From the Regional Staff
Shalom and welcome to the February edition of our monthly eNews.
Several exciting regional events are in the works:
- Laser Quest Lock-In (Sat. Mar. 24), a highly-anticipated annual tradition, will feature all-night laser tag, a live DJ, icebreakers, prizes, and refreshments. Space is limited to 70 teens. Click here to register.
- J-Serve Toronto (Sun. Apr. 22), a project of the global day of Jewish youth service, will bring together 500 Toronto-area teens for an afternoon of community service.
- Spring Regional Convention (May 18-20), where teens can hang out with friends and make new ones, wish farewell to the graduating seniors, elect next year's regional board and have a blast!
For a full list of upcoming regional events for the 2011-2012 program year, click here.
And of course, local chapters continue to meet every Wednesday from 6pm to 8pm, in Toronto at the Prosserman JCC (Room 1-23) and in Vaughan at Dufferin Clark Community Centre (Room 5).
If you have any questions about anything in this eNews or would just like to chat, please be in touch! We can most easily be reached at 416.398.2004 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kevin Goodman, Executive Director
Jessie Greenspan, Program Associate
Toronto-Area Teens Join 1,100+ Leaders from 13 Countries for International Convention in Atlanta
Benji Fages, 16 of Thornhill elected to International Board
Atlanta hosted more than 1,100 of the Jewish community’s brightest thinkers, strategists, philanthropists, and educators from 13 countries February 16 – 20 for the largest-ever International Convention (IC) of BBYO, the world’s leading pluralistic Jewish teen movement. For the past eight decades, this convention has served to unite the rising leaders of AZA and BBG, BBYO’s global cadre of teen members, to set the course for the coming year, determine strategies for strengthening BBYO as a youth-led movement and connect teens to the worldwide Jewish community.
Teen delegations in attendance represented Jewish communities in Argentina, Bulgaria, Canada, Curacao, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Latvia, Macedonia, Serbia, South Africa, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom and the United States.
In addition to nearly 900 teen leaders in attendance, 16 of which were from the Toronto area, the convention brought together BBYO professionals, Board of Directors and volunteer advisors that represent some of the most passionate, educated and committed leaders in the Jewish community today.
At the convention, Benji Fages, 16, a grade 11 student at TanenbaumCHAT, was elected to the 2012 – 2013 International Board of BBYO. As Grand Aleph Shaliach (VP Jewish Heritage), Benji will serve as a resource, advisor and sounding board for counterparts across the system, while specifically focusing on enhancing the Judaic content in programs in very community.
“I want to stress the importance of having a united global Jewish community,” said Benji. “The strength of the Jewish teen community is vast and by focusing on what beliefs and interests we share, we can take strides towards becoming more socially responsible while building our Jewish identity and love of Israel. BBYO has helped nurture within me a responsibility to assist in creating a united, socially responsible and Judaically connected future.”
With a convention theme entitled, “Our Tomorrow Starts Today,” participants set their focus on making an immediate difference in the world as representatives of a movement of more than 31,000 teens. The weekend was headlined by a Day of Service and Advocacy, in which teen participants dispersed throughout Atlanta to 18 service learning sites. One track included the first all teen-audience premiere and Q & A with the director of The Bully Project, a new feature-length documentary that follows "a year in the life" of America's bullying crisis.
Another track focused on pro-Israel advocacy was held at Emory University Hillel in partnership with AIPAC’s leadership development staff with guest speakers including the Vanguard Group, an all African American young professionals and graduate student pro-Israel advocacy network from Atlanta, members of AIPAC’s Board of Directors and congressional staff. Additional service sites included media and advocacy trainings at CNN and Fox News; an urban expansion study, discussion and clean-up hike with the Atlanta Beltline Project; development of Public Service Announcements at Vox Rox; the creation of a new panel for the AIDS Memorial Quilt through the Names Project, and more.
In addition to the Day of Service and Advocacy, IC 2012 highlights included the presentation of BBYO’s Alumni of the Year Awards to AJ Robinson of Atlanta and Judith Finer Freedman of Toronto; a keynote speech on the importance of global Jewish Peoplehood and interdependence delivered by Avraham Infeld, renowned Jewish scholar and President Emeritus of Hillel, the Foundation for Jewish Campus Life; an evening for participants to “Stand UP and Be Counted,” highlighting BBYO’s priorities through celebration of what the teen movement has accomplished and headlined by a musical performance by hip-hop artist Chiddy Bang; attendance by the JTA, the global news service of the Jewish people, with a session focused on using their news archives for an in-depth look at Jewish history; and A Day of Learning on Shabbat, with 25+ learning session and multiple services to choose from allowing teen participants to customize their own Jewish experience. Some Day of Learning topics include Jewish life on college campuses, what it means to be a “global Jew,” how to decipher what behaviors count as bullying, modern social justice movements with the National Council of Jewish Women, and how to plan programs rich in Jewish content for peer teen communities.
