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South Jersey Region's Chapter Starts the Year on a High Note

Read this story in The Jewish Community Voice

During the first two weekends of September, the chapters in South Jersey Region BBYO all held their chapter kickoffs – a time for chapter members to reunite after the summer and “kick off” the year. Kickoff is a fantastic time for chapters to invite new teens (typically underclassmen) into BBYO and set a strong tone for the year. The reception for the various events was extremely positive, making it clear that everyone is more than excited for a fantastic year with their brother Alephs and sister B’nai B’rith Girls.

Woodcrest AZA and Otzma AZA held their kickoffs first among the men of South Jersey Region. Woodcrest’s kickoff was held on the Voorhees Middle School fields, where almost 50 members and over 20 prospective members engaged in an icebreaker and then split off into teams to play football, handball, kickball, and dodgeball. Otzma AZA held their kickoff at a member’s house for a kosher barbecue, which included tailgate games. When it began to rain, the 30 or so members in attendance adapted swiftly and went inside to play mini hockey. Our final AZA chapter, Marlcrest, had 29 members present and kicked off their year at the Funplex in Mt. Laurel, and concluded with an intense mock debate about the Arab-Israeli conflict at their president’s house afterward.

South Jersey’s two BBYO (coed) chapters both had their kickoffs as well. Re’ut BBYO held a murder mystery evening at their chapter S’gan’s (vicepresident’s) house and proved to be an engaging event for all of the members. Our newest chapter in the region, Princeton BBYO, orchestrated a scavenger hunt for their members and prospects.

Three of South Jersey’s BBG (girls) chapters — Dafna BBG, Ohev BBG, and Tovah BBG – started their years off with one last summer pool party. Each one had great attendance with a large number of potential new members. The rain did not stop any of the chapters from swimming, bonding and reconnecting after the summer.

Though all three were a pool party, each kickoff was different. Dafna BBG went inside during the rain and bonded over silly questions, and after the rain ventured back outside to swim.

“Dafna BBG had a fantastic kickoff with great programming and lots of fun times,” says Dafna’s Marisa Camacho, “Kickoff was a great forecast of what the rest of the term will look like - great times with great people!

Ohev BBG spent their time engaging in different relay races that left each girl ready to jump in the pool. “Ohev Kickoff went amazingly,” says chapter member Liad Auslander. “We went swimming, played fun games, and most of all, we enjoyed each other’s company.”

Tovah BBG had their members and prospective members show their creative side with a cupcake decorating contest. Awards like “Most Funky Cupcake” were given out and everyone spent the night laughing and making memories.

The two remaining BBG chapters, Chevrah and Neshef, both held kickoffs at Color Me Mine. Each had more than 10 prospective members that all had a blast and could not wait to join. “Color Me Chevrah was so much fun,” says Chevrah’s Ellie Kaneff, “We got to reunite as a chapter after the summer and meet new girls who wanted to try out BBYO. Everyone had an amazing time!”

Not only did these chapters have a great time painting their pottery, but they get to keep their pottery as a memento of their wonderful time.

In a fantastic start of the year, each chapter held a successful kickoff with everyone feeling a sense of comfort and many new teens gaining a feel for what BBYO is. At the end of the day, what matters the most about each chapter is that their members feel secure, engaged, and comfortable while still having loads of fun, bonding with their peers and identifying with their Judaism. . Sam is South Jersey BBYO’s Regional Mazkir and Charlotte is Regional Mazkirah.

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