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Top 5 Things I’ve Learned in the First 24 Hours at ILTC

Posted on 06/27/2014 @ 06:09 PM

1. You wouldn’t believe the amount of program choices. Yesterday we all were able to request our top choices for Chugim (electives), and today we went to our first session of the one we were assigned to. I went to song writing, while my friends have been to creative writing, A capella, Rikkudim (Israeli dancing), Media, Hebrew, and more! Then we also got to choose a “How-To” session where we learned about a specific aspect of BBYO Leadership.

2. Everyone wants to be friends with everyone. it is almost impossible to walk from one place to another without making a new friend. Whether you connect through a mutual friend that they met on CLTC or the fact that you both do theater at home, there is something you have in common with everyone. Since we switch around groups so often, you get separated from the people you knew from before, which almost forces you to make friends!

3. You won’t only be friends with teens; you’ll be friends with staff too. The Madrichim (counselors) and staff members are here for the same reason—they love BBYO! They are so approachable and fun to be around that you can’t help but be best friends with them.

4. The food is pretty good. In the three meals we’ve had so far, I’ve been happy to eat all of them! From the fantastic vegetarian chicken nuggets to the grilled cheese dipped in tomato soup, every meal has been tasty and filling. Even I (a vegetarian), have been very content with the choices.

5. I can hardly wait for the next two and a half weeks. The best of ILTC has yet to come. I can hardly wait to learn more and grow as a leader in the 16 days to come. If my first 24 hours are any indication of the rest of ILTC, it will not be anything short of amazing.

Leah Sherin Great Midwest Region Korczak BBG #849

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Breaking Down Misconceptions at Charles River Center

Posted on 06/27/2014 @ 06:00 PM

When we first got our site assignments, I was upset, terrified, and I wanted to switch. And now, I would have rather done nothing else. At the Charles River Center we worked with people who had developmental disabilities. Notice how I wrote that "people with disabilities." This was the first thing we learned before we even went to Charles River Center; they are people first and the condition comes second. We made lists of words we should and shouldn't say when referring to people with disabilities. Apart from the R-Word, we said that words like psycho, crazy, and handicapped were all to be avoided. Somebody's probably wondering why handicapped isn't okay so I'll give a quick explanation. In the past, people with disabilities weren't given jobs and resorted to begging for money with a cap in their hand. Cap in hand. Handicapped. Yeah, it's messed up.

After we had an orientation meeting with a staff member, we went to where they took care of kids of ages 6-21. Each of these kids have qualities that made them unique. Not just the disabilities they live with but also their personalities. Some were verbal, some communicate using their hands, and one points at a letter chart with a stick taped on to her hat. Despite these challenges, they are all some of the most loving people I've ever met. The staff and the kids have a true connection that you can't always see but you can clearly feel. The staff communicate with some of the kids and interpret what they want or need. There are true friendships between the staff and the kids.

During our three days at the kids section, each of us made connections. Isaac and I became friends with an amazing girl. When we walked into the room the first day I saw E in her wheelchair drooling onto a cloth. I assumed she wasn't very present and couldn't really understand what was going on. I was so wrong. Later on that day, a staff member gave her a hat with a plastic stick taped on the front, then held a card in front of her. E started to point to letters by tilting her head slightly and touching each letter with the stick. This is when we learned E was completely aware and remembered everything. She remembered my name as well as Isaac's. She was funny, sassy and liked us both. This obviously caused a rivalry between Isaac and I over E's affection and each day we went in trying to have a good time and make her day a little bit better.

We also went to the adult work program. This is where my perspective on people with disabilities changed forever. Here I met a girl, T. On our first day in the work program, we got paired up with someone in the program and had to write our abilities and differences. T was incredible. She plays pretty much every sport including skateboarding and is full of energy. She's excited and really fun. We went to Charles River Center with the goal of making a connection with the people there. I feel like I did a little bit more. I made a friend. Whenever I see T she smiles and runs over to say hello. She is always so excited and so happy to see everybody and loves making friends.

When we first found out about our sites, I was scared I would say the wrong thing and offend someone. Now I realize that saying anything is enough. I don't worry about offending T. I talk to her like I do my friends because she is one. No, she isn't normal, she's better. T and everybody else at Charles River Center don't tell lies, they don't hide their emotions, they do what they want to and express their feelings and emotions regardless of the situation. This is humanity at it's best. They are enjoying life without social barriers. They aren't bound by the limitations of society and it's a beautiful thing to see someone be happy and truly appreciate being with people. When I go to Charles River Center I'm not afraid, instead I am awestruck at the joy these amazing people find in simple companionship. A smile means the world to them and so does a wave or a simple "hello." During discussion after the trip today, I think Samantha (Madricha) summed them up nicely: "They're perfect."

