation. She documents how their changed world has impacted their attitudes, worldviews, and mental health and the role camp plays in their lives. With generational divides wider than ever, camp professionals, parents, educators and employers have an urgent need to understand today’s rising generation of teens and young adults. Born after 1995, iGen is the first generation to spend their entire adolescence in the age of the smartphone. With social media and texting replacing other activities, iGen spends less time with their friends in person – perhaps why they are experiencing unprecedented levels of anxiety, depression, and loneliness. Twenge’s research will help shape recommendations and advice on counseling and leading this generation.

Jean M. Twenge, Professor of Psychology at San Diego State University, is the author of more than 140 scientific publications and the books iGen: Why Today’s Super-Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy–and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood, Generation Me: Why Today’s Young Americans Are More Confident, Assertive, Entitled — and More Miserable Than Ever Before and The Narcissism Epidemic: Living in the Age of Entitlement (co-authored with W. Keith Campbell). Dr. Twenge frequently gives talks and seminars on teaching and working with today’s young generation based on a dataset of 11 million young people. Her audiences have included college faculty and staff, high school teachers, military personnel, camp directors, and corporate executives. Her research has been covered in Time, Newsweek, The New York Times, USA Today, U.S. News and World Report, and The Washington Post, and she has been featured on Today, Good Morning America, CBS This Morning, Fox and Friends, NBC Nightly News, Dateline NBC, and National Public Radio. She holds a BA and MA from the University of Chicago and a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan.

Monday  //  3:30 PM
Meeting the Needs of Camp Parents: A Panel with ASK DR. G

Parents send their kids to camp for a multitude of reasons.  Each has different hopes and dreams of what their child will come home with (besides a trunkful of dirty laundry). How do we understand -and manage- the ever-changing needs of today’s camp parents, while staying true to our campers and the camp culture. Respected parenting and youth development expert, Deborah Gilboa, MD, is the founder of Popularly known as Dr. G, her passion for raising kids with character makes her a favorite family physician, media personality, author, speaker and social influencer. Dr. G will moderate a panel of a diverse group of camp parents and offer commentary on managing (and meeting) expectations.

Dr. Deborah Gilboa, a respected parenting and youth development expert, is the founder of Popularly known as Dr. G, her passion for raising kids with character makes her a favorite family physician, media personality, author, international speaker, and social influencer. A mom of four boys, she inspires audiences with relatable stories and easy tools to develop crucial life skills in children ages 2–22. Dr G is a Today Show Tastemaker and the parenting expert on CBS’ Pittsburgh Today Live. Dr. G contributes regularly to Today Parents, Huffington Post, Your Teen Magazine, national magazines like Real Simple, Consumer Reports, Parents, and Parenting, and is seen on every major TV network. She is the author of several books including, Get the Behavior You Want … Without Being the Parent You Hate! Dr G. is a well-known figure in the North American camping community. She’s been involved in summer camp for 41 of her 46 summers so far.

Tuesday//  9:00 AM
new!  SPECIALTY AREA Intensives

Here by popular demand! Get ready to take a deep dive into the specialty area of your choice. Workshop content will feature  opportunities that are unique to Baltimore, as well as on-site presentations from renowned experts. Topics include customer service, middle management, mental health, greening your institution, and much more!

The intensives will last for 3 hours, and each will offer you a chance to interact with particular subjects at a high-level, giving you developed strategies and actionable tactics to strengthen your camp, community, and the field.




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