The Boulder JCC recently received a grant from Roots and Branches, an initiative of Rose Community Foundation. The purpose of this grant is to create a lighthearted, innovative, friendly network of young Jews in Boulder who are interested in, and excited about, programming for the young, Jewish Boulder crowd. In order to accomplish this, I am having conversations with 100 young adult Jews in Boulder County over the next few months, to discuss what their background is and what they are looking for in terms of young Jewish adult programming.
The first month of conversations has come and gone and after reflecting on these chats, I’ve developed a few insights as to our community and this project. First of all, when developing this project and working out the initial logistics, I thought that I would have known most of the ways that people would respond to my questions. After just two conversations, I realized that I need to enter these conversations with zero expectations because everyone’s story and mindset is drastically different.
Here are some stats from the first 10 conversations.
- The first ten people were split almost perfectly evenly with a third being from the Western US, a third being from the East Coast, and a third being Colorado Natives, with one person sneaking in from overseas.
- How people classified their affiliation to Judaism ranged from secular to Conservative, with a few people classifying themselves as Post-Denominational, which is a person who is very connected to the religious, cultural, and spiritual aspects of Judaism, but that connection supersedes any one denomination. This also fascinates me (see previous post).
- Not surprisingly, everyone listed an outdoor activity as one of their favorite hobbies outside of work, a pleasant change from what I consider the East Coast mindset.
When asked which types of events people would most likely want to attend, social events such as happy hours were the most popular, followed by outdoorsy events like hikes or days on the slopes, Shabbat and potluck dinners, and events based on social action and volunteering. Seeing as the overarching goal of this project is to plan interesting and relevant events, this was a breath of fresh air for me to hear. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good happy hour, but many times its just as if not more pleasant to connect with someone over a potluck dinner or on a hike. Knowing that there are people interested in events like these makes the idea seem much more feasible and worthwhile.
This brings me to the most interesting insight of these conversations thus far. In Boulder’s unique and diverse Jewish community, people are trying to connect on various levels and in various ways. What I’m realizing is that we may not need to reinvent the wheel for this to happen, rather we can just help people who already have similar interests to find each other. Whether this is at a bar, on a hike, while practicing yoga, or during a volunteer event, it just depends on what interests you as an individual.
As always, if you are a Boulder Jew between the ages of 25-35, give me a shout. I would love to take you out for coffee and talk about where you came from, what you are looking for in terms of programming for this demographic, and how we can work together to achieve this. If you know someone that fits this age group, feel free to send them my information or shoot me a line with theirs. Find me at the Festival on Sunday!