Learning to Lead
Read this story in the Jewish Times
Little did I know that in Mukwonago, Wisc., 739 miles away from my home, I would learn valuable life lessons and make some of the best friends I have today. This past summer, I was able to attend a Chapter Leadership Training Conference (CLTC), which is one of the many summer programs that BBYO offers.
BBYO is a pluralistic Jewish youth group whose goal is to allow more Jewish teens to have more meaningful Jewish experiences. BBYO is a global movement that is present in more than 25 countries. In Baltimore, I am able to participate in activities with my chapter, Achot BBG #2383, and in activities with all of the teens in the Baltimore Council. On the larger scale, I am able to go to regional events with teens from Northern Virginia, Montgomery, Howard and Anne Arundel counties, Washington, D.C., and the Baltimore area. Even larger than that, there are opportunities to participate with BBYO International during the summer and with the International Convention in February.
I feel like I am the luckiest person to have been able to go to CLTC, which provided the most inclusive and welcoming environment I have ever had the privilege to be in. Meeting a new person was as simple as saying, “Hey, my name’s Rebecca. Want to be friends?” This simple act of not being afraid to introduce myself or even ask someone for help is what makes CLTC such a special place. I cannot think of a time during CLTC when I did not feel comfortable being myself, because the people around me were always so welcoming and kind.
The most rewarding part of CLTC was knowing that I gained the knowledge, resources and experiences to make an impact wherever I go. After CLTC — on a BBYO level — I now feel confident in my ability with simpler things such as leading chapter meetings and planning chapter programs and more complex tasks such as fundraising. CLTC also taught me skills that will help me in the real world. I learned new ways to work in groups and now feel very comfortable working with adults, all because of the skills I learned at CLTC.
Now, I have friends from all over the country. Who would have thought that a 15-year-old girl from Baltimore would have friends in 13 states and even some friends in Canada? There is not a day that passes that I do not talk to a CLTC friend. Catching up with them and remembering what an incredible experience we had together always warms my heart. I would recommend BBYO summer programs to anyone. No matter your interest, there is a summer program for you from which to learn and grow.
Rebecca Sereboff, a sophomore at Roland Park Country School, is president of Achot BBG in the BBYO Baltimore Council, She is also the 2014-15 summer program chairperson for the Baltimore Council. Registration for BBYO’s Summer Immersive opened on Nov. 6. To learn more about BBYO or any summer program, contact BBYO Baltimore Council Regional Director Danielle Hercenberg at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 410-559-3549.