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Members learn to work as a team in so many different ways

View this story in Jewish Community Voice

South Jersey Region held our annual RLTI convention for around 100 teens Oct. 9-11. RLTI stands for Regional Leadership Training Institute. This three-day convention aims to set the leadership tone for the BBYO year and to give members a skill set they can apply in everyday life past BBYO. Throughout the planning of RLTI 2015, it was prioritized to have this training done in the most fun and interactive way possible.

Planning began last May and was full force after that. The regional secretaries (or Mazkirim for BBYO) spearhead a committee of general members who shape the weekend’s theme and programming.

Zoe Arking, a sophomore from Chevrah BBG, reflected on her experience, “Being on committee was an eye opening experience. I’ve been on my chapter’s board for the past few terms and I have gotten to know the workload that can be. Working on the regional level made me appreciate the amount of work regional board members must put into BBYO on a weekly basis. Planning programs for the entire region is a lot different than for just a single chapter. After all of the hard work, I anxiously awaited RLTI weekend. I couldn’t wait to see how everyone reacted to the convention we had been working on for months. Everything turned out to be amazing, and being on committee made this convention particularly memorable.” Zoe and the rest of committee—Ally Machlis, Allana Beckman, Noah Wenger and Jared Gans were all incredibly invested in RLTI and played such a big part in its successful outcome.

The theme for the weekend was “It Starts with Us.” Throughout the planning, this message was worked into each program and activity. To amp things up a little bit we wanted to bring a non-BBYO speaker who could relay this theme in a different way. Carly Zimmerman of Challah for Hunger did just that. With Carly’s help, we were able to broaden the impact of the weekend.

Another standout activity was a large-scale active program with many stations all requiring teamwork in their own way. Groups had to complete brainteasers, puzzles, and a 13-legged race as a team. For the hour duration, each team went all over the camp completing their tasks. Each task was different, but no matter how easy or difficult they were, working together was the way to go. This program was a huge success; every teen had fun and learned a lot about teamwork at the same time. We value teamwork in BBYO in many different aspects and wanted all of our members to practice being a team player.

Some of our other programs were more directly related to our organization and being a leader in BBYO. We educated on some international initiatives, such as Globalization—effort to encourage global Jewish youth, and Stand Up for Israel—Israel advocacy, and summer programs that BBYO offers. For each of these, participants learned the basics and additionally how and why they should get involved with these initiatives. Lastly, we had workshops inspired by necessary skills for any BBYO teen, like public speaking, how to recruit new members, and program planning.

Despite differences in age or leadership experience, every teen had something to take away and apply.

On top of all the leadership, RLTI had all necessary components for a classic SJR convention— Shabbat services, havdallah with song session, BBYO traditional business meetings, recreation (sports for the boys and a paint war for the girls), and more. Overall, the weekend was another great RLTI for the books. If it is any indication of the conventions to come, this year is going to be a great one! .

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