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Morley Hoffman, Rady JCC President, with Gayle Waxman, Executive Director, and Eric Sawyer, Senior Vice President, receiving the two awards


By Rhonda J. Prepes, P. Eng, June 1, 2010

At the Jewish Community Centre Association  of  North America’s (JCCA) biennial meeting in Atlanta, Georgia May 2 - 5, 2010  the Rady JCC won two awards. The Rady JCC’s Strictly Teens and Tweens Program won the JCCA’s Excellence in Children’s Programming award, while the Rady JCC’ s after school children’s soccer program won an award for Achievement in Sports Programs.

“Being awarded these two awards by the JCCA is a real validation for us,” said Gayle Waxman, Rady JCC Executive Director.

 “We are trying to be innovative, leading edge, and serve the community. It is a good feeling when people outside the community are taking notice of what we are doing here.”

Waxman noted that the Strictly Teens and Tweens program is “one of the most successful programs” at the Rady Centre. 

It was the Rady Centre’s former president, Jeff Lieberman, who came up with the idea for the Strictly Teens and Tweens program. He believed there was a gap in programming for this age group in the community.

As Lieberman told the Winnipeg Jewish Review, “ My oldest son Josh had attended a couple of pre-teen dances at River Heights Community Centre and I had discussed with Gayle Waxman how much fun that he and his friends had.  Kids in grades 7 and 8 were busy with Bar/Bat Mitzvah parties but I was certain that children in grades 5 and 6 wouId love to go to a fun evening that was produced specifically for them.  I said to Gayle that the Rady JCC could offer the same type of dances and because of our excellent facilities, we could take it up a notch or two.  The creative Rady staff took the concept and came up with a fantastic evening for grade 5 and 6 kids…”

Now, on a Saturday night once a month, children in Grades 5 and 6 gather at the Rady JCC to participate in activities designed just for them. The Strictly Teens and Tweens program includes a variety of social, recreational, wellness and cultural activities. Participants have access to the Rady JCC’s state-of-the-art facilities, equipment and programs, the new XRKade™ interactive gaming zone, gym and swimming pool, and wall climbing facilities. The program also offers social activities like movies, game nights, karaoke, scavenger hunts, art sessions, ice cream bars and sports competitions. All the events are supervised and focus on active living and Jewish culture and community. So far, 10 different programs have taken place between September and June, with as many as 90 kids participating. The cost for the program is $8 for Rady members and $10 for non members. The Rady JCC’s Strictly Teens and Tweens Program is supported by the Jewish Foundation of Manitoba.

Lieberman said he was  very  excited to hear that  the Rady JCC had won a JCC  award for the  Teens and Tweens Program.

“ While I had the original idea, Gayle and her wonderful staff have taken the idea and made it a fantastic programme that I am certain JCC’s in other cities will now also offer…”

.As for its award winning after school soccer program, the Rady Centre offers three sessions of this activity for three different age groups (4–5 years, 6-8 years, and 9-13 years). Each year about 150 kids participate in the program.

The Jewish Community Centre Association of North America’s (JCCA) is the continental umbrella organization for the Jewish Community Center Movement, which includes more than 350 JCC’s, YM-YWHAs, and camp sites in the U.S. and Canada. 

The JCCA offers a wide range of services and resources to help its affiliates provide educational, cultural, social, recreational, and Jewish identity programs for people of all ages and backgrounds. The Rady is one of nine JCC’s in Canada that belongs to the JCCA.

Rhonda Prepes is an engineer, educator, mother, and writer in Winnipeg.

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