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Take Me Out to the Impact Ball Game

Posted on 07/19/2015 @ 11:30 PM

"Today we all went to China Town in DC and to a Nationals Baseball game. Overall I had a great time hanging out with all the amazing friends I've made at Impact DC. It was really hot outside and I felt kind of gross but I know that I will remember this day for a long time. In the evening after everyone had washed off the copious amounts of sweat off their bodies, we all had a very nice dinner and circle time. Hanging out with my circle, Martha's Table is definitely a highlight of my day because every time we talk we all have meaningful conversations and become closer as a group. I don't think I've ever felt so close to a group of people and I feel extremely blessed to have this opportunity. Impact DC has definitely made an impact on my life and I hope I can make an impact with my remaining days."

-Nacia Goldberg, North Florida Region

"I had an awesome time today having free time with my Impact friends in DC. We walked around China town and went into cute little shops. We then went to a Nationals versus Dodgers baseball game, although I don't follow sports teams I had so much fun! I watched the game, caught some sun, and drank a ton of water. I'm excited for the upcoming days! I'm excited for lobby day; I can't wait to talk about homelessness on the legislative side, and preventing people from becoming homeless in addition to helping them once they become homeless. I am looking forward to our limud session tomorrow and engaging in great conversations. I love my Impact friends and can't wait to hang out with them outside of Impact. We are already starting to plan a reunion! :)"

-Emma Parish, Greater Jersey Hudson River Region

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Welcome to Kallah

Posted on 07/19/2015 @ 04:08 PM

Most BBYO programs are all about BBYO. Teens learn about how to be better leaders, how to recruit more members, how to run a chapter; pretty much everything that would come in handy in a BBYO high school career. Kallah is a totally different than any other BBYO program because it focuses all on Judaism and spirituality. Teens from all over the world came to B'nai B'rith Perlman Camp in Lake Como, Pennsylvania to learn about themselves and their Jewish beliefs.

On Tuesday, July 14, buses rolled in through the gates and Kallah officially began. The Kallah teens were greeted by their friends who were already at camp from ILTC, and there was excitement in the air as everyone caught up with old and new friends. The first night, we were introduced to the incredible coordinators Brittany and Jonah, the amazing Madrichim (a group of BBYO alumni and International staff), the educators from all over the world, and the leadership staff who makes sure everything runs smoothly. As we were introduced to the different activities offered to us, the excitement built up and we were ready to begin our spiritual journeys.

I have never been anywhere that has an atmosphere like the one here. I can tell that everyone is here to learn and have fun. I can tell that everyone feels relaxed and in his or her element. During meals, most tables are talking about the activities they participated in during the day and intense discussions that arose during different programs. There are debates everywhere over meaningful topics, and everyone here is strengthening their minds by the minute. In just a few days, we have already dug so deeply into our souls and learned so much, and the whole camp is anxious to discover what they will take home with them at the end of the summer.

Maddie Fleischmann, Southern Region: Atlanta Council

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The Impact of Shabbat

Posted on 07/18/2015 @ 11:40 PM

“The committees did a great job running Shabbat services; I was intrigued by how the Shabbat committees ran their services and programs. It was the best Shabbat I have experienced in a long time. I led an Impact talk on Domestic Violence and taught my peers about the rising issue. It was challenging to facilitate but I felt fulfilled with taking myself out of my comfort zone. It was the best Shabbat I’ve experienced in BBYO ever.”

–Zach Gaines, Gold Coast Region

“I found it very interesting that even though we are from different parts of the country, we have so many similarities in Jewish customs. Although we may sing to slightly different rhythms tonight at Havdallah we sang in harmony. Spending Shabbat with my new Impact best friends left me feeling rested and excited for the days to come. I only have a few days of Impact left and I can’t wait to make every day count. This is more of an opinion than a fact, but everyone is loving their time at Impact.”

-Emma Parish, Greater Jersey Hudson River Region; North

“Wow what an amazing experience it has been for me to be at Impact. When I signed up as a last minute plan I was anxious as what to expect. Well, now I 'm here choosing to write and tell you on day seven I feel so comfortable. From meeting everyone at the airport to team building activities I can be myself and call everyone here apart of my BBYO family.”

-Lauren Kreda, Great Midwest Region

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Looking Towards Shabbat

Posted on 07/17/2015 @ 07:00 PM

Hi! My name is Anna Fleisher from South Jersey Region #35. Today is only our first Shabbat at CLTC and I already feel so close with everyone. Working closely with my mock chapter has helped me with my leadership and teamwork skills. Having 67 teens travel from all different regions gives everyone an interesting perspective to the differences each region and chapter have. Each day, all of our leadership skills improve as we can bring what we learn back to our home chapters, and we can use them in the future for everyday purposes.

