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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.

Rope Burn - Maccabiah

Posted on 07/08/2016 @ 03:39 PM

On the Fourth of July we had Maccabiah. All the teams had two people participating in rope burn. All the pairs went into the woods by the amphitheater to collect wood for our fires. We climbed down into a hole and grabbed dry dead branches and carried them to our stacks. Each team had gigantic stacks of wood. People were collecting small kindling sticks, scavenging for sticks and we even tugged some of the dead trees for our piles. After more than two hours the wood collecting time was over. The pairs then all went down to the lake to get ready for the challenge. The staff carted all the wood over to the lake and each team was partnered with another team for the rope burn, we combined our wood together in three piles and were preparing for the event. The safety staff debriefed us on everything we needed to know and hung the damp ropes at six and a half feet. The newly created groups of four discussed our plans and began our 30 minute pre-lighting building time. My team made a small log cabin and put some twigs and leaves in the middle, we build a teepee around it, followed by another log cabin and teepee. Everyone started to enter the amphitheatre and our madrichim got the water buckets ready. When it was time to begin each group was given three matches, my team got our fire lit with the first match, the other teams had more of a struggle and needed to wait a minute for each additional match after they used their first three. Our fire was growing quickly and started to char the rope. We kept feeding the fire but the wind was so strong so our fire while it was high was too far in front of the ropes. The other teams then began to grow their fires as well and it became a closer race. We were all trying to move our fires back so it would burn the rope, we build the fire back and used a big log to push the fire toward the back of the fire pit. As my team kept adding sticks the fire was growing, we accidentally put a stick that was a little too big on our teepee. Our fire collapsed because of this and we started to build our fire as a mound now. The fire still kept growing but the wind was so strong so the fire was still in front of our rope. The fire was getting really hot we kept hydrating and staff kept sponging us down to keep us cool. The other teams kept growing their fires and all the fires were big. After about 30 minutes the first group caught their rope on fire and it burned through soon after. We were pushing to grow our fire that was starting to get smaller. We took everything we had left and put it in the fire. A few minutes later the second team also burned their rope. We were still trying to get the rope to burn. Throughout the whole event everyone was cheering for all three teams. We were trying to get the rope to burn and we were so close. The other teams were trying to burn their second rope. Then everyone started running out of wood and the fires were starting to get too wide and everyone was so hot. The challenge was over a few minutes after. We still didn’t burn our rope, but we had a great time. Afterwards all three teams ran into the lake to cool off. It felt so good. Everyone had a great time and it was by far my favorite part of the day.


What Chris Wilson Taught Me

Posted on 07/08/2016 @ 03:35 PM

About two weeks ago, me and 50 other Jewish teens were taken from the peace and serenity of Perlman camp into a bleak world of gunshots and fear. We cringed, cried, and clapped along to Chris Wilson’s story of poverty to prosperity. Convicted of murder when he was only a teenager, Chris was sentenced to life in prison. Inspired by a mentor, he got his high school and college degrees, studying every day. After 16 years, he was given a second chance, and went on to own two successful businesses. As enchanted as I was with the story, a cynical question still lingered in my mind-Is suffering the only path to success?

Psychologically, this proposition makes sense. Having been fed, clothed, entertained, and accepted my whole life, I have a difficult time rationalizing the fact that the world isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. I know about all of the suffering, the starvation and terror attacks and refugee crises, but I just can’t live these issues. As a result, I don’t have any consequences to motivate me. People like Chris Wilson and Derreck Kayongo, on the other hand, had to work to stay alive. Because of this work ethic, they turned their lives around.

All of these ideas tie into what I believe is the key to success: pure, concentrated effort. It is the same with BBYO. How do you get more members? Work. How do you plan better events? Work. How do you have a successful term? Work. We try to convince ourselves that there are convenient shortcuts to success, but there just aren’t. So no, one doesn’t have to experience extreme hardship to fight their way to prosperity. As diverse as successful people are, they all take the same path: the path of effort. 

Noam Benavi


First Evening Carnival

Posted on 07/08/2016 @ 03:28 PM

Written and Edited by Zachary Sachs and ILTC Creative Writing and Blogging. All photos displayed in this post were taken by Blake Ruskin.

