In early March, BaMidbar hosted its first Experiential Educator Course, attended by Jewish community professionals looking to expand their mental health literacy and explore facilitation through the lens of social and emotional growth experiences. The program was a huge success, and opened our eyes to the impact we can have supporting Jewish professionals as they see mental health needs in the populations they serve. Upon cancelling in-person programs for Spring and Summer 2020 due to COVID-19, we directed our attention toward virtual mental health professional development opportunities for Jewish community professionals. We knew Jewish teen and young adult-serving organizations were desperate to address mental health and wellness in the populations they serve, and believed we could bring value to the community in this arena. Our professional development programs work to ensure that teen and young adult professionals:
- Promote healthy social and emotional development for all of the youth they serve;
- Have the knowledge to recognize when youth are at risk of experiencing mental health challenges;
- Have the skills and confidence to intervene early and appropriately when mental health challenges arise; and
- Professionals practice self-care and organizations create a culture of support for staff.
“What We’ve Accomplished Since April”
Some of the training topics we covered in the last six months include:
- Red Flags, Secondary Trauma, and Care for Caregivers
- Mental Health & Wellness in the Time of Coronavirus
- Empowering Teens at Home
- From Zoom Fatigue to Digital Simcha: Experiential Education in Online Facilitation
- Stress, Anxiety & the Classroom: Mental, Emotional, and Behavioral Health for Educators
- Compassion Fatigue & Self-Care
- Processing Tools for Online Facilitation
What We Plan
Through community education and wilderness-based journeys of self-discovery, hope, and healing, BaMidbar is working to ensure that Jewish youth and young adults have the confidence, skills, and community support to navigate life’s challenges and thrive in the face of adversity.
We achieve this by:
- Supporting Jewish young adults struggling with mental health challenges through immersive, wilderness-based, therapeutic programs;
- Supporting all Jewish teens and young adults, regardless of their mental health history, through alternate break programs focused on building resilience through increase self-confidence, skill-building, and healthy relationships; and
- Providing training for Jewish community professionals looking to expand their mental health literacy and explore facilitation through the lens of social and emotional growth.
blowing the shofar
We will announce BaMidbar’s full 2021 program calendar in mid-October, and registration for 2021 programs will open on November 1st. We plan to run the following programs in 2021:
- Backcountry alternative spring and summer break trips for college students in March and August.
Wilderness-based therapeutic programs for young adults struggling with depression and anxiety, in June and July.
- Virtual professional development programs for Jewish community professionals year-round.
- Immersive 3-day retreats for Jewish Community professionals in May (Denver) and November (Boston & Los Angeles).
While none of us know what our world will look like in 2021, participant and staff safety is our #1 priority. We plan to operate in-person, and are also realistic and know that this pandemic is rapidly evolving. We will provide full transparency during our decision-making process, as we finalize our in-person programming schedule for 2021.
“Our Path Moving Forward”
As a nonprofit organization that relies heavily on tuition revenue from our spring and summer programs, our budget is heavily impacted by COVID-19. With the support of our community, we have been able not only to survive, but to significantly expand certain areas of our program to meet pressing needs around mental health education and support for Jewish community professionals.
For those in a position to help us financially, we welcome any and all support. We have a long journey ahead. We continue to face uncertainty and challenge, but are confident that with the help of our dedicated community, we will emerge stronger.
Goal 1 – April 1 to August 31st, 2020: $150,000 ($166,500 Raised)
Goal 2 – September 1st to December 31st, 2020: $100,000
Goal 3 – January 1st to June 30th, 2021: $150,000
Overall Goal: $400,000
Thank you for believing in our mission and we look forward to continuing this work together.
The BaMidbar Wilderness Therapy Team