Ryan Wiessman, North Texas Oklahoma Region

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International Inductions At CLTC 2

Posted on 06/27/2014 @ 12:45 AM

Hi everyone, my name is Jessica Schwartz and I am a member of Beresheit BBG #2412 of the Ohio Northern Region #23. Tonight I was inducted into the International Order of the B’nai B’rith Girls!!! I can truly say that inductions have been by far my favorite part of CLTC! To start inductions we all made a line holding hands to walk into a historic Bethany building. As we walked into the building we were warmly welcomed by Amanda Gladstone and then continued to walk down and sit in front of a candle, red book and a crayon. After everyone was sitting we started and Amanda talked about how we are a ‘crayon box’ because each one of us is different and has our own unique qualities just like a box of crayons. The next part, which I found fun, was when each one of us dipped our hands into some paint that represented what we believed in; we then placed our handprint on a banner that said BBG. After everyone placed their handprint on the banner I felt that our community was brought even closer together. We also shared what is unique about us and we learned that everyone is different but we are all united by BBYO. We then got up and all walked together holding hands outside to the grass where we made a circle and all laid down to watch the sunset and share things we are grateful for about each other. We then finally got inducted into the International Order of the B’nai B’rith Girls and had an amazing cheer circle. I can’t wait to see what the next few days bring- the past 9 have been truly amazing!!

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CLTC 2 Continues

Posted on 06/26/2014 @ 12:58 AM

Hi! Our names our Hana and Daniel. Today marks our 8th day of CLTC, and it was one of the best so far. Dorm 2 was Dorm of the Day, and the theme throughout the day was to appreciate the kitchen staff. Without them, how would we ever have enough energy to last us through our busy days? We started off the day with Jason’s beautiful Shacharit service that our Jewish educator, Debra, helped him plan. We talked about how even though we are all small parts of a huge planet, it doesn’t mean that we can’t still make a difference from where we are right here. In addition, we discussed how we shouldn’t take the smaller things in life for granted. Jason did an awesome job leading the service. We then split up into our “things” and had another discussion about recruiting new members. The main focus of the discussion was getting over roadblocks in the recruiting process, with different strategies and ways to approach these roadblocks. We want to make sure that every teen has an equal chance to be a part of BBYO. Later in the day, we watched a short movie called “The Tribe,” which helped us understand that we should celebrate our differences, rather than fight over them. Later on, one of the chapters, Kolot Yafot (“Beautiful Voices”), dorm 3, lead a meaningful program on bullying, where some of them shared personal stories in which they were all victims of bullying. Everyone got a small amount of Play-doh, and we each carved out an insecurity of ours. We then mashed it up, symbolizing the first step of being happier and more confident in ourselves. Finally, to end our busy day we learned about IC, or International Convention, held in Atlanta, GA. We ate peach crumble and danced for hours, as we all bonded through music and fun. As usual, we had an intimate friendship circle at the end and went to bed. Leila Tov!!

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Jewish Vocational Services

Posted on 06/25/2014 @ 08:00 PM

For the past few days I have been doing community service at Jewish Vocational Services (JVS). JVS is an incredible organization that provides services to refugees. We are working with two English classes. At first, I was nervous that I would not be able to communicate with the refugees. I found out that I was completely wrong about that. As soon as I was partnered with Stacy* a woman from Ethiopia, we started having a great conversation. I learned that she speaks Amharit as well as some Arabic and Italian, and she taught me about how Eritrea broke apart from Ethiopia while she was living there. Stacy was very interesting and friendly.

What really amazes me about JVS is its devotion to helping the refugees become self-reliant in a new, strange country. The classes teach not only English, but also life skills and skills for the workplace. Refugees have only eight months from the time they land in American to get a job. Without the help of JVS, the refugees would probably have no idea what to do. I know I would be very scared and confused if I was alone in a country where I didn’t even speak the language. JVS really cares about helping the refugees succeed.

While incredibly impressed by the work of JVS, I’m even more amazed by the refugees themselves. Despite the confusion and vulnerability I imagine they are feeling, each of them is obviously very curious and eager to learn. They come to class wanting to know more so they can achieve success in this country. It’s really given me a new perspective on how to approach life. Although I am the one teaching them English, they are teaching me too. I can’t wait to continue volunteering with them.

By Rachel Brill, South Jersey Region

*Name changed to protect the identity of the JVS student.

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The Pleasant Surprises of Medicine Wheel

Posted on 06/25/2014 @ 07:00 PM

On the first day when we were divided into groups and informed about the site, we all developed our own unique ideas on what to expect. I personally envisioned an empty plot of land that we would be transforming into a public park. As the bus pulled into the parking lot on the first day of service, we all were mildly confused. The site was a forest-like environment with a small path winding through the trees. As we explored the path, we discovered several pieces of artwork and poetry that had been created by the people of Medicine Wheel. The pieces were three-dimensional and provoked strong emotions. The way that the beauty of the natural world's intersected with the individual art projects was astonishing.

