Parent Pulse

Parent Pulse is a bi-monthly newsletter for BBYO member parents to help keep up to date with goings on across the Order. For nearly a century, parents have trusted us to provide a safe space in which their teens can thrive, and Parent Pulse offers an insider’s glimpse into those spaces every other month. Take a look through our past issues here!

Issue 14 | January 2022

Welcome Note | Around the Order | Wellness Corner | Trending Now | Coming Up Soon | In Their Words



Dear Parents,

It’s hard to believe 2022 is already here! What a year it’s been for our communities, teens, staff, and volunteers. In my first six months at BBYO as Chief People Officer, I’ve been so impressed with what we produce for the Global BBYO community and how we conduct our business.

Our staff members work hard to develop thoughtful partnerships with one other, our teen participants, our stakeholders, and anyone we come in contact with who affects our business. Decisions are made based on our Culture Credo which states: “We are mission driven leaders, we hold ourselves accountable, we are rooted in Jewish values and strengthened by our diversity, we embrace our inner teen, we support, respect and look out for each other, we value time away from work and we approach our work with hopefulness.” This credo is shared with new hires as they join BBYO and is used throughout the organization when we need to reflect on who we are and why we’re doing this work.

So, what’s up next? First, we’re preparing for our internal Staff Conference coming up this month, where the team will come together to share best practices from our communities and learn more about being great leaders. Shortly after that, over President’s Day weekend in February, we launch one of our most exciting events of the year, BBYO International Convention, where teen and adult leaders from across the Jewish world (and beyond) will convene to celebrate, dream, and take action to continue strengthening the future.

Please know your teens are in good hands with the professional staff at BBYO and that we’re all here to serve you and your family with compassion and empathy in the coming year.

Wendi Colby
Chief People Officer, Talent Team



Global Shabbat Recap | Last month, our Movement united across 60 countries to celebrate together at our annual Global Shabbat. With the theme of Yad B’Yad, Hand in Hand, guiding us, our communities joined in song, learning, service, and more for this time-honored tradition.

BBYO International Awards | Is your teen ready to celebrate their accomplishments? There are 12 International Awards that individuals and chapters can apply for or nominate someone else to receive. Open to all teens and chapters, awards have been newly updated this year so be sure to encourage your teen to take a look at our website! Applications are due by Sunday, January 17 to be celebrated at IC 2022 on the big screen.

Teen Event and Leadership Opportunities | A new year is here and chock-full of opportunities for your teen to connect with friends in your community and lead alongside peers from across the world. Check out our BBYO Near You page to see everything going on locally in your region and visit our International Leadership Network (ILN) page to explore the vast range of opportunities teens have to get involved in shaping our Order.



In a 2020 survey conducted by BBYO to better understand teen mental health needs, 79 percent of teens shared that they turn to their friends for support when feeling stressed, anxious, or experiencing challenges. This tells us that teens are overwhelmingly seeking out their peers in difficult times, and that their peers, in turn, have tremendous opportunity to intervene.

To address this, we recently launched our first cohorts of Peer Advocates so that teens can learn to recognize red flags and know what to do when they see them. Starting in Michigan and Greater Midwest Region and recently expanding to Movement-wide, 64 teens are gathering to learn to identify early warning signs, equip themselves with the knowledge and skills to foster their own wellness, support their peers, and connect to safe and trusted adults utilizing Teen Mental Health First Aid (tMHFA).

The reasons for applying to be part of the cohort are profound—many teens identify their own struggles with mental health as a motivator to want to gain the tools needed to recognize them in others, as well as a desire to be a resource for good among their friends and in their communities. We are so excited to learn alongside this incredible group of young leaders and see them thrive as peer advocates. To hear more from our teens on their perspective regarding mental health, check out this moving video from Michigan Region.



In this edition of Trending Now, we’re sharing updates on teens' changing social media usage, how Spotify is trying to cater to younger listeners, and Gen-Z trends to look out for in 2022. 

