Follow the Leader

Based on the hit TV show 'Shark Tank,' campers compete in front of a panel of judges on behalf of different Israeli personalities and heroes. Note that this is the same program format as "Old vs. New, Which City is for You?" and "What Would Better Look Like."

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Campers will learn about Eliezer Ben-Yehuda, Theodor Herzl, Yitzhak Rabin and Golda Meir
Each of these Israeli figures played a very different role in Israel's history that continues to impact the country today
Many Israeli leaders have contributed to creating and strengthening the Jewish State and each of them have their own unique histories, talents, and personality traits


Stage 1: Setting the Stage -- The Trust Walk

  • Split the campers into pairs and ask one partner to close their eyes or put on a blindfold.
  • As a group, walk the pairs from one part of camp to another, bringing them over small obstacles to make it more challenging.
  • Tell the leaders that they will have to be very clear in their instructions to the follower to make sure they safely get from place to place.
  • After five minutes, ask the pairs to switch.
  • Follow-up Questions:
    • What was this experience like?
    • Was it harder being a follower or a leader?
    • What qualities do you want in a leader?
    • How does a leader gain your trust?
    • How do you know they are leading you in the right direction?
    • Ask the participants to name a few leaders who they really trust in their own community or even at camp, what are their greatest qualities?

Stage 2: The Campaign

  • Introduce the TV show Shark Tank:
    • Shark Tank is a hit ABC TV show that features a panel of five wealthy investors called "sharks" who consider offers from entrepreneurs seeking investors for their business. The entrepreneurs make pitches to the investors for their business or product to try to convince the wealthy investors to give them the funding they need to start their business idea.           
  • Explain to the campers that they are going to play Shark Tank, but instead of fighting for investment in a business or product, they are going to campaign for an Israeli leader whose accomplishments and path speaks to them.
  • Introduce four leaders to the group and split the campers into smaller groups based on which leader they want to campaign for:
    • Eliezer Ben Yehuda
    • Theodor Herzl
    • Yitzhak Rabin
    • Golda Meir
  • Each team should create a visual sign, as well as a 1-2 minute pitch or skit. All campers on the team should be involved in the creation of one of the pitches.
  • Key areas to consider:
    • What was your leader most known for?
    • What qualities makes this person a great leader?
    • Why wouldn’t Israel (or the larger Jewish world) be the same without this leader?
    • Why is it urgent to support this leader?

Stage 3: The Competition

  • Each group presents their leader to the larger group. Campers vote on the leader they like the best (they can't vote for their own).
  • Alternatively, you could have a panel of celebrity judges.
  • The campaigns could also be presented to the larger camp, or a portion of the camp. Posters can decorate the eating hall and campaign skits/pitches can be made after a meal.

Closing Discussion:

  • Go around the group and ask the campers to say one quality that they admire in one of the Israeli leaders that they learned about during this activity.
  • Ask: In what ways do you or can you exhibit this quality?


Variations in format

  • Campers could interview other campers, counselors, or shlichim to help prepare their presentation.
  • Campers could create news programs or commercials about their leader rather than short skits.

Variations in content

  • Different People:
    • Choose a completely different slate of people, and make it by theme:
      • Famous women in Israel (for instance: Golda Meir, Hannah Senesh, Rachel, Sara Aaronsohn, Naomi Shemer)
      • Famous Israeli musicians (for instance: Kobi Oz, Idan Raichel, David Broza, Naomi Shemer, Aviv Gefen)
      • Famous Israeli writers and poets (Rachel, Yehuda Amichai, Hayim Nahman Bialik, Etger Keret, Leah Goldberg)
      • Famous Israeli heroes (Yoni Netanyahu, Ilan Ramon, Eli Cohen, Hannah Senesh, Roi Klein)
      • Famous Israeli athletes (Tal Brody, Omri Casspi, Gal Friedman, Aulcie Perry)
    • Or mix and match from the list above!
  • Link to Leadership Development at Camp:
    • Begin with a different ice-breaker that enables the campers to think about leadership skills, particularly if the campers are involved in leadership activities at camp (CIT year, etc.)
    • Focus the campaigns on the person that best exemplifies our camp or the ethic of our camp.
  • For a version of this program using Israeli places, see Old vs. New, Which City is for You?.
  • For a version of this program using Israeli chairities, see What Would Better Look Like?.
  • You could also do this program for famous Israeli inventions. See for ideas on products the campers can campaign for.


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