The next surprise came about when meeting the man behind the magic, artist Michael Dowling. When Michael arrived to the area, which he nicknamed "No Man's Land," he began by giving a history of the site. Starting from Native American inhabitation, he described the progressive history of South Boston while orienting us about the people in the program. The way Michael spoke about the kids immediately caught my attention. He viewed the people of the program as "outspoken" teens that simply found misfortune in their lives. Michael has continuously shed wisdom upon all of us with his intriguing conceptual thoughts and questions. One thing that stood out in my mind was when he said something along the lines of "when a Caucasian gets addicted to a drug, they get sent to rehab. But when an African American gets addicted to a drug, they go to jail." This statement, along with numerous others by Michael, made me ponder societal trends that I have never considered before or thought to question.

The final surprise occurred when first encountering the teens in Medicine Wheel. Every teen that I met was incredible. Through conversing, I discovered that the teens managed to overcome many significant and difficult events in their lifetime, which made them strong emotionally as well as wise beyond their years. Conversation topics ranged from favorite movies to dreams of the future to the struggles of growing up. One specific connection I made was with a young man named Love. We immediately clicked when we discovered that we shared a passion for music. It was evident that these teenagers that we worked with were special. They are beginning to escape from the gangs, drugs, and violence that was predestined for them and are starting to live their own lives and have their own aspirations. Even in the first few days, it is clear that these teenagers will have a strong impact on our lives and perceptions.

Michael, Medicine Wheel, and now Impact Boston teens are working on "No Man's Land" in the hopes of inclusion of everyone no matter their socioeconomic condition, race, religion, and physical ability. Although the cleanup and preparation for the pavement of the path is a tedious process, the experience is extremely rewarding. No longer will this area in the community be a location of illegal actions such as substance consumption and violence, but rather an area where the community can gather to admire the art and hear the voices of these incredible teens.

Zachary Alter, Connecticut Valley Region

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CLTC 3, Day 2: Chapters are Formed

Posted on 06/25/2014 @ 02:15 PM

Today, at CLTC, the mock chapters started forming closer bonds of fraternity and sisterhood as they all chose their chapter names, numbers, and mascots. The AZA and BBG Educations Programs taught the teens about the history of their respective fraternity and sisterhood and the principles upon which they were founded. "My mock chapter, Nadar BBG, has bonded so much the past 2 days through learning about BBYO and leadership and becoming leaders together. Our sisterhood was strengthened when we had rap battles and dance offs." - Julia Saltzman, ONR "My favorite part of CLTC has been passing the friend barrier and truly becoming brothers and sister together in harmony" - Jonathan Ish-Shalom, Wisconsin Region "Although it's only been 1 day, everyone's already been so friendly and I feel like I've known them for years." - Erin Watton, Wisconsin Region

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CLTC 2 Explores Our Jewish Identity

Posted on 06/25/2014 @ 12:20 AM

Hi, our names are Vanessa Mandel and Leetal Pinko from KIO and NRE region. Throughout the day today there were different programs on exploring your Judaism. We did an educational and fun activity where we added beads to a bracelet that represented the different values and practices of Judaism. Just to name a few- culture, traditions, social action and more. By discussing with others we discovered that no bracelet was alike. Another similar program today that helped us express our Judaism was coloring Jewish stars with different colors that represented different practices and values. In addition we sat in a circle and each said an important value of Judaism that was important to us. Through these programs, we learned that everyone expresses Judaism in their own way, however it does not mean one is better than the other. Each one of us has different values and traditions that make us different. It was interesting learning about everyone’s different ways of practicing the same religion. Submitted with undying love for Ruach BBG #1814, CLTC 2 2014, and the amazing programs, we forever remain Vanessa Mandel and Leetal Pinko

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Inside Scoop on the New England Center for Homeless Veterans

Posted on 06/24/2014 @ 06:00 PM

Today at the New England Center for Homeless Veterans we started by helping to clear out a cluttered storage room full of supplies for the veterans. Some of the group went off and cleaned trash cans, other moved laptops, and two even moved a bed. We were really there for anything they needed. The cleaning, while hard work, ended up being fun and a great bonding experience for all the teens.

The feelings of the group seemed to be positive all around; even the people cleaning trash cans felt that they were doing a great thing once veterans personally came up to them and thanked them. Everyone was excited to complete the first day of real work at the New England Center for Homeless Veterans. Although the work was not direct, it really felt like we were making an impact. Personally, we couldn’t wait to get a chance to talk with the veterans about their experiences, which we did during lunch.

Everyone seemed to meet very different people and everyone got something different from each conversation. We spoke with a man who told us about his life outside of the army and the benefits and struggles he also had. He has lived with significant disabilities for thirty-six years, and has only recently filed for disability with the government. He directed us to another man who was a highly decorated colonel in Vietnam, Joseph. Joseph now has dementia, but luckily he still has a perfect recollection of his experience in Vietnam. One common thing we found in our group was that everyone was very passionate about wanting to help the veterans and bring what we are learning back home with us.

