"Shnat was one of those experiences where I think I didn't exactly understand what was happening until it had already happened... It was an amazing experience of learning about myself, about others, about the world, and about how all of those things interact with one another. I learned how to milk cows, communicate with people without sharing a common language... It was truly an experience of independence, of fun, of friendship and of growth."
-Jenny Isaacs (Canada)
Shnat is meant to fulfill a number of different goals:
First of all, Shnat, which means year in Hebrew, is a year of individual growth and exploration in which participants learn all sorts of life skills, things about themselves, and how to negotiate life with greater independence. That said, Shnat is also about participating in a collective, the Shnat Kvutza, and about being part of a movement forum. This means that the process of independence, individual growth and discovery is connected to and supported by the other members of the group and the madrichim (guides) of the kvutza.
Secondly, the program aims to put the participants in the position to be able to consciously make the choice about whether and how they want to continue in the movement. Alongside giving participants tools to be able to do well in the world in general,– fostering critical thought, learning about Israel, politics and Judaism, functioning in groups as well as taking care of oneself independently, Shnat provides the tools and a forum for exploring the next steps and potential paths for continuing to build one’s life consciously and within the framework of Hashomer Hatzair.