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Feeling Grateful Before Shabbat

Posted on 07/17/2015 @ 05:30 PM

Today was my birthday and I could not have asked for a better one. Today started off on a great note (for me at least) as my circle group was dorm of the day and was in charge of waking everyone up in the morning; which we did to the loud music of Macklemore. However, the highlight of my day was not the wake up activities or all the birthday wishes, it was seeing my 12 Pre-K children at my Bright Beginnings service sight which is a free day care for homeless children in DC. The second I walked into the room I was greeted with smiles and hugs which continued throughout the whole day. We had snack time, read books, played tag on the playground, and even took a nap. If you saw these beautiful kids interact and play, you would forget how these kids may not have a bed to sleep in tonight.

It isn’t until I step on the bus to go back to Hillel that I think about this, and it makes me appreciate every single privilege that I have been given throughout my now 17 years of existence. I am so lucky to have parents that can give me a bed to sleep in at night and 3 steady meals a day. The fact that these kids do not have those same privileges has kept me up late these past couple of nights. These happy, smiling, and innocent kids deserve much better. I doubt my preschoolers will remember me in 15 years, but I will definitely remember them.

-Drew Grossman, Great Midwest Region

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Making an Impact at Generation Progress National Summit

Posted on 07/17/2015 @ 12:00 AM

Today I learned the importance that my generation has to the United States and world politics. Through amazing speakers, I learned more than I could have ever in a class room setting. I learned about all different types of people and organizations. I began to feel a major connection with my fellow impacters, especially the girls that I went to the "It's On Us" program to end sexual assault with. When at this program, we discussed and listened to all different stories of people who have been affected by sexual assault . I became far more aware of the world around me, and the dangers that women face on college campuses everyday. Finally we got to close the day with an amazing and humbling speech given by Vice President Joe Biden.

-Julia Saltzman, The Ohio Northern Region

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Reflecting On Our Community

Posted on 07/16/2015 @ 11:00 PM

Hello everyone from Day 3 of CLTC, this is Spencer Fuhr from Evergreen Region, Cameron Diamond from Lonestar Region, and Tyler Dodd from Nassau Suffolk Region. At the beginning, everyone coming to CLTC does not know what to expect, though most people come to make friends. But we have found that people begin to establish who they are within the first few hours. The staff does a great job of preventing people from feeling isolated, by interacting with them and others at the baggage claim and throughout the program. We also noticed that our fellow participants started to come together and form friendships as early as the first hours together at the airport and during icebreakers. We thought a lot about why/how this happens, and the conclusion we came to is that we, as Jewish teens all relate with one another through the common interest of two things, BBYO and Judaism. Throughout our BBYO careers, we have learned how to branch out, meet new people, and be outgoing people. We think this is exceptionally rare for teens of this generation to branch out and meet new people with such ease. But the thing about BBYO is that we all share a common goal, and that goal is to reach self-realization. Fraternally submitted with undying love for Chazak AZA #115, CLTC 6 2015, and the Global Jewish community.

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Building Connections at CLTC 6

Posted on 07/16/2015 @ 12:31 AM

Hey y’all, it is day 2 of CLTC 6 and we are already having a blast. This is Nikki Goldin from Lonestar Region, Julia Keizler from New England Region, and Hannah Haine from Eastern Region, Virginia Council. Today our dorm is the “dorm of the day.” This means our mock chapter of 11 girls, which is also known as Yalla Osher BBG (“let’s go happiness”!) gets to choose a Jewish value theme for the day. Yalla Osher BBG chose the value of “Ahavat Ger.” This value addresses loving and talking to people all around you, including strangers. We enforced this today by encouraging others to find and talk to new people based off of similar characteristics. This proved to be incredibly beneficial to our fellow Alephs and BBGs. It feels great to know we might be the reason people have life long friends. We are already having a fantastic time here at CLTC, and we are anxiously awaiting these following days.

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Service Sites, Monuments, Memories- Oh My!

Posted on 07/16/2015 @ 12:00 AM

My name is Rachel Maltz, and I'm representing Pacific Western Region #44 (Los Angeles) at Impact: DC. Today, we had a day full of service and touring. After breakfast, we split into our group service assignments around the Washington DC area. My group headed to A Wider Circle, which is dedicated to providing families with donated furniture and other home supplies. This organization helps to make an impact in the city by only distributing new or gently used items, in order to maintain dignity for the recipients. After sorting donations, we had an Israeli dance program at the Hillel in University of Maryland.

