The Program to Develop Community Leadership of the Merhavim Community Center with the aid of Partnership 2000 emphasizes broadening the contribution of Merhavim veteran residents to the community, viewing them as a resource for personal and community growth. Yoela Michaeli coordinates this group in collaboration with community veterans Tobi Luciani and Mordechai Morad.
In the framework of the project, several teams, each of them responsible for a different area, were formed.
The documentation team intends to publish a book about the history of Merhavim. The idea of publishing a book arose from the basic need and desire to continue strengthening the bond between the veteran population and the youth, through the vehicle of connecting the younger generation to the original roots of the area through personal stories.
As part of this project, meetings of veteran residents were held at Nir Akiva and Kelachim during this past year at which personal stories, pictures, and other material relevant to the settlement history of the communities in this area were collected. These will be the principal materials for the book that will document the founding of the settlement, the "birth pangs" of absorption experienced by the new settlers, and their assimilation into moshav life. The accumulated material is in the final stages of composition and editing on its way to being published.
The outing and culture team put together a number of enrichment and leisure programs targeted to about 150 adults in the age range of 45 to 65. Their role included planning and implementation of a tour in Tel Aviv, a day trip to the Dead Sea and an excursion to the north in which the participants hiked along the wadi streams for three days. The team also organized a group excursion to the Habimah Theater's successful play "State Comptroller" in Tel Aviv, operated an advanced computer club, and held workshops and lectures on a variety of topics in which both local and out of town speakers participated.
This year for the first time, through the initiative of the Merhavim veteran residents, a national conference of community center seniors from the entire country was planned and organized. The conference was held in February, 2006, and two hundred community center seniors participated, creating a broad forum for a professional mutual exchange of ideas. The two day seminar's goal was to empower the seniors in their activities for their benefit and for the benefit of their communities by providing methodological tools to activate seniors at the community centers and train them to lead activities in the various community centers frameworks in which they volunteer. There is no doubt that this successful conference will pave the way for continued collaboration among the community center seniors from all parts of the country in the coming years as well.