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Local BBYO delegation inspired at Lone Star State national convention

Read this story in the  Jewish Community Voice

A roomful of 2,000 passionate Jewish teens from around the world scream at the top of their lungs, excited about the five-day conference full of speakers, Judaism and good times. This is the opening ceremonies of BBYO’s annual International Convention in Dallas, TX.

Every year, teens from the different BBYO regions across the globe convene over Presidents Day Weekend in order to meet as one body, address the State of the Order and elect the new International Board. This year, South Jersey Region BBYO sent 48 participants to Dallas Feb. 13-17th Twenty different countries were represented, including teens from Bulgaria, Slovakia, United Kingdom, Ireland and Israel - all Jewish— and all in BBYO.

The convention kicked off Thursday night with Opening Ceremonies, which is also known as regional spirit night. At the end of the night, the most spirited region wins “The Spirit Cup.” Each region was decked in complete spirit wear, as was the South Jersey Region, proudly attired in red and black, as was their mascot, Sammy the Tomato. Although our home region did not win, our spirit and pride were better than ever.

Friday was BBYO’s Day of Service, which is an opportunity for every participant to make an impact in the local community and help make the world a better place. This year was no different. All 2,000 teens traveled to a football field outside of Dallas where one of the largest CPR training courses ever was conducted. Teens gathered in groups of six and practiced the proper hand techniques on a dummy. Afterwards, the entire delegation filmed a Public Service Announcement for the American Heart Association alongside MTV’s “The Buried Life.” Through IC’s Day of Service, more people were educated, trained and ready to help.

The rest of the weekend was filled with meaningful services, thought-provoking programs and many distinguished, inspiring and unique speakers. Among those who spoke to the IC body were Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Facebook Chief Operating Officer and BBG alum Sheryl Sandberg, founder and CEO Ben Rattray, former Starbucks Coffee President and AZA alum Howard Behar and Olympic Gold Medalist Dana Vollmer, just to name a few. International Convention provided teens the opportunity to experience and hear the stories of these influential individuals.

“International Convention let me connect with Jewish teens from across the world and gave me an incredible opportunity to feel part of the global Jewish community,” said Remi Dworkin, a junior at Eastern Regional High School.

The convention ended with a Southern-style dance, complete with a petting zoo, armadillo races, and an incredible concert featuring 3lau, American Authors, and B.O.B. Overall, it was an unforgettable five days; a weekend that we, members of South Jersey Region, will remember forever.

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