Tonight, we took a tour of monuments in downtown DC. First, we watched the sun go down over the Jefferson Memorial. After the sun had set, we continued with a walking night tour. Standing at the foot of the Lincoln Memorial while overlooking the Washington Monument, we felt a sense of community as we took pictures with all of our friends. We walked together towards the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, which was the powerful end to our tour. Today was a fun day of giving back to the community, having fun, and appreciating all of the sights in this beautiful city. We are all excited to welcome in Shabbat soon, and to attend the Generation Progress Summit tomorrow.

-Rachel Maltz, Pacific Western Region

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Welcome to CLTC 6!

Posted on 07/15/2015 @ 12:00 AM

Welcome to CLTC 6 2015! We are your coordinators, Rebecca Lewis from Eastern Region and Colin Silverman from Great Midwest Region. We're so glad to say that everyone has arrived safely and we are all very excited for the upcoming 12 days. We spent the day getting to know each other and beginning to build our community.

The theme for CLTC this summer is "find yourself a teacher" whether that be staff, each other, or the two of us. For many participants, this is their first Summer Experience and we are eager to be a part of it and welcome them to BBYO on the International level. As everyone goes to bed tonight, we reflect on our first day together and prepare for the next 11 days of fun and learning.

Remember to continue to check the blog throughout the session for more posts from the participants!

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Finding Hope at the Holocaust Museum

Posted on 07/15/2015 @ 12:00 AM

“Today we visited the United Stated Holocaust Memorial Museum in downtown DC. The permanent exhibits that we visited stirred emotions inside and made me feel closer to my heritage. We also took a ride on the metro, which was fun, plus we heard from s speaker from the ADL who talked about anti-Semitism and civil rights.” -Jason Richman, Gold Coast Region

“Today was an intense day and it was quite clear by the looks on everyone’s faces that something changed about the group as we walked into the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. It was something I had not seen before; a new side of everyone. My favorite part of the day was the speaker from ADL because he spoke about topics that are very relevant and important to be up to date about.” -Margot Siegel, North Texas Oklahoma Region

“Today we went to the Holocaust Museum and even though I have already been, I was emotional towards the end. I feel that it’s important to learn as much as we can because we are the last generation that will ever hear from survivors. The metro is a fast paced area and it is always keeping me on my toes. I feel today I learned more about Judaism and myself.” -Jonas Berkowitch, Lonestar Region

“Today I visited the United Stated Holocaust Memorial Museum. It was a heavy trip and we all learned allot. I thought it was particularly upsetting that there were youth groups run by the Nazi party to get kids involved.” -Josh Berenzweig, Northern Region East

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McPherson Square Reflection

Posted on 07/13/2015 @ 11:55 PM

Stories are one of the most important things in my life. A story is what defines the difference between man and wild, and everyone has one. Everyone has a series of defining moments that explain all of their experiences, desires, and what defines them as a person, and homeless people are no exception.

Today, I did something that I’ve never done before in feeding homeless people in McPherson square. I’ve done the whole soup kitchen thing where you make food for people and you know that the food is going to a great place, but I’ve never experienced the exchange for myself. And it was fascinating. There was one person I met who has been here since he was five. He stays here because he has his family and his friends whom he loves, and he enjoys a lot of the simple pleasures in life that we, as people of means, also enjoy. He was talking about going to movies and listening to music and just hanging out with good friends, which are things that don’t always come to my mind as things a person who is homeless would do. And there was another guy, whose name was Jackson. He’s been living in DC for years and has a daughter and is falling on harder times because his bike got stolen. He didn’t just love the bike because it was his way of getting around, but he loved feeling the nice breeze while riding and wearing crazy socks because people would always ask and compliment about his socks while he was riding.

One of the most important things I’ve ever learned in my life is that people are people first and their situation after that. Everyone’s situation is a story, and those stories are what make us human. Whether you have means, are homeless, have mental issues, are of a different race, creed, religion, sexual orientation, or background from me; you are human. Homeless people often get the shortest end of the stick because so many people think that their homelessness is their identity. Homeless people are simply people who happen to be homeless; often because of one bad decision or one key moment in their own lives. Their stories are rich and fruitful; and deserve to be told on listening ears because people are people first and everything else second.

-Michael Blickstein, Great Midwest Region

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Lessons Learned at CLTC

Posted on 07/10/2015 @ 12:56 AM

“CLTC so far, to me, has been an experience of a lifetime. Each day has brought me closer to both my brother Alephs and sister BBG’s. I come from a less well-known region in the Grand Order, and I am the only one from my region here at CLTC 4. In the beginning, I was scared I wouldn’t make friends. Now, as we are close to the end of CLTC 4, I have made so many new friends from all over the nation, and my fear of not making any friends did not come true.

