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International Leadership Training Conference (ILTC) Blog

BBYO’s advanced leadership training designed to make teens think differently about the world and their role in it.


ILTC Maccabiah

Posted on 07/09/2014 @ 12:30 PM

Maccabiah was not only one of the best days of ILTC, but it was one of my favorite BBYO memories in general. Seeing the spirt in all of my fellow ILTC friends was an amazing experience. I have participated in my fair share of color wars, but Maccabiah without a doubt blew the others out of the water. We began the day with "The Great Escape,” an activity where we ran across camp attempting to finish many small tasks like doing 25 jumping jacks, singing the Hatikvah, or doing the Macarena four times. Afterwards, we gathered with our teams to celebrate the completion of the first part of color wars. Afterwards we had a silent lunch, a refreshing twist on the usually boisterous Heder Ochel (Dining Hall). It was crazy how determined everyone was to win—the dead silence was crazy for a group of mainly extroverted, extremely social 15-17 year olds. After lunch, we had activities relating to sports and arts. I participated in both Gaga and soccer, both of which the red team (my team) won. After these activities, we had team meetings and helped clean up different parts of Perlman, working to keep our home clean. Finally, everyone presented their songs, cheers, skits, and banners. My team’s theme was America, so our song was an awesome mashup of USA songs, "Party in the USA," "American Pie," and "Born in the USA." We then brought the house down with our skit, utilizing impressions of fellow campers and inside jokes from the session to make everyone smile. Although the Red/USA Team did not win, I had a blast throughout and was still proud of the work we did. While all of Maccabiah was fun, the stand out part of the day was the overall sportsmanship all teams showed. Everyone was there to have fun, not necessarily win. Maccabiah was also an opportunity to learn about the real Maccabiah Games in Israel, helping to further our connection to our homeland. Going into the final week, I am excited to further my connections with friends, yet, at the same time, am sad to say goodbye to my friends not staying for Kallah.

Nathaniel Bernstein Great Midwestern Region

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Our Second Shabbat Together

Posted on 07/07/2014 @ 04:28 PM

The Shabbat atmosphere at Perlman is unlike anything I have ever experienced. It begins at chofesh (afternoon free time), when all of the girls spend the majority of their time getting ready together. Once we are finished getting dressed, everyone comes together and takes pictures with friends. We then all head to the large quad—the central meeting spot at camp—and underneath the Perlman tree we have a menorah lighting together as a community to bring in Shabbat. Then we move into a group Friday night service and a great Shabbat dinner. After dinner, the night is filled with singing and nigguns where we have the option for “Shira” or a “Rabbi’s Tisch.” In “Shira,” we sing and dance to our favorite BBYO songs with the help of amazing songleaders Eric Hunker, Happie Hoffman, and Kevin Sloan. In the “Rabbi’s Tisch,” the Jewish educators come together to lead singing, chanting, and share stories about Jewish values and morals. On Saturday, we are lucky to get a late wake up and have some time to sleep in. Then, we have the option to participate in whatever service we want, be it a service involving nature, discussion, or meditation. Then, we all join together as one holy community, one k’hilah kedosha, during the torah service. This week, three girls had the opportunity to read from the Torah for the first time and become Bat Mitzvot. It was awesome to be a part of such a special moment for them, and really interesting to see what motivated them to make that big step. After the service, we are able to choose from different electives. The options range from discussions about controversial and popular topics— everything from Instagram likes to “voluntoursim", to reading, to cloud watching. Shabbat at Perlman is a time to connect and spend quality time with everyone. I’m so lucky to be spending a summer filled with amazing experiences like these!

Randi Rubenstein Beth Kadima BBG #639 D.C. Council, Northern Region East

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A Typical Day at ILTC

Posted on 07/03/2014 @ 01:07 PM

Yesterday at ILTC, we started the day learning about ways to solve chapter problems in Limmud and Blueprint. I really like how we begin our day with Limmud because it provides a Jewish lens to the leadership skills we are learning in our Blueprint sessions. The discussions we had in our Blueprint helped me to learn accessible methods of solving problems that have occurred in my chapter back home. It has been extremely helpful learning how my peers have dealt with the same BBYO challenges I am encountering. Knowing I am not the only one facing challenges with my BBYO chapter and region is also comforting.

After lunch, we had our specialist sessions. I went to Shira where I participated in a song session with Eric Hunker and Happie Hoffman—the best song leaders around. From there I journeyed to my "How-To" session with the ILTC Teen Coordinators, Dan Widawsky and Sofie Jacobs. They offered an open question and answer session where I learned about their experiences in BBYO. It was interesting hearing about their summer programs, conventions, leadership experiences, Jewish identity building, and everything in between. After that session, we went to Big/Little Limmud—a program where we are partnered with someone who we didn't know before ILTC and practice the role of being a big brother/sister or a little brother/sister in an AZA/BBG chapter.

Every night, we wrap our busy day up with an inspiring evening program. Last night, we had an Engagement festival where we played the role of different Jewish community teens—BBYO prospective members, new members, Alephs/B'nai B'rith Girls, etc. Practicing the different roles prepared us to go back into our communities to begin a big recruitment push. The night concluded with an exciting, glow in the dark dance. ILTC just keeps getting better.

Zach Freedman Lake Ontario Region

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We Are a Part of Something Special

Posted on 07/02/2014 @ 11:19 AM

For the past six days, I have had the pleasure of making a home at Perlman. From connecting with other Jewish teen leaders from around the world, to taking part in deep discussions on membership and Judaism, my time so far at ILTC has been a dream come true.

Today in our morning Limmud sessions, we discussed the importance of team building, trusting those around us, and understanding interpersonal relationships. Throughout the day, this idea took root in all our activities. The moment that I truly felt the magic of Perlman and this community was during our Limmud discussion when our educator said to us, "I don't feel the connection. Dig deeper. Get more personal." While the statement was so simple, it served as a catalyst for one of the most meaningful and personal conversations I have ever been a part of. Right after our educator said that, my group and I were discussing moments in our lives when we needed support from our friends. Participants felt open to share so much about themselves even though we barely know one another. The bond created through that dialogue was unbelievable.

That Limmud session truly illustrated to me the magic of ILTC. I did not know many of the people coming into ILTC, but our existence at Perlman has created an unexplainable bond.

Talia Weseley Connecticut Valley Region #17

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ILTC Ceremony for Gilad, Naftali, and Eyal

Posted on 07/01/2014 @ 04:48 PM

During lunch, everyone was in the dining hall talking with their friends like a typical day at ILTC. One of our staff members got on the microphone for an announcement. We assumed he was going to say something about the next program or what was happening this afternoon. What he shared was much more important than anything going on in that moment. The three missing Israeli boys, who our community has been praying for and thinking about everyday, were found—not alive. The room fell silent; everyone was shocked. We all felt a deep sadness for the Israeli boys, their families, and for the Jewish people.

At night, we gathered as a community so that we could honor the boys through a memorial service. Led by Sofie and Dan (the teen coordinators) and the five Israeli Madrichim, we sang, prayed, and even inducted the three Israeli boys into the International Order of the Aleph Zadik Aleph so they will forever be remembered as a part of our brotherhood. The atmosphere was filled with sorrow and support, truly bringing out the strong community that we have here at ILTC. Even though we are thousands of miles away from this tragedy, we still feel a strong connection with the three boys, their families, and the Jewish people.

The tragedy made us even prouder of our Judaism and gave us the inspiration to continue to strengthen the Jewish people.

Alex Myers Melech AZA #2461 Northern Region East—D.C. Council #54

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