Bethesda teen chosen for BBYO membership role
This story was published in the Washington Jewish Week.
The post of BBYO international vice president for membership isn’t as glamorous as it sounds. But Allie Kalik of Bethesda says she’s happy to fill the role.
“I don’t get to travel a lot, but I do get to support other vice presidents of membership,” she says.
Allie, a junior at Walter Johnson High School, was elected to the post at the youth movement’s international convention last month in Dallas. BBYO operates in 42 countries. That’s a lot of vice presidents of membership to support. But even without much travel, Allie and her VPs can do their business in a way most suited to their generation — on screen.
“Technology plays a big role,” she says.
Allie says she’ll also be in charge of coordinating BBYO’s summer programs.
She joined BBYO in eighth grade. “I went through all the ranks,” she says — “chapter board, council board,” and learned from others as she went along.
“I spend a lot of time doing things with BBYO,” she says. “It’s been a huge part of my high school experience. Most of my best friends are in BBYO.”
With one year to go before graduation, she says that her involvement is a “perfect segue to Greek life” and Jewish community participation in college.
When she makes that transition, she can do it with an app. At the Dallas convention, BBYO unveiled what it calls a Jewish roommate finder, called Joomie.
“Sign up and find friends who went to Jewish summer camp, participated in youth group and traveled with you on a teen tour,” the Joomie app states.
Users enter vital data such as age, college, graduation year, gender and high school Jewish connections. Then the app asks a series of lifestyle questions: Are you an early bird or a night owl? Are you a neat or messy person? What do you like to do in your free time? Do you observe Shabbat?
Then, students can sit back and let the results come in.
With another year in high school, Allie says she hasn’t tried out Joomie. And she doesn’t know if she’ll need it to find a Jewish roommate “in a community where I’m surrounded by Jews.”
She can see the app benefiting a student at a small college where there are fewer Jews.
While they say that college is a time to meet people from different backgrounds rather than recreate the cocoon you left at home, Allie says that in college “you’re going to be out of your comfort zone anyway. An app like that just gives you an opportunity to choose.”