Fraternally submitted with undying love for my Mom, Dad, siblings, JFK #456, PWR #44, and the Grand Order of the Aleph Tzadik Aleph, I remain Aleph Liam Charles Cohen.”

“Leading my mock chapter these past 12 days has been an incredible experience and has taught me so many things about leadership. As we have worked diligently through challenges and accomplished many tasks together, Achim AZA has bonded in remarkable ways. Through our CLTC experiences, each of us has grown as leaders and has been prepared to make incredible improvements to our home BBYO and Jewish communities. I am so grateful for the opportunities I have had here at CLTC and can’t wait to return and do everything I can to make my own chapter even more prosperous.”

-Jonathan Schwartz, KIO Region

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Quotes from ILTC

Posted on 07/09/2015 @ 07:20 PM

"ILTC has been so meaningful to me because I'm surrounded by passionate teens who seek to help build BBYO in their home towns as I desire to, and because we're learning from experienced staff that give us the tools necessary to strengthen BBYO at home. Nowhere else would a Jewish teen be able to connect with so many international Jewish teens and talk about how diverse BBYO, Jewish life, and Jewish leadership are in our respective homes. I know that I've made lifelong friends that I'm thrilled to have shared this journey with." Zach Roston, Miami Region

"Here at ILTC, I've made so many new friends and learned so much. It's been the greatest two weeks of my life so far!" Trev Stein, Ohio Northern Region

"I've learned tons of new techniques on how to become a better and more impactful leader in my region. Also, it was great to listen to all the people that make a difference in the Jewish community all around the world on a daily basis. I highly recommend this summer program to all BBYO members." Zach Gaines, Gold Coast Region

"ILTC has given me the opportunity to connect with other Jewish teens from around the world." Brooke Barron, Southern Region, Atlanta Council

"I can't wait to take all of the amazing things I have learned at ILTC and bring it all back home to better my community in BBYO and in general." Jennie Jacobs, Northern Region East: Baltimore Council

"In the 18 days I have been at ILTC, I have been inspired by the incredible ideas of my peers, I have learned more than I thought was possible, I have made friends that will last a lifetime and I have found my home in BBYO." Jasmine Lubinsky, Central Region West

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Making a Change in the World

Posted on 07/09/2015 @ 01:38 AM

Our second day here at CLTC 5 was an incredibly busy one. The teens had leadership sessions in their chapter, rotation on how we celebrate Shabbat, learned about public speaking and explored what unique traits they each bring to the communities that they are a part of. These are some of the questions that the teens though today:

What does it mean to be a leader? What qualities of a leader to you embody?

In their leadership sessions with their mock chapters (they chose names, numbers, colors, and mascots for these today!) they explored the components of what it means to be a good leader. By building their ideal leader, the teens were able to put words to the qualities that make them stand out. Additionally, all members of the CLTC community sat in a session facilitated by our wonderful Assistant Site Director, Rachel Heilbronner, about the importance of each and every member in a group.

What do you stand up for? What do you stand up against?

This evening, Alexis Prager, BBG Coordinator, and Alex Merritt, AZA Coordinator, led a program introducing Stand Up, BBYO’s grassroots initiative that mobilizes teens to take part in service, advocacy and philanthropy for causes that they believe in. Each teen got to take either a red or green paper plate and write something that they stand up against (red plates) or stand up for (green plates). The teens went around in a circle and shared their causes – it was an incredibly powerful moment for our community. After the program, the teens went back to their chapters and had a conversation about shared values, while choosing a Stand Up cause for their mock chapters.

Between high-energy song sessions, snack breaks, tacos for dinner, and beautiful weather, CLTC 5 is off to an amazing start.

We can’t wait to see what tomorrow holds!

"It inspired me to be more active in my community and stand up for what I believe in and help others do the same." -Lexi Atler, Michigan Region

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CLTC 4 Goes to Israel

Posted on 07/07/2015 @ 02:00 AM

This afternoon, CLTC 4 “flew” to Israel to visit our Israeli counselor, Nofar and learn about her life. Earlier in the program, participants wrote letters to Israel as if Israel were a person. In “Nofchi’s house” volunteers shared their letters and a few offered to share them here on the blog.

