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 13 | October 2021

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



Dear Parents,

It’s hard to believe November is around the corner! I feel like it was just yesterday that I spent my summer in the mountains of Pennsylvania as the Site Director for ILTC and Kallah, two of our Summer Leadership Experiences. While it wasn’t always easy navigating COVID protocols, supporting mental health needs, and reintegrating with staff who spent the past year alone, we did it. We worked hard, our teens worked hard, and it was incredibly rewarding in the end. In just a few days, we’ll be launching registration for Summer 2022, and I can’t wait to welcome your teen to our programs next summer!

At the same time, it’s been exciting for me to finally get back on the road and visit different communities. After 22 years, I still get chills seeing older teens leading new members, teaching them the many rituals of our Movement, and supporting them as mentors as they enter high school. I was recently in St. Louis where I participated in a program with a successful BBYO alumnus, who spoke about the impact that BBYO had on him for the past 50 years and how it gave him his “Jewish connection” for the rest of his life. He told the Alephs in the room that he was still friends with 10 Alephs from his chapter, and that he was returning to his hometown because his BBYO advisor had just passed away. I’m not sure how the teens in the room processed this, but for me, it reinforced the power of the friendships and connections teens make in BBYO for life.

So, what’s up next? Besides the festive holidays of Thanksgiving and Hanukkah, there’s #GivingBBYODay on Tuesday November 30! #GivingBBYODay is a highlight of our year—not only because it raises critical funds for BBYO regions, but because it unites our entire community around a shared passion for the power of BBYO to make a difference in the lives of Jewish teens. You can learn more about #GivingBBYODay, including regional goals and how to become an Ambassador, on our website.

Jayme David
Vice President, Community Engagement



  • IC Launch Night | We’re thrilled to report that International Convention (IC) launch night was a huge success! To date, over 2,600 teens have reserved their spot for our most anticipated event of the year (learn all about IC from our Teen Coordinators below, in the In Their Words section!). We’re placing a huge emphasis on health and safety so we can come together for our moving reunion in Baltimore, February 17–21, 2022—it’s not too late to secure your teen’s spot! Visit the IC website to learn more and register today.
  • Fall Membership Campaign | The growth of our Movement is essential for fulfilling our mission of providing Jewish teens with meaningful experiences. That is why we are so excited to launch our new campaign encouraging existing members to refer their friends to BBYO. From now through November 18, any teen who refers a new member will earn $25 off any Movement Experience, including IC, a BBYO Summer program, or a regional convention, plus the chance for additional prizes. You and your teen can see all the details on our website.
  • College Bound | Each year our CEO, Matt Grossman, sends a letter to over 100 college admissions officers highlighting aspects of the BBYO high school experience that carry over into a successful college career. You can read this year's letter here.
  • Fall Programming | Our Fall Kickoff programs have been more exciting than ever, with regions around the world coming together to celebrate the new BBYO year in style. Our Greater Atlanta Region ventured to Top Golf; Great Midwest Region took to the seas for a Yacht Party; and Miami Region discovered all the great eats in Miami with a food tour, just to name a few. To see what’s happening in your local area, visit the BBYO Near You page.


End of Summer Youth Mental Health Summit: Insights and Opportunities

At the end of August, BBYO’s Center for Adolescent Wellness and Foundation for Jewish Camp (FJC) brought together nearly 100 camp directors and mental health staff representing over 70 day and overnight camps and Israel travel programs to reflect on this summer, learn from the wins and challenges, and discuss how we can support our youth moving forward.
When it came to the shared struggles that teens and campers experienced this summer, Summit participants noted these as the top ones they encountered this summer:

  1. Increased frequency and severity of mental health challenges. Many camps needed more professional support to adequately respond to the volume of eating disorders, non-suicidal self-injury, anxiety, stress related to identity expression, and other challenges community members faced.
  2. Social anxiety and re-integration struggles. Campers and professionsals had to renegotiate boundaries from the virtual to the physical world and learn to live together and be in physical spaces with one another.
  3. Missed milestones with lasting impacts. Social regression in many campers was expected this summer. For others, missed social milestones inhibited age groups from reaching the maturity or developmental stage exhibited by their near peers in previous years resulting in additional and unanticipated challenges.
  4. Shifts in language. The language that teens used to describe their mental health challenges has shifted in a way that makes every incident feel dire and more stressful.
  5. Stakeholders beyond camp. In many instances, caregivers’ needs, anxiety, and stress were greater this year and required more time and energy from camp staff to respond to and support them.

Based on these finding, we shared a number of ways that youth movements, schools, camps, and other youth serving organizations (YSOs) can best support the young people in their care, which you can read about in the full article published in eJewish Philanthropy earlier this month. At the same time, it is important for parents to be aware of the challenges that youth are facing; it is helpful to know that if your teen may be struggling right now you aren’t alone. The challenges many adolescents are facing today did not appear overnight, but they have been exacerbated by the last two years of a global pandemic. Fortunately, there are many opportunities to grow and learn from the experiences had by camps this summer. As BBYO plans chapter meetings, retreats, and more, we are keeping these learnings in mind and thinking about the best ways to support all of our teens so they can move forward and thrive.



