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An Eventful Day At CLTC 6

Posted on 07/18/2014 @ 12:58 AM

Hi CLTC 6, Our names are Joanna (Ohio Northern Region), Monica (Eastern Region), and Anya (Eastern Region). These first few days of CLTC have been amazing! We have met so many new people so far and have expanded our BBYO knowledge. Elections for our mock chapters were held today. It was a great learning experience for me (Joanna) because it was my first time running for a position, and I loved the opportunity I had to try something new and take a risk. For all of us it was interesting to see the different ways other regions hold their elections. Another big event that happened today was the Israel Press Conference. Our International N’siah and Godol introduced the speakers as they updated us and 1,000 others on the situation happening in Israel involving Hamas. It was motivating to get a personal response from someone who had spent time with his family in Israel during this difficult time. We cannot wait to see what these next ten days hold for us and are excited for the rest of CLTC 6! Submitted with undying love for inter-regional friends, THE Amanda Freedman, Achayot Chazakot BBG #1436, CLTC 6... we forever remain Joanna, Monica, and Anya, damn proud BBGs.

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Impact DC Day 5!

Posted on 07/17/2014 @ 10:00 PM

Today started off with a later wake up time as all the participants got to sleep in an extra half hour. With the extra rest, we were very excited to visit the headquarters of the Human Rights Campaign, the National Coalition for the Homeless, and the Natural Resource Defense Council. Participants had a blast learning from the representatives of these organizations as they explained their purpose and how they could impact their communities. After a relaxed and long lunch, teens heard from Mandee Heinl, a lobbyist from the Baltimore Jewish Council, as she explained how her organization stands up for Israel in local and national legislation. Next, participants had the opportunity to hear from Oren Marmorstein, a representative from the Israeli embassy about the current situation in Israel. Teens from all around the world were on the call as BBYO hosted it in DC. The teens then discussed what they heard and learned from the call and shared their feelings and opinions with each other. Dinner commenced, and the daily advocacy session began followed by a fruitful circle. Laila Tov!

This blog post was written by Shea Fallick (Rocky Mountain Region)

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Teens visiting the National Coalition for the Homeless

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Kallah Is In Full Swing!

Posted on 07/17/2014 @ 11:44 AM

We are in our third full day of Kallah programming! On the opening night, coordinators Gary Levine and Tracey Katz opened the program introducing the Kallah theme: Prepare Me to Be a Sanctuary. As friends reunited from other summer experiences, teens spread out around camp and began exploring thought provoking Judaic questions. The program helped teens begin to identify where they stand in their Jewish beliefs, values, and thought.

In the morning, the Kallah community woke up early for daily Shacharit (morning prayer). Many teens, for the first time, are participating in a cycle of daily morning prayer. Following services, an educator panel was open so participants could learn about their different learning options. At Kallah, educators are teaching a wide array of topics including, but not limited to, G-d, the conflict in Israel, Jewish Debates, and Judaism/Spirituality in nature. Teens were also able to select Chugim, a series of specialized afternoon activities. The Kallah Chugim options offered by our specialists include culinary arts, photography, songwriting, Israeli dance, and more. Continuing with the variety of choices, in the afternoon, participants spread out with Educators and Madrichim to begin planning the evening programs that are offered at Kallah.

Yesterday, participants got their first taste of a normal day at Kallah by attending their Limmud (learning) sessions with their educators and their Chugim groups. Everyone is looking forward to building relationships with the Educators and Madrichim they have been assigned to. In the evening, the Hebrew Mamita, a famous Jewish slam poet, joined the Kallah community to address major Jewish teen issues like anti-semitism. Every dorm had the opportunity to break up and write their own poem and perform it to everyone at Kallah under our beautiful tree in the large quad. It was an inspiring night for everyone.

Stay tuned for more Kallah updates!

