PresenTense and the Jewish Community Center Association are pleased to announce a new partnership through JCC Association’s Merrin Teen Professional Fellowship. The Merrin Fellowship is a selective continental training program that helps JCC professionals working directly with teens develop their own leadership and management skills, enrich their Jewish identities and those of their participants, and network and collaborate with teen professionals from JCCs across North America.
This year’s fellowship will have a special focus on social entrepreneurship, empowering professionals to create new kinds of initiatives to achieve high programmatic outcomes while promoting a culture of innovation within their institutions and movement-wide. JCC Association has engaged PresenTense as a content provider and thought partner in developing the entrepreneurship curriculum, which will include five PresenTense seminar modules and tailored mentorship for participants surrounding their projects and career development. PresenTense will provide Merrin Fellows with an entrepreneur’s toolkit, which will enable them to identify new opportunities in their organizations and develop targeted initiatives to address those needs. The tools Merrin Fellows acquire will enrich the local JCCs and camps well beyond the scope of their respective projects, inspiring professionals and participants alike to be innovators and visionaries in their approach to building Jewish community.
“We are excited to be working with PresenTense in this venture, knowing that their reputation for innovation and social entrepreneurship will bring a deep expertise to our curriculum,” said Jodi Sperling, director of camping and the Merrin Center for Teen Engagement.”The Merrin Fellows are being trained as future leaders of the JCC Movement and the Jewish community.” Since 1999, there have been 111 Merrin Fellows, and over seventy percent still work in the Jewish communal world. “The Merrin Fellowship teaches them how to be transformational leaders,” said Sperling, “and the PresentTense partnership delivers a critical skill set in that endeavor.”
PresenTense co-directors Naomi Korb Weiss and Shelby Zitelman say of the new partnership with JCC Association, “The Merrin Fellowship is a long-running, high-caliber program engaging the best and the brightest JCC teen professionals across the country. We were thrilled they have chosen to add a venture development component through a partnership with PresenTense, providing participants with the tools, frameworks, and processes to create new initiatives in their home communities with the support of their host organizations. This joint initiative raises the agenda of intrapreneurial development – enabling change from within. We look forward to continuing the partnership and empowering this talented cohort with the ability to be agents of change.”