CANADA— On the heels of an exceptional year of “firsts”, BBYO is proudly celebrating its growth in membership and successful teen programming in Canada during the 2017–2018 school year. Home to one of the largest Jewish communities in the world, BBYO achieved a variety of milestones across Canada this year, including:
Since their establishment in 1924 and 1944, the Aleph Zadik Aleph (AZA) and B’nai B’rith Girls (BBG) have served as BBYO’s core teen leaders. AZA and BBG are made up of hundreds of chapters across the world, and each chapter is part of a council, region, or country and has its own chapter leadership that is elected by the members of the chapter each year. Chapters hold regular programming for their members, participate in council/regional athletic leagues, participate in service and advocacy project across the community, and enjoy the brotherhood and sisterhood components of AZA and BBG.
“BBYO allows for something unique. I can meet people across North America and immediately have something in common, or I can gain a connection that lasts a lifetime, all in a just few moments,” remarked Nicolas Wilhelm, regional teen president, BBYO Lake Ontario Region. “It's through BBYO programs that these connections become possible and where I can meet people who can help push our Order and our communities forward.”
Teens across Canada participate in local programs and activities on a regular basis, which are planned by their peers, and programs include service, social, and educational components as well as larger BBYO regional conventions and international programs. A snapshot and highlights of the year from BBYO regions in Canada is included below.
BBYO Eastern Canada Region (ECR), based in Montreal and operated at the Sylvan Adams YM-YWHA, features two chapters in Cote Saint Luc and in the West Island with approximately 150 active participants. For their ‘Fall Fest’ program in the fall of 2017, over 50 teens joined together at Skytag for an afternoon of trampolining and laser quest, pizza, and a live DJ. For their Global Shabbat event in December, members planned a large Shabbat dinner for 50 teens and invited Syrian refugee families to join them to share their stories. In the spring of 2018, more than 70 teens in ECR participated in J-Serve, the Global Day of Jewish Youth Service.
BBYO Lake Ontario Region (LOR), based in southwestern Ontario, has five AZA (boys) chapters and five BBG (girls) chapters spread throughout Vaughan, Richmond Hill, and Toronto, with approximately 370 participating members. For LOR’s ‘Fall Fest’ event, they planned an all-night laser tag, DJ, and dance party, which attracted many new teens, particularly eighth and ninth graders, who were interested in experiencing and learning more about BBYO. For their J-Serve event in April 2018, over 500 teens from across Toronto and York Regions participated in a day of community service and improvement projects.
BBYO Northwest Canada Region (NWC), encompassing the province of Alberta, has two AZA (boys) chapters and two BBG (girls) chapters in Calgary, and two AZA chapters and two BBG chapters in Edmonton, with a total of 220 members. For their ‘Fall Fest’ program, teens in Edmonton and Calgary planned a ‘SNOW Fall Fest’, with snow tubing, hot chocolate and snacks. Additional events throughout the year included a teen-led family Shabbat dinner, obstacle races and a delicious year-end BBQ.
BBYO Red River Region (RRR), spanning the province of Manitoba, features three AZA (boys) chapters and three BBG (girls) chapters representing 260 members. For their ‘Fall Fest’ event, teens joined together at the Sky Zone Trampoline Park for an exclusive BBYO-only evening. During their Global Shabbat program, music was the theme as teens planned an evening of food and Shabbat songs at a new venue downtown, with over 100 people in attendance.
BBYO is a safe and welcoming teen community where young men and women develop their own personal Jewish identity. The teen-led programming is always fun, with an emphasis on connection to the local and global Jewish community. Teens emerge with precious friendships and useful leadership skills that will serve them well into the future. Committed to a pluralistic experience, BBYO welcomes all Jewish teens regardless of background, denominational affiliation, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, or abilities.
BBYO is the leading pluralistic Jewish teen movement aspiring to involve more Jewish teens in more meaningful Jewish experiences. For more than 90 years, BBYO‘s leadership programs the Aleph Zadik Aleph (AZA, high school fraternity) and the B’nai B’rith Girls (BBG, high school sorority) have been providing exceptional leadership programs and identity enrichment experiences, shaping the confidence and character of more than 400,000 alumni who are among the most prominent figures in business, politics, academia, the arts and Jewish communal life. Now, BBYO’s network of Jewish teens, alumni, parents, volunteers and philanthropists serves as the Jewish community’s most valuable platform for delivering to the post Bar/Bat Mitzvah audience fun, meaningful and affordable experiences. With year-round activities in hundreds of local communities and inspiring world-wide travel experiences, BBYO’s broad program menu enables teens to explore areas of leadership, service, civic engagement, Israel education and Jewish values.
Please note that BBYO should not be referred to as the B’nai B’rith Youth Organization, but rather as “BBYO.”
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