Young Amabassadors Logo

Highlights from the 2013 BMYA Program in Israel

Be a part of the 2014 Bob Malkin
Young Ambassadors Teen Leadership Program!

Each year, the Federation selects local high school students to participate in the prestigious Bob Malkin Young Ambassadors Teen Leadership Program (BMYA) and two week mission to Israel. This educational and spiritual journey allows teens to develop leadership skills, explore who they are as individuals and as a team, and learn first-hand the importance of Israel to Jews around the world. In addition to the highly subsidized trip, the program includes regular pre- and post- mission meetings, social events, and leadership training, during which the Young Ambassadors will develop their relationships with one another and with Israel, and become ambassadors in our community.

Included in program:
• Leadership training
• Heavily subsidized, all-inclusive mission to Israel
• Friday night/holiday dinners, social programs, and retreats throughout the year
• Training on Israeli history, culture, geography, demographics, advocacy, and personal connection to the land
• Free admission to many Federation events (Film Festival, concerts, teen events)
• Opportunities to network with leaders and professionals in the community
• BMYA alumni mentor and professional mentor of your choice
• Two BMYA t-shirts
• Professional letter of recommendation from Program Coordinator and Federation Executive Director (upon successful completion of program)
• Certificate of completion

To be eligible for this program, you must:
1) Identify as a Jewish person
2) Be a current sophomore or junior in high school
3) Be a resident of Sarasota or Manatee County for at least one year prior to applying

*As this is a Federation-sponsored program, Federation member families will be given priority in the selection process. “Membership” is indicated by a family contribution to the Federation’s current campaign.

To apply:
1) Fill out the online application (Button below)

2) Respond to the following topics on the application in 250 words or less per question. We recommend typing your answers into Word, then copy and paste into the respective answer field:
1. What makes you a leader? What leadership qualities would you bring to the Young Ambassadors Program?
2. What are your reasons for applying to this program and what you hope to gain from it?
3. Please describe your current connection to or feelings about Judaism and Israel.

3) Acquire two non-familial letters of recommendation. Submit to Amber Ikeman by email (, mail or drop-off (580 McIntosh Rd, Sarasota, FL 34232), or fax (941.378.2947).

4) Submit a copy of your most up-to-date official high school transcript. Submit to Amber Ikeman by email (, mail or drop-off (580 McIntosh Rd, Sarasota, FL 34232), or fax (941.378.2947).

5. Attend the applicant retreat at DaySpring Conference Center on Saturday, December 14th and Sunday, December 15th (all costs covered except for transportation).

6. Attend an interview at the Federation on Tuesday, December 17th between 3:00 PM – 5:00PM (interviews will be 15 minutes each).

Deadline is December 1st, 2013.

- All submissions will be reviewed by the Overseas Teen Travel Committee and Federation staff.
- A $1,000* non-refundable commitment deposit is required.
*No student will be denied this opportunity due to a lack of financial resources. Such situations will be addressed by the Financial Hardship Committee.

Requirements** for all BMYA teens:
1.    Attend all pre-trip meetings. Topics include Israeli history, culture, language, politics, people, current events, and leadership training.
Meeting dates:

• Saturday, December 14 – Sunday, December 15 – Retreat at DaySpring
• Tuesday, December 17 – Interviews
• Wednesday, January 15, 7:00 – 8:30 PM – Informational Meeting – Parents required to attend
• Sunday, February 2, 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM – Israel 101: Where are we going?
• Sunday, February 9 – 10:00 AM – 4:30 PM – Holocaust Education and Museum (St. Pete)
• Sunday, February 23, 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM – Leadership 101
• Sunday, March 2, 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM – Israeli demographics and minorities
• March 16 – 21 – Jewish Film Festival (participants required to attend at least one Israeli film of choice)
• Friday, March 21, 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM – Shabbat Dinner in the park – families welcome
• Sunday, April 13, 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM – Advocacy through Jewish Values
• Sunday, April 27, time TBA – Leadership Training/Community service project (location TBA)
• Saturday, May 10, 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM – Israeli-style Party (location TBA)
• Sunday, June 1, 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM – Final meeting – Parents required to attend
• Sunday, June 8, 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM – Farewell Brunch – Parents required to attend
• June 11 - 26: Mission to Israel!

2.    Attend all post-trip meetings:

• Sunday, June 29, 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM – Trip de-brief and connection to Israel
• Post-trip reflection essays due
• Friday, July 11, 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM – Shabbat dinner (location TBA)
• Sunday, July 27, 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM – Israel Advocacy
• Sunday, August 10 – Leadership training (Location TBA)

3.    Participate in the planning and execution of a BMYA community service project.
4.    Upon return, complete an evaluation of the BMYA program and write an essay (at least 500 words) about your experience as a Young Ambassador. Deadline: June 29, 2014
5.    Attend the reunion program (Date & Time TBA).
6.    Attend and/or volunteer for at least five Federation events throughout the year following the mission.
7.    Represent the Federation and/or the BMYA program at events throughout the year when called upon. These events include but are not limited to: speaking opportunities, educational programs, concerts, parlor meetings, JFSM Annual Meeting, Destination Israel, Young Ambassador Forum, new participant training sessions, and mentorship. You will be provided with a list of events, times and locations.
8.    One-on-one meeting with BMYA staff after the trip.

* $1,000 non-refundable commitment deposit is required by Sunday, January 15, 2014.

Note: No student will be denied this opportunity due to a lack of financial resources. Such situations will be addressed by Financial Hardship Committee.

Exceptions must be approved by the Project Coordinator, Amber Ikeman. Requests for exceptions must be made via email ( at least one week in advance. Verbal requests will not be approved. Reasons for approved absences include illness with doctor’s note, death in the family, emergencies, or any other situations at the discretion of the Project Coordinator.
If you feel that you are unable to meet these requirements, please reconsider your involvement with this program.

• 1 unexcused absence: Make up missed session   
• 2 unexcused absences: Make up missed session + $252   
• 3 unexcused absences: Dismissal from program and repayment  
of $4,000 subsidy            

• 1 unexcused absence: Make up session + $252  
• 2 unexcused absences: Dismissal from program; ineligible for any future
subsidies or scholarships from Federation; no letter of recommendation   
or certificate of completion.      

Participants who have unexcused absences will only be able to travel upon payment of these fees.

Parent Requirements:
The Bob Malkin Young Ambassadors Teen Leadership Program requires commitments from the Young Ambassador as well as his/her family. In order to receive the subsidized trip to Israel, valued at approximately $5,000, parents are required to fulfill the following program requirements:
1. Parents are required to meet one-on-one with Federation staff to discuss a financial contribution to the Federation’s unrestricted annual campaign.
a. NOTE: For families with demonstrated financial need, even low-level gifts are welcomed.
2. Parents will be required to volunteer for a minimum of 15 hours for Federation. This may include but is not limited to registration, set up, clean up, ushering, and other duties for Federation.
3. Parents will be required to attend the following pre-mission meetings:
a. Wednesday, January 15, 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM – Informational meeting
b. Sunday, June 1, 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM – Final informational meeting
c. Sunday, June 8, 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM – Farewell brunch
4. Parents will choose either one pre- or post-mission training session to co-sponsor. Parents will provide snacks and drinks for teens on this day. Estimated cost is $15 per session.


"... the trip of a lifetime."
READ: Experiences from past Ambassadors!


Questions? Contact Amber Ikeman at 941.343.2106.