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First Full Day of CLTC 6

Posted on 07/17/2014 @ 12:37 AM

Hi, I’m Zeke Berger and I’m from Wilkes-Barre BBYO #53?? In Liberty Region #13 and before today I had no idea what to expect from CLTC. I came in with my doubts. Could it really be as great as everyone says it is? The first day was full of jitters and nervousness that came with meeting so many new people all at once, but the second day showed me why it can truly be the best twelve days of your life. I decided to sit with another region at breakfast today and was able to meet some amazing people. After breakfast we went to a leadership session with our respective mock chapters. Being from a chapter (at home) with both boys and girls in it, it was amazing to finally experience what it’s like to feel the fraternity that comes with being in an AZA chapter. The rest of the day after that I hung out with the guys from my chapter and by the time of our evening program everyone could see that we were the most enthusiastic chapter by far. I’m so excited for elections tomorrow so I can have a chance to be a leader in my chapter, and I can’t wait to see what the next ten days hold!

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Working Hard to Make a Difference

Posted on 07/16/2014 @ 10:00 PM

Today, we started off Impact DC with our Limmud (Jewish learning) sessions, where each group analyzed both secular and Jewish passages that revolved around the values of dignity and respect. We discussed how listening is the ultimate form of respect, and shared our past experiences of feeling respected and disrespected. After our Limmud session, everyone went to their assigned service group. My group travels to multiple sites and we went to the Capital Area Food Bank with another group. Once we arrived, we went into a giant room with a conveyor belt, where food was sorted and packaged into boxes. Being able to talk to the volunteers was particularly interesting. I met a man named Luke, who was volunteering with fellow coast guard friends.

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Jenny Park doing community service at Capital Area Food Bank

Later in the day, we learned Israeli dancing, which was definitely a highlight in my day! It was so fun and everyone seemed to love it and let loose. Next, we had broke up Into our states groups, where my group worked on our campaign about Israel, which is what we will be lobbying for next week in front of our Senator from Pennsylvania, Pat Toomey.

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Impact DC teens participating in Israeli dancing

After, we wound the night down with our circle group to reflect on our day. Lastly, some friends and I went to get Fro-Yo to top off the night (literally and figuratively!) It was the perfect way to end the night. I'm eager to continue volunteering around the DC area and feel I'm benefiting as a leader and advocate. The experiences here really open me up to the real world, and I've realized how lucky I am to be so fortunate. Volunteering is so rewarding for me and it's inspiring to know my friends and I are impacting others lives.

This blog post was written by Jenny Park (Keystone Mountain Region)

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So Long, Farewell!

Posted on 07/16/2014 @ 06:00 PM

Today was the day none of us were looking forward to at the beginning of IMPACT, the final full day of programming. Although it was the last full day, it was definitely a memorable one. We started the day with a learning session where we discussed homelessness, the stories that we had from our sites, and how we will bring it all home to our communities.

After the session, we moved into the presentation luncheon where each of the three groups presented what they did in their 5 days at their service sites. My site director, Michelle Mason, was able to join us for the luncheon. We presented a movie that we created for Montgomery Place. Michelle will actually be showing the movie at a presentation to her board tomorrow!

Following the presentations, we had a delicious falafel lunch, and everyone had more than enough food.

After we finished lunch, we made some awesome pez-uzahs that we will take home so we can remember IMPACT. If you are sitting there like what is this pez-uzah thing he is talking about, it is a mezuzah made out of a pez dispenser and inside we placed the six words that will help us remember IMPACT.

When we got back to our dorms, we had the pleasure of packing all of our loads of clothing. We then had free time where a large amount of people went and made some yummy challah with our Madrich, Jackson Block.

After our final dinner in the beloved cafeteria, we moved into a meaningful closing program where we were able to reflect, and talk about the friendships we made. Overall, this experience at IMPACT has been unique, and extremely meaningful. To be able to go into the community and meet the members of the community was inspiring and a great experience. Thank you IMPACT: Chicago!