Today’s the day. The day that many of the 200 teens have been counting down to for up to a year. It’s the day which starts the beginning of 19 days of fun, learning, spirit, brotherhood, sisterhood, and countless amounts of experiences that will be remembered for a lifetime. This, of course, is the day in which everyone arrives for ILTC. From the time everyone arrived at the airport, the vibe of excitement and optimism filled the room. It started with the three hour bus ride to camp, which believe it or not, was not half bad. This provided both an opportunity to catch up with friends from around the world once again but also to meet many new smiling faces. By the time we arrived at camp and passed the B’nai B’rith Perlman Camp sign, the bus was immediately filled with cheering and joyful smiles. Upon arrival we unloaded everything from the bus, picked up our name tags, found our rooms, and eventually went to dinner. The camp was presented with Fajitas for dinner that night and they were as tasty as could be. The staff introduced themselves, gave a basic rundown of what to expect at camp over the next few days, and introduced a small rundown of rules in the camp. What happened next was something that none of the teens expected or could have even guessed. Ian Kandel, the Director of AZA/BBG and the teen movement, announced that there was a special treat for everyone. This treat was definitely one to remember. He said there was a carnival following the dinner and there were many different things to do. One thing he did also mention and also made this unique is that by participating in different activities you will receive raffle tickets. The raffle tickets will be used to enter into a drawing to win scholarships for BBYO’s International Convention in Dallas, TX. This got everyone excited and at the same time motivated to try as many games and activities as possible so they can collect as many raffle tickets as possible. Immediately following dinner, the entire ILTC got up and walked with enthusiasm to the soccer field. When we finally got to the soccer field, it was a tad overwhelming. This overwhelmingness was certainly a good thing and no where near anything bad. At first sight there were so many stations to go to. The first thing that caught many people's’ eyes were the animals. There were goats, rabbits, and ducks. It seemed everyone stopped by this area first, however it was not the highlight of the entire event. There were numerous other games and activities such as apple bobbing, human foosball, strength challenge, and a large scale game of pool to name a few. After a few hours went by it was finally time for the carnival to come to an end. Everyone had a great time and so many people earned so many raffle tickets while having fun and attending many activities. Later that night, the drawing for the International Convention scholarships went on.

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Day in the Life of a Bear

Posted on 07/08/2016 @ 03:23 PM

I wake up and rise from my cave seeing the sun rise over the horizon of the clear Perlman sky. I stretch by furry bear arms and get ready for my day of terror. I trudge out of the forest onto the soccer field, over the bridge and onto the basketball court. As I approach the court I see teens playing early morning basketball before breakfast. One of them left this little box with an bitten apple on the back, I pick it up and chomp down on it until it becomes mush. I keep walking and see a grown of kids walking, then they do this stupid thing where they scream with their high little voices and but there hands in the air. Then all of Perlman finally wakes up and I walk behind the dining hall to eat the scraps of whatever Chef Jeff made that day. As the teens leave the dining halls I grabbed this one kid and took a hunk out of his leg, the blood rushed down my throat and satisfied my hunger. The kid stumbled along to Katz for blueprint framing. After Ian talks for so long, I get bored again and decide to find another camper to snack on, I take the next victim and eat him whole. As he went down into my stomach his name tag came back up. I realize that if I leave the name tag on the ground staff will come after me with those darts that I can’t remember what they do right now. I take the name tag and put it on the Perlman tree. As I reach my paw for the top branch I get a claw stuck on the lights wrapped around it. I struggle to get free and rip all the lights off the tree. Since the teens are still in blueprint, I decide to take the lights and wrap them around the staff lounge, while I’m doing that I see the food they have and run in to take a bite. I see a bag of chips and devour them. I come out and finally everyone is out again, they are eating a snack in the small quad. They are all enjoying their apples for snack which makes my very hungry. Now since I have already eaten two teens I’m in the mood for more food so I eat the Perlman tree since it’s a little healthier than human meat. Everyone leaves again and I continue to walk around camp. I go to the basketball court and want to shoot some hoops. I reach my paw for the ball but my claws pierce through the orange rubber and the remains of the ball soar through the air and lands right in front of Dorm 7. Finally it is time for lunch, I stumble to the dining hall and eat all the food scraps. After running around camp and eating all morning go back down the road, past the basketball court, over the bridge, onto the soccer field and into the wood to my cave to go to sleep until I have a brand new day at Perlman.


Humans of Perlman

Posted on 07/08/2016 @ 03:01 PM

Humans of Perlman is a blog featuring portraits and interviews of ILTC 2016 participants collected at B'nai B'rith Perlman Camp. Interviews completed by Ilana Hamer and Samantha Zuckerberg.


Meredith Galanti: Beyond the expected leadership opportunities and lessons that I wouldn’t have learned otherwise, as well as the incredible friends I’ve met along the way, I think that one of the biggest things BBYO has given me is a sort of preparedness for college and beyond. Socially, academically, and extracurricularly, I feel like my goals and standards for myself are a lot higher and I know how I want to go about achieving them.


Matt Rabinowitz: I love Shabbat elective afternoons. I got the opportunity to sit and get bonding time with a lot of the teens that I don’t talk to as much during the week, and make connections that last a lifetime.


Aaron Abeid: [Describe ILTC in 10 Words] One of the most amazing experiences of my lifetime.


Ariella Garber and Rebecca Michel: We both got to the airport really early so I just sat down in a group of people and she was next to me and we started talking and then we sat together on the bus on the way here and we’ve been friends ever since.


Matt Jankowitz: A big lesson I learned here at ILTC here is the importance of going out of your comfort zone. Coming into the program, I was really reserved and was nervous to branch out to new people, but after participating more and getting more involved, I think I’ve been really able to grow as a leader and a person. This is a mindset that I want to take back home and bring it to my region.

Today in Perlman fashion


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