How to prepare the group
Use peer leadership to make sure they are not drunk and exhausted for the day if your visit.Ask the group to agree toegether out of respect for the Holocaust to refrain from drinking the night before your visit to Yad Vashem. Also ask that they agree what time they should go to sleep that night in order to be fully wide-eyed for the visit.
The night before run some kind of Holocaust education activity
This should serve the purpose of introducing the Holocaust as a subject and giving some basic history. Some groups have posed Holocaust dilemas to the group and asked them to discuss what they think the considerations and outcomes were. You could also post images, quotes and facts on the walls of a room and invite participants to write their responses next to each and then use this to discuss what we know and feel about the Holocaust.
It is important in this session that you allow the group to share their own personal connections to the Holocaust if they so desire. You can also make it clear to ther whole group that the Holocaust is a part of the history of all Jews. Former New York Mayor Ed Koch once told the Chief Rabbi of Israel that he was a Holocaust survivor even though he had never lived in Europe. He explained that Adolf Hitler wanted to kill all Jews, so he felt in a way he was also a survivor.
Encourage the group to ask questions
Sometimes people are embararssed to admit that they don't know so much about the Holocaust.Encourage them to ask questions at Yad Vashem and be actively invested in their own education.
Israel's national Holocaust Museum Yad Vashem is Israel's second most popular destination for visitors second only to the Western Wall. As Birthright staff members the responsibility will fall to you to prepare the group for this visit.
Why prepare the group
You may well have participants on your trip who are the grandchildren of victims or survivors of the Shoah and at the same time many will have no connection to this event at all. By preparing the group you can make sure that Yad Vashem has revelance for everyone and also set the right tone for your visit.