Lauchpad-Australia-e1395663471947The first LaunchPad Retreat, bringing together 42 specially recruited participants for a three-day retreat, opens today in Mornington Peninsula, Victoria. The retreat – with participants from Victoria, New South Wales, ACT and Western Australia – is the first activity for LaunchPad, an initiative which will engage young Jews from across the country in leadership development programs.

The retreat will feature case-studies, skill workshops and high-level networking opportunities for young Jewish activists in their 20s and 30s. A third of the participants are professionals at Jewish community organizations, and two thirds include teachers, business-people, vocational professionals, volunteers and entrepreneurs.

Many participants chose to participate because they feel that the retreat is a unique opportunity to connect with other innovative young Jews.

“The LaunchPad Retreat will focus on the participants and what they can offer each other and the future of community life,” said Tracie Olcha, executive officer of the Australian Jewish Funders, and co-facilitator of the retreat. “We are gathering a diverse group of people – students, parents, global citizens – from a range of religious and cultural backgrounds across the country who all have a shared desire to engage in the challenges that face the Australian Jewish community, and find innovative ways to make change.

Elliot Costello, co-founder and CEO of YGAP, will be the keynote speaker and discuss his experiences of creating innovative and commercial social enterprises that seek to end poverty. Since 2012, YGAPs current “5cent campaign” has collected more than 3 million five cent coins, which it uses to support disadvantaged communities in Australia and around the world. YGAP is also rolling out a series of commercial social enterprises in Melbourne, including a café, photography studio, restaurant and children’s store.

LaunchPad was created following a highly successful one-day gathering in August, 2012 organised by the Melbourne-based Australian Jewish Funders (AJF) in partnership with ROI Community.

For more information visit www.launchpadoz.org.