A New Year Means Infinite Possibilities for BBYO
This story was published in Heritage Florida Jewish News.
By Jayme Epstein Regional Director BBYO North Florida Region August 4, 2017
As summer begins to wrap up, BBYO North Florida Region is gearing up for its best year yet! Several teens from this region and the Central Florida community have recently returned from life changing experiences at BBYO Summer Programs. Some attended Chapter Leadership Training Conference in West Virginia and Wisconsin, while others attended International Leadership Training Conference at B’nai B’rith Perlman Camp in Lake Como, Pennsylvania. At these 12-to-19-day programs, teens learned about their Jewish identity, how to connect their Judaism into their daily lives, and how to be effective leaders in their varying communities.
Since returning from their respective programs, the teens have been hard at work planning chapter and regional events that incorporate the four core values of BBYO: Inclusion, Jewish Identity, Active Leadership, and Tradition. Inclusion: BBYO and North Florida Region take active strides to make sure that all Jewish teens regardless of background, denominational affiliation, disability, gender, sexual orientation and socio-economic status feel welcome and safe. This fall, BBYO is partnering with the Holocaust Memorial Resource and Education Center to create a teen-led anti-bullying program.
Jewish Identity: BBYO is committed to a pluralistic experience that encourages teens to find meaning in Judaism and develop their own Jewish identities. In October, there will be a brand-new convention experience for members—the Regional Jewish Enrichment Institute. At this convention, teens will have the opportunity to follow one of three tracks to allow them to further connect to and develop their identity.
Active Leadership: All AZA and BBG programming is teen led. This allows teens to develop leadership skills that cannot be learned in a book. “...[BBYO] prides itself on fun and meaningful teen-led programming, its responsibility to the global Jewish community, an unwavering commitment to the State of Israel, and its dedication to tikkun olam—repairing the world.”
Tradition: AZA and BBG have been active since 1924 and 1944 respectively. Over these 90+ years, BBYO has developed many traditions that are still carried out by teens today. The teens in North Florida are always establishing new traditions as a region, and it’s expected these new traditions will remain another 90 years.
The best representation of all four core values is at International Convention. This upcoming February over President’s Day weekend, North Florida Region has the honor of being the host region for IC 2018. IC will bring over 2,600 Jewish teens representing more than 30 countries from around the world to Orlando for a five-day convention where they will have the opportunity to learn from each other, staff, and the more than 500 game changers from the community that will come to speak. IC will provide a great deal of opportunities for community members to get involved with the Jewish teens in BBYO.