Ross Abrash (Eastern Region) and Jake Victor (Great Midwest Region)

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March Of The Living Program

Posted on 06/24/2014 @ 12:15 AM

Hi, I’m Andre Becker, an Aleph from Ramon AZA #195 from Central Region West in California. Today, our director Ellen led an absolutely fantastic program about the March of the Living which is a march taken from Auschwitz to the close-by death camp Birkenau. There have been a lot of really good quality programs, but this program was the best because of how many emotions accompanied it. We started the program by writing down the people we are closest to, then the things we have accomplished so far in our life, and finally our hopes and dreams for the future. We watched an emotional video about the march that makes me extremely proud to be Jewish. Then a brave BBG stood up along with some of our amazing staff and told us their emotional stories of their journey, then answered our questions about this amazing trip. Ellen did an absolutely fantastic job planning and leading this program and I definitely think I can lead an event back home based on this amazing program. From all of CLTC 2- thank you Ellen. And thank you to Josh, my advisor, for being absolutely fantastic this first week. Peace Out!

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IMPACT: Boston Day 2

Posted on 06/23/2014 @ 09:00 PM

Looking around the room this morning at breakfast, participants were still on a high from yesterday's excitement of arriving, meeting new people and making new friends. But once the buses returned from their service sites this afternoon, the atmosphere completely changed.

After lunch, everyone's energy was high, as the teens were active within their circle groups. Participants talked about what their experiences at their service sites were and engaged in team-building exercises. Going from activity to activity, I saw the excitement of each participant build as they soon discovered that what they would be doing at Impact would have an outlasting effect on their lives and the communities they're helping.

This is one of the most selfless groups of teenagers I've ever seen at a BBYO program, and I couldn't be prouder to work with such an inspiring group of people. Being in BBYO for four years, I've experienced the ups and downs of this incredible organization, but I was never able to experience the influence that IMPACT: Boston has on the participants.

After finishing my first year at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, I decided that I wanted to staff IMPACT: Boston to understand the incredible things that I've heard about this program. I couldn't be happier with the decision that I made to be a Madricha. I look forward to spending the next two weeks bonding with participants, doing volunteer work in Boston, and truly finding the meaning of giving back to one's community.

By Samantha Dorenfeld

IMPACT: Boston Madricha

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A Busy Day At CLTC 2

Posted on 06/23/2014 @ 12:12 AM

Hi! My name is Arielle Atkinson and I am from Joyce Eva Kiviat BBG #646 in Mountain Region #47. I am currently at CLTC 2 and having the time of my life! Today we learned all about BBYO leadership positions and how to be successful with your board position, it was so helpful and I have learned so much that I never knew before. It was really funny when after lunch, all the chapter S’ganim did jello jousting! After that, each of us went back to our chapters to plan programs and services. Chofesh was fun and was filled with Frisbee playing, bonding with my fellow BBG’s, and canteen of course! After dinner we had the most AMAZING program about Israel. We learned all about the voting parties and voting works in Israel. After that, we got Israeli money and went to different stations such as making chocolate balls, paddleboards, creative art, shuk, and painting! I also saw my first firefly today, and even caught a few. Overall, today was probably the best day of CLTC yet! I can’t wait to see what the upcoming week brings!

