Leadership Training Conference Helps Build Skills, Create Friendships
Read this story in the Jewish Community Voice
Chapter Leadership Training Conference, more commonly know as CLTC, is a BBYO summer program aimed at teaching teens leadership skills to bring back to their home communities. It’s the best BBYO experience I’ve had yet, but let’s rewind.
Teens sign up for the 12-day program for many reasons, from making friends from all parts of the country to spending time away from home in the summer. However, CLTC is so much more than any of those things.
The thing about a trip is that it’s not always the place you go, but the people you are with. Day after day between programs and classroom sessions, during below-average meals and chofesh (free time), I got closer with the people who had been only strangers on the first day. Along with making friendships, I learned so much more than I expected.
The most I’ve learned at CLTC occurs at “skill builders.” Skill builder sessions included learning about the board positions you’re most interested in, led by staff with experience and success in that position. Learning from someone who has “been there and done that” is so beneficial to learning new skills, tricks, and solutions to any problems. Two particular skill builders I really enjoyed and learned from were the “Branding” and “BBYO Website” sessions. Giving your chapter a marketable image, and utilizing the sites BBYO has to offer are two things that I had never been exposed to before.
Besides the set CLTC curriculum, I learned a lot from other participants. Regions can have very different customs, such as having events twice a week, unique cheers, and even singing the “tradition” line from “Fiddler on the Roof” during the Menorah Pledge at the beginning of a meeting. BBYO is much bigger than just my own chapter and region, and I was fortunate enough to get insight to other BBYO cultures from around the country.
Planning our own program and service as a mock chapter during CLTC was also a great learning experience. When many leaders are put together in a group, a power struggle can emerge. As a group, we learned when to step forward and when to step back. We all had strengths and opinions, and eventually we learned we don’t have to give all of them, all the time. CLTC was very much about learning about oneself as a leader.
CLTC is a very special experience. Twelve days together with a group of almost 100 other teens bonded us all into a family. Skills I learned at CLTC are things I would not have learned elsewhere. I have skills to improve my chapter and be a leader in BBYO. Although anywhere from 20 to 2,000 miles may separate us, I have new friends who are only ever a call or text away. To top it all off, I learned about myself as a leader and a Jew. CLTC is truly a worthwhile experience. .