Over the last few years, NFTY Chicago has been working hard to make our middle school programming the best that it can be to ensure involvement and engagement for Jewish pre-teens in the entire Chicago area. In order to get into the minds of our participants, over the last few weeks a survey was sent out to middle schoolers and their families, with the goal of learning what our participants like, what they don’t like, how they learn, what they do, and who they are.
- Some things we were able to learn from this survey are:
- Most middle schoolers use Instagram and Snapchat.
- Lots of middle schoolers are engaged in sports outside of school, and enjoy physical activity.
- Visual learners make up for the majority of the age group.
- Netflix is a common favorite for spending time outside of school – video seems like an engaging tool for this age group.
- The majority of middle schoolers believe that stopping the epidemic of violence is the most important social issue to focus on.
- Middle schoolers generally feel that music is a necessary part of making services interesting.
- The majority of those surveyed claimed that the worst part of middle school is the heavy homework load.
- With regards to group discussions, middle schoolers overwhelmingly prefer small groups.
- There is an even split of participants who would enjoy meaningful vs fun programming.
So what can we take away from this data? We can start focusing our recruitment for events towards the social media that the target audience actually uses. We can use clips from participants’ favorite shows that relate to the program to get their interest and appeal to the visual learners. We can discuss topics they are interested in, such as violence prevention and the pressures of excessive homework. We can utilize more songleaders in the planning and running of services, to make sure that we are giving the participants what they want to see and hear during prayer. We can create activities that are physically engaging, and include a mix of fun and meaningful activities and programs.
Though this is a good start, it will only be the first of many of these kinds of surveys we will be conducting over the next few years to get a good scope of how our participants think in the macro-scale, long-term development of our NFTY678 Program. Using the data here, in addition to that which we collect in the future, we will be able to have NFTY678 events that will guarantee the participants’ involvement for years to come.
-Logan Zoot, NFTY Chicago Membership Vice President 2015-2016