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CLTC 1 Final Reflections

Posted on 06/22/2014 @ 09:00 PM

CLTC 1 was absolutely a life changing experience for me. Not only did it help me get in touch with what it means to be Jewish, but it taught me life skills that I didn’t expect to learn, as well as meeting 90 new best friends along the way. – Jordyn Matez Cltc has changed my whole perception of BBYO and given me the confidence to bring my chapter back to its former glory. – Benji Honan Cltc was a place where I noticed that I meant something to people and that I was important. – Zoe Weinstein Cltc showed me that magic of bbyo and how these people are my sisters and brothers. I love how easy it is to be a friend at CLTC. - Alissa Geller Cltc was more than fun. It was a blast and an eye opening experience. –Ben Yaffe It was the perfect balance of fun and education. I love having best friends from all around the country but also being able to take all that I have learned back home. – Jimmy Sheinberg From cltc I experienced a sense of brotherhood that I never thought was possible. – Joey Seidler Inductions were very amazing and meaningful. I realized that we are the future of Judaism and I felt a lot of love in the room from every single BBG to every other BBG. – Dorothy Gheorghin CLTC was most memorable because of the friendships made over 12 short days- Allie Rubenstein, Southern Region CLTC left me with amazing friendships, memories, and leadership skills to take home with me that’ll last a lifetime- Ellie Bodker, Mid-America Region The friends I have met here are some of the best people I have ever met and I will never forget them- Ari Feldman, Eastern Region My time at CLTC has given me friends that I am closer with than the friends from back home that I have known for years- Caroline Colburn, North Florida Region CLTC was an amazing experience because I met so many new people from all over. Everyone was so welcoming and friendly. I feel like I have known these people forever, but it has actually only been 12 days- Izzy Schack, Mid-America Region During my time at CLTC, I was able to better my leadership skills and create friendships that will last forever- Rebekah Doochin, Cotton States Region CLTC was an amazing leadership opportunity. I learned how to work with other people/chapters. I am ready to take things on with my new skills- Cammy Resnick, North Texas Oklahoma The leadership aspect of CLTC was unforgettable. Getting the chance to run a mock chapter and to create meaningful programs in a controlled environment was amazing. I learned to do little things. Little things help make big things happen- Sam Canales, Cotton States Region My experience at CLTC was amazing. I made bonds with so many people that I can see lasting for a long time. I learned so much and am so happy I came- Hailey Safra, Gulf Coast Region I came into CLTC with two brothers from my chapter and I am leaving with 90 brother and sisters. I have learned not only about what leadership skills I had, but I gained many more skills than I thought were possible – Sam Hirsberg, Cotton States Region At CLTC, I loved being able to open up and be myself while created long lasting friendships. Also I loved getting two new perspectives on how to be a leader in BBYO and second in life – Emily , North Texas Oklahoma The program aspect of CLTC was something I know I will either take back to my chapter or region. I have learned how to come up with ideas by attending nightly programs – Sophie Golden, Gulf Coast Region CLTC was an inspirational experience that allowed me to open my eyes, find my Jewish identity, and make bonds that will last forever – Alyssa Brick, Southern Region Atlanta Council I loved all of the friends I made and I love that I am officially a member of the international order – Carly Lerner, Eastern North Carolina Council Despite having made so many friends and lasting memories, CLTC has taught me so many new things and opened up my mind to so many new ideas that I can bring back to my chapter and use to help others – Jacob Spiegel, Kentucky Indiana Ohio I made friends I’ll never forget and never lose my connection with this once in a lifetime experience – Joseph Mabry, Lonestar Region To me, CLTC not only connected me to my Judaism and helped me find my own unique leadership style but surrounded me with Jewish teens who all have the same passion for BBYO that I found in myself. CLTC connected me with Judaism, myself and my best friends – Nicci Mowszowski, Rocky Mountain Region My experience relied on the late night heart to hearts, the hugs and kisses of support, and my new friends who are new resources – Hadar Bernstein, North Texas Oklahoma Even though it was only less than two weeks, I have made friends here that I feel closer to than some of my chapter friends that I have known for over a year – Joe Ginsburgh, Rocky Mountain Region I had my expectations coming into CLTC but they were exceeded in a way I didn’t know possible. I learned skills that I can take home into my region, chapter, and in life in general. I made friends that I have gotten closer to in the past twelve days than friends I’ve known since preschool. It’s made me a better person, friend, leader and Jewish teen. CLTC had changed me for the better – Eliana Schuller, North Texas Oklahoma “What I liked included the people, counselors, programs, Sherries, canteen, the gym, chofesh, the bonding time and most of all being with everyone.” Tomer Downing, Lonestar Region “It’s incredible how many long lasting friendships can be created in a matter of days.” – Audrey Schimmel “ I always knew I wanted to go on March of the Living, but ever since we had the program about it, I know it is something I need to experience.” – Ilene Tuck” “CLTC didn’t just help me in BBYO, it helped me in life.” – Zach Morris “When down, stand up. When quiet, speak up. CLTC will make you unique.” - Nate Gendler “CLTC let me find who I am as a person and a leader. I made my best friends here and I’m so happy I’m here.” – Jaclyn Finkelstein “CLTC has given me a true understanding of how a leader sets examples and leads others. CLTC is so also apart of journey on strengthening and understanding my jewish identity. The friends I have made at CLTC will always be momre for me and will be life long friends.” – Elle Shaw At CLTC I’ve become a stronger leader and a better person. – Jenna Narosov CLTC may come to an end eventually, but the friendships and connections we make here are only the beginning of something phenominal. – Ira Weiss BBYO is a much needed break from my everyday life. Now I know why people call CLTC “the best 12 days of your life. – Dee Temples BBYO is my paradise that I never