“Dear Israel, I would love to come visit you soon! You’re so beautiful in every single way. I am honored that my people call you home. No matter where I go, you will always be a part of me. You will always be in my heart. I think about you sometimes. Swimming in your Dead Sea, seeing your Western Wall, and meeting your amazing people. Thank you for being a home to my people. Without you, we would be nothing. I hope that you always stay alive and well. I love you.” -Bekkah Lerman, Mountain Region

“Dear Israel, I know your life is a difficult one to life. You have many enemies, many threats, and many struggles. But do not let that get you down. The positive aspects of your life outweigh the negative. You have a bright and successful future. You have a rich culture and a passionate people. You have natural beauty and infinite wisdom. You are the future of this world. With love always, Ari.” -Ari Fischel, Northern Region East: DC Council

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First Shabbat at CLTC 4

Posted on 07/05/2015 @ 10:00 PM

Hi, this is Julia, Emily, and Ruthie from Chaverot BBG. This week, we kicked Shabbat off with dinner where we talked about what aspects of CLTC remind us of home. Afterwards, our chapter, Chaverot BBG, planned a powerful Shabbat service also surrounding the theme of home. Our Shabbat experience continued on Saturday with a morning service and electives, followed by an outdoor havdallah service. While our Fourth of July experience did not include fireworks, glow sticks were a part of the celebration.

Today, many of the teens chose to participate in Tzom Tammuz, a fast in remembrance of the breaching of the walls of Jerusalem, which led to the destruction of the Second Temple. In addition to this, we increased our skill set by attending sessions on how to be better leaders for certain board positions.

We can’t wait to see what else CLTC brings!

--Julia Kramer, Lonestar region; Emily Lawerence, Eastern Region; Ruthie Renberg, Northern Region East

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Homey Shabbat Atmosphere at CLTC 4

Posted on 07/03/2015 @ 07:00 PM

It’s Ari and Maddie here for your day 4 update. Shabbat is just around the corner and as the chapter responsible for setting the atmosphere--we chose the theme of home. We feel it’s the perfect theme for the first Shabbat, knowing that some of the participants might feel slight bouts of homesickness since it could be their first time away from home. However, Bethany College and all of the CLTC 4 staff and kids are quickly becoming a family and a home too. This morning, we asked participants to find an item at CLTC that reminded them of home--whether home was found in a person, place or thing on campus. We as BBGs have found a home in our mock chapter, Challah BBG, which is why we chose this name. Challah, just like us BBGs, has been braided together to create something special, united, and unique. We hope everyone enjoys their Shabbat, as we put much time and effort into its planning. “Home is the nicest word there is, ”--Laura Ingalls Wilder. P.S. 1, 2, 3, …CHALLAH!

-Ari Hagarty, Liberty Region and Maddie Horvitz, Northern Region East: DC Council

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Blueprint Reflection

Posted on 07/03/2015 @ 03:19 PM

Since I have arrived at ILTC, one of my favorite programs has been Blueprint. Blueprint is a 2-hour daily program where we meet with a group of participants and staff to learn about a variety of leadership techniques applicable to BBYO and the world. The wisdom and advice that the staff bring is effective, creative, and I can't wait to utilize it when I get back from. It is also extremely interesting to hear what works in other chapters and regions that can be adapted to improve my BBYO experience. For example, a friend of mine from NTO suggested me a brotherhood program that he thinks would work in my home region of Cotton States. The program incorporated aspects of Judaism and patriotism, two of the Seven Cardinal Principles, by showing our appreciation to America and Israel. These principles are key to building a family of successful Jewish brothers.

Blueprint is more than just a leadership class, it is a team that is working together towards a common goal. The common goal is to strengthen BBYO and build the Jewish leaders of the future. Everyone in our Blueprint group are friends and are constantly willing to help one another to reach our highest potential. Blueprint is a valuable asset to improving chapters and regions, building friendship, and enjoying a complete ILTC experience. I can't wait for the rest of the sessions.

Sam Canales, Cotton States Region #72

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CLTC 4 Updates

Posted on 07/02/2015 @ 10:00 PM

Hey, this is Gus and Jeremy from Atlanta and Washington DC, respectively. It’s been a busy couple of days here at Bethany College. We already held our mock chapter elections! Now, we are planning a powerful program for Shabbat that relates to appreciating freedom, and we hope that it conveys a powerful message to everyone here at CLTC 4. Even though it’s only been three days, everyone seems to keep getting closer and closer to one another. We are so excited for what the next ten days will bring us! We never want it to end!

-Gus Glasser, Southern Region & Jeremy Bloom, Northern Region East

“Today is day 3 (counting arrival day) and it feels like I have known these people for all of my life. I have met 87 new people and I am proud to call them my brothers and sisters for life. Already I can tell that CLTC will be the best 12 days of my life. Thank you all for letting me become your brother. #brothersandsistersforlife

-Jake Stofman, South Jersey Region

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