“The whole convention was an incredible experience. I loved the opportunity to meet hundreds of teens from all over the world, to be a part of my largest Havdalah and to elect next year’s international teen leaders,” said Meira Snitman, 15 of Thornhill. “It taught me about sisterhood, about leadership, friendship, Jewish values and so much more.”
Click here to learn more and read all of the exciting highlights of IC 2012!
8th Graders are Now Eligible for AZA and BBG Membership
Do you have an 8th grader in your life who wants to become involved with AZA and BBG? As of January 1, all current 8th graders are eligible for full AZA or BBG membership, including opportunities to attend conventions and chapter meetings. Membership is more affordable than ever before. Don't let teens miss out on the fun and meaningful opportunities that BBYO offers! Please spread the word and encourage families you know to register for a membership today!
BBYO Connect for Students in Grades 6-8
Next up for Grades 6-8, BBYO Connect presents Improv Purimpalooza, Sunday March 4th. For details, click here.
BBYO Connect is the BBYO experience made just for students in grades 6 to 8. At this crucial age, our programs bridge the gap between Bar/Bat Mitzvah and high school. We offer fun, meaningful and affordable experiences that will serve as a gateway to continued involvement in Jewish life.
With close to 50 kids at each event, BBYO Connect provides a positive experience where middle schoolers can get together with camp, school and synagogue friends as well as meet new friends from across the city.
Click here to browse the full 2011-2012 program calendar for grades 6-8.
Nudge a teen in your life! BBYO Connect aims to provide every middle school student with fun, meaningful and affordable experiences! Please click here to provide us with contact information of families who can benefit from BBYO Connect so we can notify them of opportunities.
Make it an Impactful and Affordable Summer!
Don't miss your last chance to register for a BBYO Summer Experience at a special early bird discount of $75. Early Bird ends February 29!
SUMMER OF IMPACT OFFERS SPECIAL DISCOUNTS AND SCHOLARSHIPS
This summer, BBYO has several scholarship opportunities for teens to learn about service at one of BBYO's four Summer of Impact programs taking place in Boston, Chicago, DC, and Israel. Each of these programs offers a unique understanding as to how you can be a leader and create change in your community. For more information on Summer of Impact, click here.
It is not too late for you to take advantage of one of our great discounts:
- Are you a JSU member? All JSU members can receive $100 off Impact: DC and Impact: Chicago - just like that!
- Have you attended a Panim el Panim seminar? If so, you can receive $100 off Impact: DC and Chicago.
- Do you know anyone who attended the University of Maryland or University of Chicago? If so, have them email Natalie at NSukienik@bbyo.org with a referral and you can receive $150 off either Impact: DC or Impact: Israel.
- Take advantage of BBYO Scholarships:
- All regions have scholarship money specifically for Impact: DC, Chicago and Boston -- just reply to this email and ask your regional staff!
- Participants of Impact: Israel can take advantage of the Milk and Honey Scholarship, with scholarships up to $2,000.
ALREADY SIGNED UP FOR CLTC? ADD A SUMMER OF IMPACT EXTENSION!
You can also get a taste of Impact programs at CLTC. Teens attending CLTC Sessions 1 and 6 can spend three extra days at Impact: Milwaukee (following Session 1) and Impact: Pittsburgh (following Session 2). At both of these extensions, you’ll have an intensive experience of service, advocacy, and Jewish values. You will do hands-on service, learn about different ways of having an impact on your community, and discuss how to apply your CLTC leadership skills back home. More information is available here.
We hope to see you this summer! For questions, please email Natalie at NSukienik@bbyo.org.
Stand UP in Washington, DC on March 25 - 28!
NEW PROGRAM: Special BBYO Panim el Panim Seminar for Stand UP leaders
Do you want to learn how to run a strong Stand UP campaign and sharpen your leadership skills while thinking about today’s current issues? All BBYO teens are invited to come to Washington, DC, to participate in the first ever Panim el Panim: Stand UP Seminar and return home as a leader ready to impact your community! The program features advocacy training on a wide range of current topics, a community service project and the opportunity to lobby your elected officials on Capitol Hill! The program will focus on all aspects of Stand UP, allowing seasoned participants to strengthen their existing skills and new participants to learn a solid foundation of the campaign!
Attend this seminar and receive a $100 discount towards your Summer of Impact Experience!
Click here to learn more about the Panim el Panim: Stand UP Seminar.