|Me aged 18, on a kibbutz with my Youth Movement|
The representatives from the various groups came to the school to recruit. We didn't get any of the religious groups as it's not a religious school. They know their potential clients. I didn't push any of it even though some of her friends started going to scouts and Noam (The Youth Movement of the Traditional Jewish Community) last year. My thoughts were:
a. She needs to choose a group that meets locally as we don't have a car.
b. She'll go where a group of her friends go - it's all about the social at this age.
c. I didn't start going to my Youth Movement of choice until well into my teens and I got the full experience, life-changing influences, and life-long friends out of it.
d. It ultimately won't be my choice but hers.
e. Lots of kids I know started going to a group but dropped out after a few months. They don't have the pull that they once did and many many more kids don't go to a Youth Movement nowadays. So even if she starts a group it doesn't mean she'll stay with it.
I would have chosen Noam for her. I would say that Noam probably reflect our family situation and outlook the best. But I left it too late and she told me she wanted to go to Hashomer Hatzair (The Young Guard). I had no recourse. The leaders come to collect a group of them from school (this year, next year they can walk themselves if they're still interested), the local clubhouse is very near, her friends were going.
But Hashomer Hatzair!!!! It's extremely left-wing and anti-religion! It's so not me. It's so not us. But so far they've made some posters and played board games. I collected DD and her friend the other day and as we walked home I could hear them behind me chanting: "Young Guards! Be strong!" and then answering with; "Strong and Brave!"
I was remembering my own Youth Movement chants: "Who are we?" "Bnei Akiva!" (The Children of Rabbi Akiva) "What is our cry?" "The Bible and Work!" "What is our motto?" "The Land of Israel! The People of Israel! And the Bible of Israel!"
Over the past 35 years Bnei Akiva has got more religious and right wing whereas I have got less so on both accounts. I loved my time in BA but it wouldn't be appropriate for us now. When my nephew offered DD his Bnei Akiva shirt which he thought she'd love to have, I had a strong reaction against it. DD had no idea what it meant but I knew that wearing it would be announcing our religious and political stance - wrong ones for us on both accounts. When DD announced that she wanted to go to Hashomer Hatzair, I didn't have this strong reaction. So maybe it's not such a bad fit after all.