Where does ECRUSY operate?
ECRUSY stand for the Eastern Canadian Region of USY. We serve the eastern most provinces including Ontario, Quebec, and the Maritimes. Most of our programming occurs in Ontario, where the biggest cluster of our chapters lies. Check our our Chapters Page to see a list of where our chapters are located.
What kinds of programs do you run?
We mostly run Weekend Conventions and Shabbatons. Most of our conventions begin on Friday and run until Sunday with the exception of our Spring Convention which begins on Thursday evening. Each of our conventions includes a wide range of programming that is all centered on the convention theme. During the convention the teens participate in fun social programming, informal educational programming, enriching social action programming, and Israeli culture programming. All of our activities are designed by our teen executive board with adult oversight, so they are guaranteed to be age appropriate, fun, and engaging. We send out the full convention schedule in the pre-convention e-mail.
Will teens have to miss school for any conventions?
Teens will most likely have to miss one day of school. Depending on where the teens are coming from, and where the convention is located, they may need to miss an afternoon of school or possibly the whole day. To put your mind to easy about teens missing school, know that they will not be missing school just to hang out with their friends. Our conventions include a full Shabbat experience as well as social action programming and religious education. All this “informal education” helps your child learn more about Jewish culture and traditions and will help them to be more informed about the world.
We are not observant and we do not celebrate Shabbat on a normal basis at home. Will teens like this be comfortable with the different level of observance during conventions?
The majority of our programs occur over Shabbat. No matter how much or how little exposure teens have had with a traditional Shabbat experience in the past, our convention provides a special and unique opportunity to enjoy and participate in the enhancing of Shabbat through interactive, age-appropriate prayer, spirited song and cheering, and fun educational programs. On Shabbat, we refrain from the following: traveling, writing, handling of money, playing radios or musical instruments, and using telephones. We ask that teens leave their cell phone at home. If cell phones are used during our programs or on Shabbat, it will be taken away until the end of convention.
What are the staff like at conventions?
We have a wonderful and highly qualified team of staff that volunteer at our conventions. Many of our staff are university students who are Kadima/USY alumni and work in the chapters as youth directors or advisors. They are all mature and high energy and are integral to our programming and to the safety of the teens. All of our staff have passed a vulnerable sector background check through the RCMP. USY has a mandatory 1:9 staff to teen ratio which we try to exceed whenever possible.
What happens if someone is sick or gets injured during a convention?
We always have at least one staff member who is trained in Standard First Aid/CPR C on site at conventions at all times. In the event of sickness or injury, this staff member is well equipped to deal with it on site. If our staff are unable to deal with the situation, we ensure that our convention site is never more than 30 minutes away from an emergency room by car, closer by ambulance. No matter how minor the injury or illness we will always be in touch with parents or the emergency contact as soon as possible.