Fraternally submitted with an undying love for, Athens of the South AZA #258, Cotton States Region #72, Impact:Chicago 2014, Rusty Smith, and the Grand Order of the Aleph Zadik Aleph and the 7 Cardinal Principles upon which it stands,

I will forever remain Aleph Samuel Albert Perlen Cotton States Region Nashville, TN

Weather for Thursday July 17th, 2014, courtesy of www.jakesweather.com: High of 75 with a low of 61. 10% chance of precipitation

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CLTC 6 Off to a Great Start

Posted on 07/16/2014 @ 12:52 AM

Hello from CLTC 6 in beautiful Bethany, West Virginia! Writing to y’all today is Micah Stalarow (AZA Coordinator) and Amanda Freedman (BBG Coordinator)! We are so excited for our first full day tomorrow. Having never been to CLTC before now (Micah), when I first saw the buses pull up, I almost lost my mind in excitement because this is a totally new adventure for me as well as the teen participants here. I (Amanda) was very nostalgic of my first day at CLTC two years ago, and remembered being one of those excited kids on the bus, ready for this 12-day journey. We’ve been working with a great staff team that is energetic, enthusiastic, as well as ready, willing, and eager to help in any way possible. Watching everyone come together during our first Flag Lowering, icebreakers, and Friendship Circle made us see the potential of the community we are going to become. We know that we will face our own respective challenges over the next 11 days, but we are determined to face them not as problems, but as opportunities for us and the teens around us to grow into better leaders. We cannot wait to see what is in store here at CLTC 6! -Micah and Amanda

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Never Again

Posted on 07/15/2014 @ 10:00 PM

Today we had a meaningful day at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. We started by listening to the stories of Holocaust survivor Louise Israels from Holland. 18-year-old Sam Charles of North Florida Region said, "I was deeply impacted by the shoes of the deceased Jews and weapon displays". 17-year-old Matthew Hall (Lonestar Region) felt that "it was a really touching museum that beautifully showed me the atrocity of World War II and the Holocaust". 16-year-old Zoe Van Slyke from North Florida Region says that, "after attending the March of the Living and touring the concentration camps, [the museum] was a flashback from what I saw… this was the best of what I've seen". Today we also had a program on the fast of 17 Tammuz, after our Limmud session, or text study. We had another advocacy session to learn more information about advocacy and lobbying. Can't wait for tomorrow!

This blog post was written by Jay Seline  (Norther Region East: DC Council) and Jake Cimbal (Gold Coast Region)

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More Lessons in Social Justice

Posted on 07/15/2014 @ 06:00 PM

Hey from IMPACT Chicago!

Sadly, today was our last day at our service sites. At my service site, KAM Gardens, we helped clean out the different plots of the garden that had not been tended to or had overgrown. We were able to see a direct impact when a neighborhood family joined us at their coinciding plot and we helped them clean out their area. I have learned a lot from this experience; from composting to food sustainability, and the organic side of growing in an urban environment.

After all of the shoveling and digging and raking, we headed back to campus for chofesh (break). Following, we went to the University of Chicago Hillel and participated in an eye opening activity and discussion about unequal socioeconomic status and income. We first split into our service groups and tried to build towers out of varying amounts of resources. We were unaware that each group had different supplies and quality of supplies. When wee came back together as a group, we talked about how limited resources can restrict different communities and created differences.

After our last experience group, we went to work on our group presentations. My group is doing a video showing our progress in the 2 different gardens we worked in over the 5 days at KAM. I'm so excited to show our presentation to the entire IMPACT: Chicago community tomorrow and to show the KAM director, Tal Rosen, what we did!

Jamie Kotler Northern Region East: DC Council Howard County, MD

Weather for Wednesday July 16th, 2014, courtesy of www.jakesweather.com: High of 62 with a low of 51. 0% chance of rain.

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Sign up for International Convention

Posted on 07/15/2014 @ 11:00 AM

I can't believe we have already been at CLTC for a week! It has truly flown by, but has been one of the best weeks of my life. I am getting really excited to see all of the chapter's ideas come to life as their fundraisers and programs begin. I can't wait for the rest of CLTC and for the participants to see what is in store. -Sari Misek (coordinator)

The first week of CLTCinco has been great experience for me. I have met some great people that I will be friends with for a long time. I hope that I will see all my friends in my hometown for International Convention. I love our coordinators because they really hard to make our experiences here great and try hard to make great programs. My friends in my chapter Red Aurbach AzA #414 are my closest friends here. -Josh Noormid Southern Region-Atlanta Council

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Our First Full Day of Impact!

