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Local teens attend BBYO International Convention in Atlanta

Read this story in Toledo Jewish News

By Morgan Segall

Over Presidents’ Day Weekend, I joined more than 3,300 of the Jewish community’s top teen leaders, educators, professionals and philanthropists from across the world in Atlanta for BBYO International Convention (IC) 2015. At the convention, we heard from and met inspiring speakers, deepened our leadership skills, immersed ourselves in and served the local community, celebrated Shabbat and learned together.

As part of the future Jewish generation, I must do my part in ensuring a secure and proud continuation of the Jewish community. It was so meaningful to be able to attend such a momentous event, because I learned more about life beyond the textbooks. First handedly meeting and speaking to Jewish figures who have made it big in the world and shared their secrets to success provided me with inspiration to go out and make sure my future is as a successful as theirs are.

Not only did we sit and learn, but the convention goers took part in a worldwide service project to further our involvement with “tikkun olam” (repairing the world). Starting off the convention on Wednesday, I attended a Jewish Enrichment Institute seminar that taught me how to speak up and have a voice in the world. I could have chosen from three different tracks, including an identify track, music track or improve track. I selected the music track, because I feel the best way to connect with one’s religion is through music and song leading.

Thursday, I attended opening ceremonies, where I was able to meet others my age from 18 different countries and speakers from across the globe who came to talk to us hoping to ignite a flame of passion into our minds.

Friday, I traveled to the headquarters of Coca Cola to learn about international globalization and marketing. Friday night was a moment I will never forget. I was able to celebrate Shabbat with 3,300 other Jewish people and experienced a piece of such a simple holiday from so many different perspectives. It was like Shabbat across the world all within one giant room.

Saturday, I chose to attend three different discussions on how to improve the world one person at a time. I sat alongside some of the most influential people in the world, learning that one person, no matter how small, can chose their own destiny and impact the world.

On Sunday, we elected the 71st international board of BBYO. Jewish teen leaders from every corner of the world would love to take on this task. Serving on BBYO’s international board provides one with the resources and influence to truly improve society and the Jewish teen movement.

To celebrate the completion the largest convention of Jewish teens to date, Sunday night we all attended a concert with Flo Rida performing as the special guest.

I cannot begin to explain how thankful I am to have been able to attend such an amazing conference. It was a life changing experience and it was an honor to go and attend with some of my best friends and another 38 teens from Ohio Northern Region’s finest members! I will take my newly learned skills and ignited passion to go out after graduation and truly make a difference in the world. One person can be impactful, but when you put 3,300 people together, it is revolutionary.

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