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I am a: teen friend/alum parent other

Mud and Growth

Posted on 06/28/2013 @ 12:06 PM

All summer long we step outside our comfort zones. We live on someone else’s schedule. We remove ourselves from our own beds. Our skirts and dress pants give way to shorts and t-shirts. We leave our families and friends for weeks at a time, all in the name of advancing teen skills. We are left to wonder, is it all worth it?

The other day I read blog entries from just a couple of our programs that have already begun. In short order, I read about young members who have learned parliamentary procedures and been elected to mock chapter positions, teens who have designed and run their very first programs for their peers, teens who have been newly inducted into BBYO, and teens who have taken on the task of rebuilding a community devastated by natural disaster.

I have spent the last few days at ILTC, preparing for the teens to arrive, and surrounded by madrichim (counselors), most of whom went through BBYO’s summer programs as teens. I listen to them go on and on about the goals they have for the teens about to arrive at Perlman Camp, and I see the impact CLTC, ILTC, ILSI, and other programs had on them. These are bright, young, committed Jews, who celebrate their religion and seek out venues to continue to practice it in a way that feels meaningful to them. BBYO provided that opportunity when they were teens, and continues to do so now.

There are many times when I miss my bed, or my nice, big shower. And in those moments when I step in a puddle of mud while wearing flip flops, I long for the clean sidewalks of Chicago. But then I listen to an ILTC staff tell a story of their first Havdallah at Perlman and how they wish they could have that all year long, and I realize, a little mud is nothing compared to the impact of our programs, and I would take the tight showers any day in the hopes that it’s a trade for a positive teen experience that will last a lifetime.

This Shabbat message was created by Aleeza Lubin, DJE of the Midwest Hub, and Judaic Educator at ILTC

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