Posted on 07/14/2014 @ 10:00 PM

Today was a great first full day at IMPACT: DC! Participants started the day with an inspiring speech from a person who was formerly homeless who talked about his struggles, success, and motivation. He started off with a little background before asking participants to outline his story through our own questions. We asked about his early life, from family to college, and ultimately how he became homeless and how he was able to overcome that. We learned he was so similar to us because he grew up in a supporting family and ended up going to college. He inspired us to look at homelessness from a different angle and consider the stories behind it.

After that, we went to MacPherson Square to learn from and interact with homeless people. We were encouraged to walk up to them and offer a listening ear, or a friendly smile. We interacted with a wide range of people, from those who wanted to talk about the government to pregnant women with no place to go. A few of us also went to CVS to purchase toothpaste, socks, and anything else we thought might be useful to hand out to the people we saw. It was both saddening and inspiring because we knew we could make their day a little brighter. In addition, we discovered a newspaper called Street Sense, which homeless people can buy for 50 cents and then redistribute for a recommended $2 donation. Many of us bought them and found they were very interesting.

We split up into our site groups – A Wider Circle, Capital Area Food Bank, and Arlington Food Assistance Center. At A Wider Circle, we learned that they pick up and distribute gently used furniture, dishes, and clothing. The average family who comes to pick anything up makes $12,000 or less annually and has 3 children and 1 parent. We helped move and clean the things that would later be distributed to families. At the food banks, we were assigned to specific food groups and pulled the assigned foods off of a conveyor belt. We learned a lot and are excited to keep going back!

Later, we split up into states for an advocacy program in which we explored different issues and political views of our states. We learned which senator, representative, or aide we will be lobbying to and decided our issues after much debate. We ended the night in our circle groups and discussed our days and how we were feeling before splitting up to go hang out at Chofesh.

We’re excited to explore our Jewish history during an impactful day tomorrow at the Holocaust Museum.

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This blog post was written by Rachel Brenner (North Texas Oklahoma Region), Aaron Dobres (Ohio Northern Region), Sophie Gershenwald (Lonestar Region), and Ilana Loory (North Florida Region)

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Topsy Turvy Type of Day!

Posted on 07/14/2014 @ 06:00 PM

Welcome to another edition of the IMPACT: Chicago 2014 blog! Today we went back to our service sites. At Montgomery Place we did a meet and greet, while hanging out with residents. We played a familiar BBYO ice breaker by passing a beach ball around that had questions on it. The residents of Montgomery Place were very active and enjoyed this game. We learned a lot about their backgrounds from asking these questions. We ended the morning by reading the residents the news and discussing major current events like Lebron leaving Miami for Cleveland, and Germany winning the Word Cup.

After we got back, we had lunch and chofesh (break). Following, we all gathered and went to see the Hazon Topsy Turvy Bus at the University of Chicago Hillel. The Topsy Turvy bus travels from Colorado to Connecticut for 6 weeks, and teaches people about environmental sustainability. We were joined for the program by teens from the Great Midwest Region of BBYO. We ran four rotations with the educators from Topsy Turvy. The first was a tour of the bus and an overview of how they live and how the bus functions. The second was making a smoothie from riding a bicycle! The blender sat on the back of the bike and the blades were powered by us pedaling. The third rotation was baking cookies in a solar oven. We learned about four different types of portable solar ovens. The last rotation was learning about how they acquire the vegetable oil to power the bus and how they convert it to be usable for their needs.

The last activity of the night was working on our group presentations. We are presenting on Wednesday to explain what each group’s service site does and thank the program coordinators for working with us.

Tomorrow is our last day at our service sites and we are all very sad that it will come to an end. More to come from IMPACT: Chicago!

Alex Hoffman Pacific Western Region Los Angeles, CA

Weather for Tuesday July 15th, 2014, courtesy of www.jakesweather.com: High of 70 with a low of 53. 30% chance of rain.

