The Austin Teen Distinguished Service Award

​The Austin Teen Distinguished Service Award


Each year The Austin Teen Distinguished Service Award will recognize two teens in the eleventh and twelfth grades who have provided leadership in strengthening the Beth El community.

Award support will be provided by Susan and Michael Austin for a total of $500 per year for three years.  After three years of the award program, Susan and Michael will consider whether to continue/expand their giving.

The Award:

  • Each year two prizes of $250 will be awarded, which recipients can use to further their interests. For example:

    • attendance in workshops or retreats, in BESTY or in other NFTY related activities
    • the purchase of books, equipment or supplies to support their interests or continue their initiatives
    • enrollment in Jewish learning programs such as YALA, Midrasha, Lehrhaus Judaica or Jewish college programs
  • Their name will be engraved on a permanent plaque
  • They will receive public recognition at both the Spring Annual Meeting and the end-of-year Teen Siyyum.

Selection Criteria:

There are many ways teens can demonstrate exceptional skills or initiatives that contribute to strengthening the Beth El community. Following are a few examples:
  • Exceptional teaching ability as a madrich or madricha in any of Beth El’s Youth And Family Education (YAFE) programs
  • Designing and/or leading teen initiatives and projects that address social justice issues (Tikkun Olam)
  • Sharing their talent in the performing, visual, and literary arts with the Beth El community. For example: creative art projects, musical initiatives such as song writing and performing, dance performances/programs, writing articles for The Builder, or through video production.
  • Providing ongoing leadership in religious services (leading services, delivering sermons, torah chanting, creating and leading the musical portion of a service).


  • Nominations can be submitted as follows:
    • Self Nominations: any 11th or 12th grader who is a member of Congregation Beth El can submit their name for consideration, accompanied by a short statement that describes how he/she/they meet(s) the award criteria.
    • Congregational Nominations: the Beth El community is invited to submit a nomination of any qualified 11th or 12th grader, accompanied by a brief statement of support that describes how he/she/they meet(s) the award criteria.AND/OR
    • Staff Nomination: Any Beth El staff member can nominate an 11th  or 12th grader by submitting their name along with brief statement of support that describes how the student meets the award criteria. 
  • Selection Committee: 

    • Senior Rabbi
    • Associate Rabbi
    • YAFE Director
    • Camp Kee Tov and Youth Director
    • Youth Advisor
    • Camp Kee Tov Administrator 
  • The Selection Committee is under no obligation to make an award every year. 
  • Procedures for Claiming Monetary Award: within 2 years of being recognized, the recipients may submit either a request for reimbursement to the Youth Director (accompanied by a receipt), or for a check to be made out to the sponsoring organization or agency (e.g., NFTY, Lehrhaus Judaica, Midrasha).