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BBYOers Spend Weekend Honing Leadership Skills

Read this story in Jewish Community Voice 

South Jersey Region BBYO has always stressed leadership development as one of the most important parts of a prosperous region, and through its importance, SJR has thrived. SJR furthered and improved this leadership training by holding a weekend long regional leadership convention from October 10-12 at Camp Ockanickon in Medford. Known as the Regional Leadership Training Institute, or RLTI, this convention aims to teach leadership and promote creative idea generation to not only the young members, but to all members, through interactive programs and regional board and committee leadership. Three boys (Zach Garberman, Josh Chazin, and Jonah Barnett) and three girls (Bonnie Doogan, Amanda Hochberg, and Marlena Penn) were chosen as RLTI Committee members in May, and they played a very prevalent role over the course of four months in helping the regional board plan the successful weekend.

The weekend, which featured 80 participants, began with several fun icebreakers. These included games centered around a “Minute-to-Win-It” theme and constantly involved participants from each of the groups that had been formed. Following dinner, the boys and girls split into AZA and BBG Shabbat, respectively. Regional board and committee members helped run the meaningful Kabbalat Shabbat and Ma’ariv services, which focused on themes such as Israeli Lone Soldiers and women leaders in the IDF.

The next morning began with breakfast and Shabbat services and then business.The region chose juvenile diseases as its Stand Up cause. The region will focus community service, advocacy and philanthropy campaigns on juvenile diseases throughout the year. Globalization and recruitment programs rounded out the morning, giving the participants a taste of two very important aspects of BBYO and teaching them how to enact these aspects through their chapters and the region.

Following a short lunch, participants split into Shabbat electives, which were very successful. After an interactive, team building program, dinner was held as well as a memorable Havdallah, which included songs and s’mores. After that, boys and girls proceeded to split up for the most serious and meaningful program of the weekend, called Separates. AZA Separates were centered on the Holocaust and Jewish stereotypes, and BBG Separates were centered on the power of woman.

Sunday morning began with AZA and BBG regional meetings, following a short breakfast, and the convention concluded after a lively apache relay and a short “Good and Welfare,” through which participants shared how they felt about the convention and how great it was to be with their friends.

Through the cold and inclement weather and a few sudden programming changes, it was an unbelievably successful convention that all participants took a great amount from. SJR cannot wait for Winter Retreat from December 12 to December 14, which will hopefully be even better than RLTI 2014, one of SJR’s best conventions! .

Josh Chazin is South Jersey Region BBYO Vice Chairman.

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