70 Local Teens Have Inspiring Experience at BBYO International Convention
Read this story in the Jewish Community Voice
BBYO’s International Convention comes once a year and a more exciting time in the BBYO calendar cannot be found. For the teens of South Jersey Region BBYO, the impact of International Convention could be felt immediately on the very first day, even the first hour. As the South Jersey Region Delegation congregated in Baltimore on the afternoon of Feb. 11, they could feel the anxiousness and excitement fill the room as they waited to start their amazing five-day experience. The impact of being in a room with over 2,500 Jewish teens hit them. There were people from Argentina, Ireland, Canada, Israel and multiple other countries, all who shared many of the same beliefs and virtues. The same thrills and joy were spread throughout the duration of IC, which ran from Feb. 11 to Feb. 15.
“IC was an amazing experience. There were so many eyeopening programs and guest speakers that were truly inspiring,” said Noah Wenger, a teen from BBYO SJR.
On Friday, they chose from over 30 different Leadership labs and were able to learn about how to be leaders against bullying, in global education, Israel advocacy, and even how to successfully run a business. Within these programs, teens had the opportunity to listen to people and leaders who had so much knowledge on these topics. These speakers fluctuated from war veterans to the president of the NAACP to sports stars.
One of the most amazing experiences there was celebrating Shabbat with over 2,500 Jewish teens. IC even broke the World Record for the most people celebrating Shabbat together! There was a variety of different services the teens could choose from, including a “Rock and Roll” service that was uplifting and fun. They then attended Oneg programs after the services, which were really cool and fun. It was definitely a Shabbat to remember. “IC has been the experience of a lifetime. I made amazing friends, went to beautiful programs, and I’ll never be able to forget it,” said Brielle Saunderson of South Jersey Region.
Then, on Saturday, teens had the opportunity to choose from a variety of Limmud (learning) sessions. Topics at these sessions included teen dating violence, Israeli dancing, relationship advice, and amazing stories from Holocaust survivors. These sessions and programs taught so much and left them with knowledge they would never forget.
“International Convention was fun and amazing. I got to meet some really great people and got to see [director] Casey Neistat speak!”—said Andrew Farber, a teen from New England Region BBYO.
On Sunday, the last day, teens were able to choose to stay in the hotel to elect the next international teen leaders of BBYO or to go out and experience the city of Baltimore.
After the fun daytime activities, it was time for the night everyone was waiting for: The concert. The anticipation was high as everyone piled in the center of the room for The Mowgli’s, Cash Cash, and Jason Derulo. It was an amazing ending to the perfect weekend in Baltimore.
“It was a great experience connecting with other Jewish teens from all different places. I met a bunch of people and learned a lot about my Jewish identity,” said SJR’s Gabby Moskalow.
It was so eye opening and amazing to be together with over 2,500 Jewish people the same age.