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A Letter From Your Coordinators

Posted on 07/14/2014 @ 05:00 PM

Dear CLTC 4,

We want to thank you for these past twelve days. CLTC truly was the best twelve days of our lives. We know it is a cliche saying, but there is no other way to describe this incredible program. CLTC was filled with leadership, laughter, and friendship that will last a lifetime. Seeing everyone grow into leaders and form into one strong community has been such a privilege. We can't wait to see what you being back to your chapters and regions. We hope everyone has a great rest of the summer and we know that CLTC 4 2014 will always have a special place in our hearts.

Love, Cole and Devo

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Planes, Trains, and Submarines!

Posted on 07/13/2014 @ 06:00 PM

Today was an exciting day at IMPACT: Chicago! After waking up, we headed to the Museum of Science and Industry. We were able to see awesome exhibits and artifacts. I was able to touch a real piece of the moon, while my friends were designing and creating their own toys. There was a large variety of activities and I learned so much. The Disney exhibit was especially interesting because it was a behind the scenes view of all my favorite movies.

Later in the evening, we finalized our grant allocation project by choosing the charities to donate to. The money each participant brought to donate has been graciously matched by the Jewish Federation of Chicago. We spent time learning about four different charities. We talked a lot about the pros and cons of each charity, and eventually decided to split the money between three. Those three include: the Uptown Café, a non-profit that gives meals to the hungry and homeless, the Response Center, a non-profit that provides counseling for teens with mental illness, and Namaste, a non-profit that provides children who are falling behind in literacy with tutoring sessions. Having the opportunity to learn about the different non-profits and evaluate them each carefully was really incredible. The experience was incredible, as every other experience I have had at IMPACT has been.

Sari Bircoll Southern Region: Atlanta Council Atlanta, GA

Weather report for Monday July 14th, courtesy of www.jakesweather.com: 50% chance of PM rain, high of 76 and low of 52

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Shavua Tov!

Posted on 07/12/2014 @ 05:00 PM

Today was a very meaningful day at IMPACT: Chicago. Everyone had a special Shabbat challenge posted on their door in the morning in order to add a unique experience to our one Shabbat together. For example my challenge was to where a kippah all day, and reflect on what it means.

After breakfast we had a beautiful youth planned and led Shabbat morning service, followed by fun color war activities such as Jell-O jousting and tug of war. We had an extended chofesh (break) in which I relaxed with my friends. After which we reconvened at Hillel for a debate on Latkes v. Hamentashin that replicated the University of Chicago’s same famous debate.

We then walked back to a very meaningful Havdallah. The part of the day that made the most impact on me was bonding with me my fellow Alephs during separates. I'm sure the BBGs had a very meaningful experience as well. At the end of the evening we all were officially inducted as IMPACT ambassadors.

Jacob Levy, Cotton States Region

Weather for Monday July 13th, courtesy of www.jakesweather.com: 40% chance of thunderstorms, high of 86 with a low of 62.

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We Are Shaking Things Up A Bit!

Posted on 07/11/2014 @ 05:00 PM

Today at IMPACT: Chicago we went through a philanthropy boot camp through JUF to learn everything there is to know about foundations, grant guidelines, and what’s behind allocating money. We started off at Millennium Park with a scavenger hunt where we had to match places in the park with the people and foundations that donated the money to create them. We learned that about $485 million went into the park and that a third of that money came from Jewish philanthropists.

After we left, we headed back to the JUF building to learn everything there is to know about the philanthropic process. We started off with a game of philanthropy based The Price is Right. Next, we discussed what it means to be a philanthropist and learned about the lingo that goes along with it. We also learned about the difference between a foundation and a non-profit, as well as the connection between empathy and and sympathy, philanthropy and tzedakah. For the final part of the philanthropy boot camp, we analyzed Jewish texts and then broke into groups based on which text resonated with each of us best. From that we created our own foundations with grant guidelines and then chose where we wanted to allocate our money. Overall, the boot camp was an amazing learning experience for all of us to be a part of and taught us many new things that we will bring home with us.

After a long and incredibly informative day with JUF, we went to Navy Pier to unwind and have some fun whether it was riding the Ferris wheel or shopping in the mall. There was something there for everyone to do and all of the participants had a blast. It was such an amazing end to a great day.

