Brigade unveils big changes

By Robyn Rosen, August 13, 2009
JLGB president Lord Levy shows his basketball skills at the brigade camp

JLGB president Lord Levy shows his basketball skills at the brigade camp

The Jewish Lads’ and Girls’ Brigade has announced a major revamp of its activities to meet the changing demands of young people.

A JLGB Enterprise Award will replace the Proficiency Badge Scheme which has been a staple of the organisation’s work for over 30 years.

The new award, for 11-to-14-year-olds, is part of an overhaul of its programming and training infrastructure as the brigade prepares to enter its 115th anniversary year in 2010.

It will incorporate six sections, including citizenship, healthy living and Jewish identity, all endorsed by major Jewish institutions ranging from Norwood to the Board of Deputies.

JLGB chief executive Neil Martin said: “We have done a lot of work within the last few years to define our role within the Jewish and wider communities. We felt the old structure, while it served us well, needed to be relevant to the issues of today’s generation and what faces them now.”

The new scheme follows the structure of the government’s Every Child Matters agenda, setting out criteria to ensure children are safe, healthy and informed.

Whereas the old system offered six weeks of activities such as archery and dance, Mr Martin hopes the Enterprise Award will “help children to understand the bigger message and important life skills”.

It will be offered online and be integrated with the brigade’s National Open College Network-accredited leadership development programme, which Mr Martin believes helps to boost CVs and career options.

Around 750 members participate in the Proficiency Badge Scheme and Mr Martin hopes this figure will double for the new programme.

“JLGB is not old fashioned — it’s cutting edge,” he maintained. “The new scheme is changing the whole nature of everything we do. We have had to find a happy balance between the needs of the community and attracting young people to join.

“This way, the children will have fun activities, more responsibility and choice. It creates well-rounded individuals, which is what the brigade is all about.”

At Norwood, which is sponsoring the section for social and emotional well-being, chief executive Norma Brier said the award would “build an awareness of the needs of children from all backgrounds”.

Details of the changes were an-nounced during yesterday’s open day at the JLGB’s summer camp in Colchester, attended by 330 members.

Last updated: 11:16am, August 13 2009