want to leave. – Talia Stein It was so amazing watching so many strangers become such good friends in such a short time. – Robin Du CLTC changed my life. It showed me the true power of the chapter and showed me how I could help my chapter become stronger. These 12 days could lead to 12 more happy years for my chapter at home. I will never forget this experience. – Dalia Dichter The most impactful thing of CLTC for me was not the amazing friends I gained or the skills I will be bringing home. It was the way I grew as a person with life values and the way I grew in my Judaism spirtually. – Ruthie Perlman “It was a great experience that I will never forget. These were truly the best 12 days of my life”- Zach Gaines, Gold Coast Region “I loved making long-lasting friendships, connections and memories with the most amazing people” -Sari Leven, Southern-ATL “CLTC has been amazing. I’ve gained so much and learned so much as well. I’ve become closer to everybody here than I have or will be with people. #CLTConeandonly They say that home is the place you long for when you’re away from it, but I don’t long for anything here because CLTC is my home” -Samantha Nuanes, Rocky Mountain Region “CLTC was such an amazing experience. Not only did it teach me how to be the best leader I can be, it taught me who I am and now I can unlock my leadership skills that CLTC taight me. What an incredible movement BBYO is that I can become best friends with people from around the country who I had never met before this experience.” -Emily Brothman “CLTC has given me the chance to find my inner leader and being able to strengthen my identity to better help my chapter and BBYO in general.”-Morgan Evans “CLTC has taught me how to be a leader, accept myself as who I am, and make friends with amazing sisters and brothers.” -Gal Crouvi, Cotton States Region “At CLTC, you meet this random stranger at an airport. 12 days later these strangers are going to be your best friends for the rest of your life.” -Ryan Yablonsky “Being N’siah of my mock chapter gave me the chance to work with amazing and incredible ideas.” -Naava Ellenberg, Central Region West “CLTC taught me to ‘Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken.’ (Oscar Wilde)” -David Gilfarb, Gold Coast Region CLTC has been amazing and life changing in a completely indescribable way. The friendship I have made will stay with me forever, and I know that my faith in Judaism is much stronger thanks to CLTC. -Vivian Herzog CLTC cannot be described in such few words. The friendships I made and the skills I learned are amazing. I cannot wait to make my chapter great. -Mollie Chaiken Being a leader isn’t about telling people what to do. It is about getting to know the people you are leading and being their strongest supporter. -Sabrina Suster Life go’s by fast. SO enjoy every moment of it. -Ryam Deustch It doesn’t feel like I have known everyone for 10 days but 10 years. -David Weisskopf I bonded with people more than I ever thought I could in only 12 days. -Micah Bachrach The friendships that I have made here will last forever. -Josh Getty CLTC cannot be described in one quote. It is 12 days that truly changed me as a leader, friend, BBG, and person. The memories, lessons, and friends I made will be chenshed forever. It was a blessing to have experienced this and I hope others have the opportunity to attend this life-changing program. -Jordan Wecksler CLTC allowed me to open up and make friends from all around the nation that I can truly trust. -Adi Levy CLTC has been the most memorable and meaning experience I have ever had. -Joel Pozin, Southern Region Atlanta Council. I’ve made so many new friends and I know they’ll be my friends forever. -Max Goldman The friends you make hare at CLTC are unlike any other friends you’ll make. How many people can say that they met their best friend and become like sisters with them within 12 days? I can. -Lindsay Goldring CLTC has given me life long friends and taught me to be myself around them -Jacob Bowytz Make the most out of every second because some day becomes today, and then today is gone. -Rebecca Holstein The only thing more fun than these past days of CLTC is watching One Tree Hill with my mom. -Clark Thompson The friendship is not existing because it is not a friendship it is a brotherhood. -Blake Cherry Opportunities like this only come once in a lifetime, and we have been lucky enough to experience these life-changing possibilities. -Grant Berlines I came to CLTC 1 all by myself not knowing anyone. 10 days later, and I’m already making plans to go visit in the winter. -Rachel Kramer Coming to CLTC has made me feel apart of a bigger community besides my chapter and my region. -Morgan Johnson NTO #74 CLTC has given me the leadership skills I need to go back home and improve my chapter. -Ethan Smyth CLTC has given me ideas and skills to take back to my chapter in RMR. -Claire Gladzahler CLTC has been a home away from home where I’ve met amazing friends, discovered what its like to be a leader, strengthened my Jewish identity, and been given the opportunity to be myself. It’s and incredible experience I’ll never forget. -Jamie Snell The stranger 10 days ago became best friends of a lifetime. I will never forget these incredible people. They changed and impacted my life. -Carly Clayman 12 days ago the people surrounding me at the airport strangers or just faces seen on a computer screen. 12 days after meeting these strangers I can now call them my best friends and BBYO family. These friends helped me grow not only as a leader but as a person. -Rose Levine At CLTC, I learned how to be a leader, grew as a person, made memories that I will treasure forever, found a home, and met people who will legitimately change the world. -Nicole Keenan, Jay Levine BBG #1508 CLTC gave me the opportunity to make friends that I know I will have forever. Although we may not live close to each other, our bonds will stay strong no matter what happens. -Emily Nomberg, Magic City BBG #186 The bonds I’ve made at CLTC are unbelievable, ‘ve made friends that will last a lifetime. -Sydney Glazier CLTC has helped me learn about leadership skills that I never thought I had. I can’t wait to get started helping to lead my chapter, and bring it to new heights. Thank you CLTC! -Boaz Kelner CLTC has given me leadership skills that will help strengthen and grow my incredible chapter at home. -Nadia Mowszowsui CTLC was my home away from home that I never want to leave -Jessie Cohn (KIO) CLTC 1 was literally the best thing possible for me. My confidence and self esteem has been raised to a new height I didn’t think possible a few weeks ago. Thanks for everything. -Elliott McVeigh.