Jordyn Matez Gold Coast Region Boca Raton, FL

Weather for Friday July 11th, courtesy of Jacob Goodman from www.jakesweather.com Partly cloudy, high around 79 degrees and low around 67 degrees. Potential stray Evening shower

Saturday July 12th High around 83 degrees with a low of 68 degrees. 60-70% chance of Thunderstorms. Expect rain and clouds all day

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Week One and Done

Posted on 07/11/2014 @ 11:00 AM

It is the 7th day at CLTC 5 and our community has only grown closer. Each day we finish the night with a friendship circle. Singing "I won't give up" with 70 other international teens is the highlight of my day. I have made the closest friends hanging out in enos during chofesh. Just chilling out in the grass has brought us all so close. CLTC has already opened my eyes to see how vast and amazing this organization really is. I can't wait for the remaining 6 days. - Megan danz

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Shabbat Fun at CLTC

Posted on 07/11/2014 @ 11:00 AM

We are finally into the swing of things at CLTC. Our first shabbat together consisted of a variety of different programs and services. One chapter led a meditation program to demonstrate alternate ways to rest on shabbat. Havdallah was beautifully done culminating from a skit into a song session. After havdallah, the coordinators led cheer sessions which were filled with so much positive energy. After being here for only 5 days, it is spectacular to see so many people breaking out of their shells. The community here is strongly connected. - Written by Jake Nessel, Michigan "I look forward to learning more about the Godol position so I can bring ideas back home." -Matt Linder gjhrr "I look forward to learning how to be a strong board member here." -Evan Altman NFR

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10 Things at CLTC

Posted on 07/11/2014 @ 11:00 AM

Top 10 Things We've Been Doing at CLTC (so far): 1. Chapter meetings- every day we meet with our mock chapters to learn about leadership and programming. The kids in our chapters already feel like our brothers and sisters. 2. Learning the Birkat Hamazon 3. Attending really cool rotation programs with our groups. Our program teams are named after the Jonas Brothers. 4. Going to fun shacharit services in the morning and learning what all the prayers really mean. 5. Eating really good lasagna for dinner last night. 6. Planning a fundraiser, Shabbat service, and CLTC programs with our mock chapters. 7. Being the chapters of the day- we get to raise the flag and choose a theme for the day. Our theme was shalom beit (peace in the home), and we asked people to give compliments that weren't based on appearance. 8. Becoming best friends with our roommates. 9. Hanging out at chofesh (break time) with everyone at CLTC (sometimes in hammocks). 10. Friendship circle every night- everyone comes together as a group and sings. Our official CLTC song is, "I Won't Give Up," by Jason Mraz. The phrase, "CLTC is the best 12 days of your life," has only proved to be true so far. We can't wait to keep having fun for the next 9 days! By Emily Simens (NSR sababa BBG #2512) and Sammy Ginsberg (RMR N'Shama BBG #165)

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International Inductions at CLTC 4

Posted on 07/11/2014 @ 12:25 AM

Hi, I’m Rachel Maltz and I’m from Lilith BBG #324 in Pacific Western Region #44. At CLTC, I am a member of Yafot BBG #3463. This morning, we opened with a Shacharit (prayer service) with the theme of technology. Through creative skits and quotes, the teen leaders got across the message that to appreciate CLTC and life in general, we need to put our phones down and really participate. Today, we had fun electives like zumba and board games, followed by a recruitment program. This program was a great way for us to use our recruitment knowledge and get practice recruiting new members. After dinner, we had shira (song session), where every person was included in a sing along to our favorite songs. Tonight, we just finished our inductions into the International Order of B’nai B’rith Girls. This was an incredibly meaningful experience, because we bonded as a group and were able to reflect on the themes of sisterhood and inner beauty. These past few days have been life changing, and we are savoring our last two days in Bethany. Submitted with undying love for, Lilith BBG #324, Pacific Western Region #44, CLTC 4 2014 and the yaks of Yafot BBG, I remain Rachel Maltz- proud member of CLTC 4.

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