April 14, 2024
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Gearing Up for Good Nights at  ‘Gnite

The school year is winding down, and summer programs are revving up their engines. Everyone looks forward to summer as a time to foster friendships, relax and enjoy meaningful experiences. For girls who are home during July and looking for an exciting way to spend some of their nights, a new program called ‘Gnite has sprung up and promises to be unique.

Sari Kopitnikoff and Shira Teichman—two charismatic educators who value meaningful programming, good fun and experiential education—strongly believe that all teens should have a great summer break regardless of where they are. They are therefore launching a small bi-weekly night program for teen girls ages 13-17 during July. Their program will create the perfect blend of a relaxed atmosphere and an environment that gets everyone involved. Sari and Shira are confident that “it will be an identity-building and friendship-forming experience.”

These two young women are close childhood friends and have a contagious energy about them. Both are also established in her respective career paths, leading wholesome lives surrounded by family and friends, and serving as budding role models in their communities.

During the school year, Shira teaches math at The Frisch School. For the past six summers, she’s been giving private swim instruction to children, in addition to working in camps in different capacities: She has served as a teen advisor on NCSY’s Michlelet in Israel; the Night Activity head at Chai Lifeline’s Camp Simcha; the director of a children’s day camp in Dallas, Texas; and a counselor for several years at Camp Sternberg. Shira values her experiences as a campgoer, and “is looking forward to providing a memorable summer experience to those at ‘Gnite which will propel them through the school year and beyond, like camp did for me.”

Sari teaches fifth and sixth grades at RYNJ, and her classroom is pulsing with hands-on lessons that encourage her students’ imagination and creativity. As an undergraduate student at Stern College, Sari completed a joint program with Fashion Institute of Technology, where she took classes in computer graphics and animation. While working towards her degree at Azrieli, she participated in the first cohort of Yeshiva University’s certificate program in Experiential Jewish Education. She loves to use her creativity and artwork to educate, entertain and inspire. Sari is well known for having a golden touch with formal and informal curriculum design, and is eager to bring her talent and passion to the summer scene.

While ‘Gnite is a new initiative, the co-directors have invested months of planning and coordinating before launching it. In fact, Sari ran a smaller pilot program two summers ago in Monsey, New York, and has been incorporating elements of that successful summer into ‘Gnite. Even as they are finalizing plans and details, Sari and Shira are also keeping certain aspects of the program open for customization per the needs and wants of the participants. Some evenings will involve input from the girls in advance, and will cater toward their requests. Sari says she is “looking forward to striking a balance between our roles as the girls’ friendly facilitators and program coordinators. It’s something that comes naturally to me as a teacher, and which I love to share informally outside of school.”

Registration has opened, and limited spots are available for ‘Gnite. (The early bird special discount ends on June 8.) Sari and Shira are hoping to develop a family feel within ‘Gnite and are looking to keep the program close-knit. To learn more about this exclusive summer program, check out the website gniteforgirls.com, and feel free to contact them with questions. It’s time to ignite those long summer nights.

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