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Welcome to IMPACT: Boston 2014!

Posted on 06/22/2014 @ 08:00 PM

We were beyond excited to welcome the participants to IMPACT: Boston today!

Each teen came excited to spend the next two weeks at Brandeis University and were anxious to begin making a difference in the Boston community.

After settling in and getting to know each other, participants heard from the Teen Coordinators to kick off the opening program, in which they were asked to describe why they do community service. After writing their initial reason, teens began thinking about this question more in depth. Teens will continue to develop their answers to this question throughout the program.

The room surged with energy as participants were given envelopes containing the service sites they would be attending throughout the program. Teens discovered the details of their service work as well as the other participants that would be joining them.

The IMPACT: Boston Director explained the importance of the program, giving additional meaning to the two weeks at Brandeis with the hopes that teens return to their home communities ready to continue the work started in Boston. Though the work we will complete over the next two weeks remains important and valuable, its crucial to remember the impact we can make when we return home.

We learned that participating in IMPACT is making an investment towards furthering activism and service among the participants in the future. One thought that truly stuck with me is the perspective we can gain from the people we are helping and working with at our sites. If teens leave the program ready to form relationships and make connections to people in their communities, then the program will have been successful. Something as simple as learning the name of your school janitor and starting a conversation can begin to change how we view out communities. The program is far more than just direct service; it gives us the opportunity to leave with a different perspective of the communities around us, of our home chapters and regions, and our role in bettering the world.

After such an engaging discussion on the importance of service, participants set a kavanah (intention) for the rest of the program. Everyone is eager to experience Day One at their service sites tomorrow!

After a meaningful first day, we can’t wait to see where this program goes in the next 11 days!

By Shea Northfield (Evergreen Region) and Cameron Smith (North Texas Oklahoma Region)

IMPACT: Boston 2014 Teen Coordinators

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CLTC 2 Shabbat Reflections

Posted on 06/22/2014 @ 12:40 AM

I have enjoyed every second of my CLTC experience so far. We have become a community in only 4ish days. I can say without a doubt I have made some best friends for life here. –Jared Steckl

Today during Shabbat we truly became a community. We all had a great time and saw what BBYO is truly about. –Sam Levinson

What has CLTC 2 2014 been so far? The best leadership training and motivation I have ever experienced? Yes. Standard BBYO-grade food? Yes. But most importantly, CLTC 2 2014 has been 4 and a half days of pure euphoria. From the Ramon-style Lai-Lai’s at meals to the countless accrued penance points that stretched into the wee hours of the morning to inside joke upon inside joke between Alephs, CLTC has been a blast. Although Simon Wiesenthal AZA #2524 will always be my true heart and home, I have astounded myself at how close I have become to my brother Alephs in Hamentashen AZA #8675309 (yes, it’s from the song). I’d like to give a huge shout out to Daniel “Scruffy” Maneloveg, Jason Joseph, Joe “Texas” Schwartzberg, Grey Silverman, Grant “Champion” Campion, Joey Garber, Nir Diskin, Amit Koppel, Jeremy Kopelman, Ethan Friedman, and Jared Shapiro for being such incredible, loving people. I’d also like to thank Rachel “Trees” Heilbronner, Deborah “Sprinkles” Fricano for being our chapter advisors/sanity checkers and simply amazing people. Thank you also to Stephen Brickman for dedicating hours to work with the rest of the musicians and me to create what will be a jaw-dropping friendship circle for the rest of CLTC. Last but certainly not least, I’d like to thank Ellen Goldstein for putting up with all 94 of us hysterical high schoolers. I’m missing you all back home, and I’ll have so many stories to tell you all. Always an Aleph, Never too many. Never too strong. -Dylan Moreland

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CLTC 2 Elects Chapter Leaders

Posted on 06/20/2014 @ 12:20 AM

Today at CLTC, our chapters held elections and chose our stand up cause. Elections for my chapter, Achdoat Kavod AZA, truly showed our attitude. We chose Project Smile as our Stand Up cause. We all agreed this is a worthwhile cause that we are proud to represent. -Aleph Jon Frank

Our second full day was filled with BBYO education and electing our mock chapter's board. But most of all, we made brand new friends from across North America. In our education block for AZA, we made freestyle raps about the seven cardinal principles and our history. During elections, it was awesome to see our mock chapter come together to pick our own leaders. Even though some people lost their elections, we all stepped up to help plan Havdallah for Saturday. I can't wait to see what is coming up next at CLTC. -I humbly remain a proud Aleph of mock chapter A.K. AZA #007 and a proud Aleph of David Ben Gurion AZA #2143, Tyler Palonsky

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I Want To Go On March Of The Living

Posted on 06/19/2014 @ 12:30 PM

The membership committee of Gesher AZA kicked off Wednesday morning by leading the entire CLTC body in a lesson about membership and recruitment. Boaz Kelner and Sam Hirsberg helped their committee facilitate mock-phone calls to prospective members and suggested various ways to bring more teens to BBYO meetings. Next, the participants rotated between different sessions, including a program about the exploration of Jewish identity, and another relating personality and leadership types to different colors. In the afternoon, chapters presented their programs and were given the opportunity to lead their peers. Achim AZA led a program centered around significant Jewish athletes in the world today. Zachary Gaines challenged participants in his discussion group to explore various role models and the importance of being proud of one's Judaism, even when in the spotlight. Following, Gesher AZA educated us about anti-semitism. Joel Pozin and Sam Canales took charge and helped their chapter facilitate an impactful program. The last chapter program of the day was led by Shemesh BBG. The girls had a mini color war and used modern day board games, reinvented to incorporate Israel, to bring the importance of Jewish heritage to CLTC. Jordan Wecksler and Rose Levine were stand outs and led Shemesh to success. Lastly, the night closed with a program about the March of the Living. It was truly a session that resonated with many of the teens, who heard stories about others who have been on the trip, watched a video, and reflected on the tragedies of the Holocaust. We are looking forward to another great day at Camp Beber tomorrow.

