My Final Hurrah!
Posted on 08/01/2012 @ 11:47 PM
My Final Hurrah!
Wednesday August 1st, 2012. I awoke to a feeling both foreign and all too familiar. This was the end of my BBYO career. This was to be the last full day I would ever spend in BBYO as a participant. The organization that had given me so much over the past few years was now being removed from my life the second I board my flight tomorrow. It was a scary, yet surprisingly comforting feeling knowing that this is my last day. Throughout the day, this feeling would only grow.
We began our day with a college/university information session followed by a tour - something that was not needed for me, seeing as I have already accepted at Brandeis. As my peers asked their questions about the process and selection, I sat their imagining myself in their shoes. What if I had another year to make an Impact? What if I was given a second opportunity to return to my home community and make my chapter have an impact? But alas, my imagination is not the reality I live in, so I sat quietly and listened.
After the tour, we had the presentations of what the groups had been doing over the past few weeks at our service sites. It was amazing to see so many members of BBYO truly get what it means to do service. I recall one part of a presentation, where a participant volunteering at the elderly home called his grandfather after one visit. It was so powerful to see that these teens, my peers knew that this wasn’t something we were doing for community service hours or for a resume, but rather that this was something that is part of the 613 mitzvot of our Jewish faith – the only requirement to participate on this program.
Following these presentations, we had our final curriculum session. At this session, we talked about bringing our impact home and the connection between your mind, might, and heart as symbolized by the t’filin. We then wrote down our goals and what we dedicate ourselves to in letters that we will receive in 6 months. After that we had packing time until dinner. Packing up my stuff was different than every time previous for me. Normally, I just throw things in my suitcase and pack everything tightly together. But today, I made sure all of my clothes were folded neatly and that it fit nicely into my suitcase. I guess I just want to pack up my BBYO career the same way I packed my luggage today.
After a B-B-Q dinner, we hung out, sung songs and relaxed in the mini-quad. We then had our closing program – styled after the Olympics. There was jello jousting, capture the flag, Israeli paddleball and two others that escape my memory at the current time. I played capture the flag and worked up a good sweat.
As of 10:41 PM, on August 1, 2012, I, Jesse Freedman am at my computer, typing out what will be my last submission as a member of this great organization. Impact: Chicago will be over in less than 16 hours for me and with that first step onto my plane, my life is forever changed.
Gone are the opportunities to attend every summer program I have yet to experience. Behind me are the leadership opportunities in the Aleph Zadik Aleph. And with that first step, I begin my journey in the desert for another place to call home.
But not lost are the friends I have made across our Order and in BBG. Forever, I shall remember the moments of these summer programs that gave me a place of security during the 4 most volatile years of my life. Never fleeting will be the knowledge that wherever I go in life and whatever I do, I will have my fellow Alephs and sister BBGs to count on. I will always be certain that I can have somewhere to call home.
It’s actually pretty ironic, as I’m typing this - the final blog for Impact: Chicago, the song Brothers in Arms comes on and I cannot help but to tear up knowing that at 1:00 PM tomorrow, as I step onto that flight, my life is forever changed. Impact: Chicago has been an amazing experience for me. If there is one recommendation I can make, it is that you should go on summer programs or send your teen on one. I know that they changed my life in so many ways – I can only hope that someone else can have the same experience I did in BBYO. Thank you to Ben for having an unbelievable 1st time ever Impact: Chicago and thank you to everyone who has helped me in any way during my time in BBYO. And for the last time ever,
I currently remain,
Aleph Jesse Michael Freedman