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Songs solidify friendship and memories at Jewish leadership training conference

By Rebecca Balchunas

Senior, Wilson

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"This one time, at CLTC wait - you probably don't know what that is. I'll back up a little bit. I'm part of an international Jewish youth group called B'nai B'rith Youth Organization, or BBYO.

Every summer BBYO holds leadership camps; one of the most popular choices is Chapter Leadership Training Conference, or CLTC for short.

It's a 12-day camp on how to be a better leader in one's chapter. This is the one I went to.

While I could write pages and pages of the inside jokes, funny mishaps and meaningful times I had, I'll narrow it down to two.

So, without further ado, let me finish this sentence: This one time at CLTC we all broke out into "What Makes You Beautiful" by One Direction. It was Friday night, and for Jews around the world, that means attending Shabbat services.

We were finished with the service and handing in the prayer books.

Then out of nowhere, a group of girls started singing.

Then, more people joined in, and eventually everyone was screaming the lyrics to the popular song.

That was just one of the many fun experiences I had at CLTC.

This other time at CLTC we did Birokt HaMazon and almost had a mosh pit at the same time.

Again, let me explain.

There are two prayers at mealtime; before eating, we say Motzi, which is over bread.

After we eat, we say Birkot, which is thanking God for the food we have eaten.

Since we are a youth group, we make both prayers fun.

Toward the end of Birkot we put our hands in the air and sing "la la la la la la la" at the top of our lungs and then continue with the prayer.

On one of the final times we were supposed to do it at camp, it lasted about 15 minutes, with a good percentage of the campers standing in the middle of the cafeteria jumping up and down singing it.

It was a great way to end the session.

Now, as I write this, I have been home for about 24 hours, and these memories are still fresh in my mind, as are the germs that spread from people around the country gathering together.

Yes, almost everyone from my camp has posted to our Facebook group about having a cold or sinus infection or sore throat.

Submitted with an undying love, I remain Rebecca Balchunas, a proud participant of CLTC Session 6, 2012.

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