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CLTC 2 First Full Day

Posted on 06/19/2014 @ 11:40 AM

My name is Daniella Rabin and I am a member of Shoshana BBG #1613 in the Keystone Mountain Region of Pittsburgh, PA. I had no idea what to expect coming in to CLTC. All of my sister BBG’s in my home region had told me I absolutely have to do it so I thought, why not give it a try? I have nothing to lose. I am so thankful they told me to come because this has been the most amazing experience. I have made such amazing bonds, learned so much, and had an extremely fun time so far. I have already learned from the mock chapters, and the interactive programing relating to our heritage, beliefs, and jewish values. I definitely cannot forget about the countless amount of ice breakers guaranteeing I know every single thing about every individual here now. Earlier today in my mock chapter meeting, all of the girls had commented on how close, comfortable, confident, and happy we all feel around each other in only the 30 hours we have been here. One of my favorite things we have done so far was an all day activity where self confidence boosting and complimentary notes were passed through the individuals of our CLTC, really making everyone feel good and more comfortable here. I am looking forward to everything coming up especially elections and more programing. I also look forward to becoming closer with my sister BBG’s and Alephs to create memories I will most definitely never forget. I absolutely love it here and am taking in and cherishing every moment CLTC 2 2014 has to offer!

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Sunny Day at CLTC 1

Posted on 06/18/2014 @ 12:30 PM

Once again, a day with expected rain transformed into a sunny and hot one. After breakfast, Becka Handler, advisor, led a calming Yoga Shacharit which taught not only new physical positions but also a new interpretation of the prayers. Additionally, the teens had the opportunity to attend various communications skill builders before heading to lunch. Yet the hard work of some of the chapters was finally paid off after lunch when three chapter planned sessions were done. Emily Nomberg was a standout superstar in her chapter’s community service program where the teens wrote letters to cancer patients, both child and adult, and cancer survivors. It appeared as if the entire body got behind this cause and wrote letters with passion. Nechishot BBG executed their program about the effects of alcohol flawlessly, and their dedicated research and hard work paid off with a very well received message. Nativ BBG did a wonderful program about globalization, which is BBYO’s expansion around the world. During chofesh, frisbees flew once again, and the teens coordinated a “T-shirt Trading Area” where everyone could come and exchange BBYO attire. Taking advantage of free time and taking responsibility, Ryan Yablonsky voluntarily used his free time to work on chapter work. The theme of the night was Israeli learning. First, we made up a mock Knesset where multiple parties were assigned and asked to vote on a bill. But the hook was thay the parties had to form coalitions with other parties in order to pass or reject the bills. Jiji Plotka and Gal Crouvi really took charge of their groups in the program, where they explored both her Jewish and Israeli identity. Next, everyone headed to the gym to engage in Israeli culture, which included Israeli street art, beach games, food, bead making, bargaining in the shuk, etc. Sam Hirsburg proved his ability to dominate Israeli children’s games as he clearly dominated the game of Shalosh Makot which requires jumping over three sticks that are spanned over a long distance. The night ended with a long-lined game on limbo. Later that afternoon, mock chapters met to plan programs that will soon be presented to the entire CLTC body. After dinner, a "launch party" built excitement for International Convention 2015, to be held in Atlanta, Georgia this upcoming February. A night centered around International Convention exposed teens to this incredible opportunity that will allow them to continue other international BBYO experiences after CLTC. In the spirit of Atlanta, teens enjoyed coke and peach ice cream floats. Participants also jammed out on the dance floor and went on hay rides around camp. The entire night was high energy and exciting, and we hope to reunite CLTC 1 2014 at International Convention later this year.

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CLTC 2 Day One Is Done!

Posted on 06/18/2014 @ 12:30 AM

The participants have arrived and we have just finished our first day of programming! Teens started arriving around noon and the conversations were filled with excitement immediately. We are so excited to see all of the friendships that have already been made and that we are well on our way to becoming a strong CLTC community. After a long day of travel, teens got to know their surroundings by unpacking and taking a tour of the campus! They also got two opportunities to meet with their chapters which included picking chapter names, numbers, and mascots. In CLTC chapters, the teens plan programs, delve into leadership lessons, and get a hands on opportunity to handle real-life chapter scenarios. After dinner, CLTC was officially opened up and the teens got to know each other more by participating in fun ice breakers. At the end of the night, our CLTC community came together to reflect on our first day and to sing a song with the help of our talented song leader, Stephen Brickman, before heading off to bed. We are so excited for all of the great days to come and all the lessons and tools our teens will take home to their chapters to build our movement! Stay tuned for more updates and pictures throughout the session! Pictures can be found here on the blog and at www.facebook.com/BBYOInsider.

Your coordinators, Amanda and Jacob

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