Changing Social Media Usage | Teens and young adults continue to spend an enormous amount of time on social media—but where they’re spending that time continues to shift. The year 2020 saw their overall social media use evolve and grow, with video-based platforms increasing most in popularity. In 2021 though, no platform has seen growth comparable to TikTok. Use of the app has increased among both Gen Z and Millennials, but the popularity among the younger group has boomed. Notably, Fortnite use saw a significant increase as well. During lockdowns, Fortnite expanded into a virtual entertainment venue and digital hangout, which created major opportunities for brands to get in front of young consumers.

Spotify’s Younger Audience | Spotify is the most popular paid audio service in the world, which continues to add millions of customers a year. But recently, company execs expressed concern about the Gen-Z market, which listens to fewer podcasts than millennials, Gen-Xers, or baby boomers. Spotify understands it must appeal to a new generation of users raised almost entirely on mobile devices, which is why it’s working on new tools geared to younger music listeners. Gen Z now also accounts for the majority of the people using Blend, a shared playlist between friends, and is the most engaged audience with Spotify’s annual “Wrapped” campaign, a recap of a user’s music listening over the past year.

2022 Gen-Z Trends | After interviewing 1,200 social network users, ages 13–24 in the U.S., Instagram identified some key areas shaping up to be hot trends for Gen-Z in 2022, including:

  • Music meets social media: One in four teens expect to follow live concerts on social networks in 2022, and 70% of teens say they’ll rely on social networks to discover new songs and artists.
  • Finding your calling: COVID-19 has shaken up our relationship with work and teens are re-evaluating their career goals because of the pandemic; 71% now prefer to have a meaningful job, even if it pays less, and 66% are beginning to re-assess the value of a college education.
  • Online wellness: Gen-Z wants to feel good, both physically and mentally, and will continue to talk about mental health and partake in online activities such as meditation and exercise events.


Teen Wellness Webinar for Parents | Join the BBYO Wellness and Inclusion Council on January 19 at 7:30 PM ET in conversation with Dr. Erika Bocknek and sleep expert Hilary Jackendoff to discuss the connection between sleep and health for you and your teen. We will learn about how sleep impacts everything we do, how COVID and other stressors impact our sleep, and how to get better sleep to improve mental, emotional, and social health. This is a free educational opportunity for BBYO parents; you can learn more about our speakers and register here.

Summer 2022 + Opportunities for Parents | We’re planning for an extraordinary summer filled with new friendships and experiences for our teens—if your teen is not yet registered, you can check out the many enriching and fun opportunities on our website. We also have opportunities for parents to join our dedicated staff team this summer! We are looking for both nurses and wellness specialists to staff sessions throughout the season. In addition to a monetary stipend per session, travel to and from camp, room/board, and meals are covered. You can see full details and qualification requirement on our careers page; if you or someone you know would make a great fit for this opportunity, we invite you to apply!

BBYO International Convention (IC) 2022 | We’re hard at work planning for our Movement’s most anticipated event of the year, taking place in Baltimore, Maryland, this February 17–21, and registration officially closes on January 26! Like you, health and safety are our top priorities and we are working in partnership with our Medical Team toward a successful event. Key highlights of this year’s guidelines include: all participants must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and have a negative PCR test within 72 hours of arrival, meal rooms and spaces will be sized differently to accommodate smaller groups of teens eating together, an option to upgrade to a double room in place of the standard quad room is available, and an adherence to the current indoor masking requirement by the State of Maryland will be in place. You can see more extensive details on all of the guidelines that will be in place at IC 2022 on our IC Health & Safety page, as well as additional FAQs on the IC website.



Did you know that while our summer experiences are supported by our dedicated staff team, they are also profoundly shaped by our Teen Coordinators and alumni? Take a moment to meet four of our shining teen leaders and hear about CLTC, our premier summer program for current 9th and 10th graders, from their perspective. They're working hard to make CLTC an amazing experience for teens around our Order—will your teen be joining them? Learn more and register for CLTC here.


At BBYO, we believe parents are our greatest allies and advocates when it comes to achieving our mission of bring more meaningful experiences to more Jewish teens. As we plan for this bright new year in which we can invite even more young people into the fun and welcoming BBYO environment you’ve come to rely on for your child, we are asking for your help in identifying other parents within your network that may be interested in BBYO for their teen(s). Please fill out this brief form with their information so our team can connect with these prospective families and invite their teens to an upcoming event. We could not be more grateful for your partnership.