In this edition of Trending Now, we’re sharing the latest updates on Gen-Z’s Thanksgiving plans, why popcorn and hoodies are hot right now, and how the Twitter platform—and its users—capitalized on Facebook’s global outage earlier this month.

Thanksgiving Gets a Reboot | A recent report from YPulse finds that the number of Gen-Z and Millennials who will be spending the Thanksgiving holiday with family and friends this year is showing a slight increase from 17% to 22%, including those who say they’ll be travelling to be with family at the holiday. At the same time, more than half of 13 to 39-year-olds say they’ll be celebrating Thanksgiving with fewer people because of COVID, including a portion whose usual Thanksgiving plans may be cancelled altogether. While Gen Z and Millennials’ Thanksgiving plans haven’t necessarily gone back to “normal,” there are signs of progress, especially in plans for Black Friday shopping, with more than a quarter of young consumers planning to shop the deals in person on Thanksgiving Day itself.

Popcorn and Hoodies on the Hot List? | Arby’s “smoked meat” sweats, Kanye West’s Gap hoodie, and the Jonas Brothers’ popcorn brand launched this month—and ALL sold out immediately. Arby’s new smoked meat loungewear set sold out the first day it was launched, signaling how in demand the scented apparel truly is. Similarly, when Kanye West’s Yeezy x Gap hoodies dropped, they, too, sold out, and then quickly appeared on resale sites like eBay for up to $400 each. Meanwhile, the Jonas Brothers’ new popcorn brand, Rob’s Backstage Popcorn, sold out within a day of launching. When Nick Jonas shared a TikTok video of the trio testing their new popcorn flavors, mass groups of people showed up “demanding” popcorn (and photos with the Jonas Brothers, of course).

Twitter Wins with Facebook’s Outage | Along with Facebook’s global outage earlier this month, which took down all connections to the tech company’s products including Facebook Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp, came a social media frenzy on Twitter. Brands quickly flooded to Twitter to resume normal programming while Facebook and Instagram were down, lead users to poke fun at how Twitter became everyone’s saving grace. Netflix, Snickers, Pizza Hut, Adele, and Gordon Ramsey were among the brands and personalities who didn’t let the moment go unnoticed.



  • Summer 2022 Launch | The school year may have just begun, but we’re already hard at work planning for your teen’s best summer ever. BBYO Summer 2022 registration opens on November 4 at 12 noon ET and we’re offering major summer deals—our leadership programs all have one-day-only super deals, available only through midnight that day, and all BBYO Summer Experiences have early bird discount through November 18, our lowest prices of the year. With experiences in 12 countries, the return of $3,000 RootOne Travel Vouchers for Israel experiences, and an unparalleled focus on growing friendships and leadership skills, we have something for every teen. Explore all the options and mark your calendar for November 4.
    • Have questions about BBYO Summer Experiences? The Movement Experiences Team is hosting two parent Q&A sessions!
      • Summer Program Information Call #1: Tuesday, November 2 at 8:00–9:00 PM ET | Register Here
      • Summer Program Information Call #2: Wednesday, November 10 at 8:30–9:30 PM ET | Register Here
  • #GivingBBYODay | On Tuesday, November 30, the worldwide BBYO community will come together for our biggest fundraising day of the year! Part of Giving Tuesday, #GivingBBYODay is expected to raise more than $425,000 in a single day to support teens throughout the globe. We invite all parents to get involved and help raise money for your teen’s region by signing up to be a #GivingBBYODay Ambassador. We are so grateful for the continued support we have seen throughout the years and cannot wait to celebrate another record-breaking #GivingBBYODay.
  • Global Shabbat | On December 10–11 our Movement will join together to welcome Shabbat as one united community. Across six continents and 60+ countries, we'll celebrate this profoundly empowering and fulfilling holiday, this year with the theme “Hand in Hand.” Visit the Global Shabbat site to get involved.


Hello, BBYO parents!

We are Avi Gorodetski and Ben Berkeley, and we are honored to be serving as BBYO’s International Vice Presidents of Programming this year! As a part of our role, we coordinate BBYO’s International Convention (IC) 2022—and we do that by leading an IC Steering Team of 300+ teens from around the Movement. Our responsibility is to facilitate the planning of an awesome IC where everyone’s wants and needs are met, and that includes you, parents!

International Convention is an epic celebration of teen culture and leadership that hosts BBYO members from all around the globe! Over the past two years, so much was taken away from our teens and families. The opportunity we have to finally gather back together in person as a global Order makes us excited and proud beyond belief.

Check out our IC website which has lots of valuable information on how you can safely send your teen to Baltimore, Maryland, this February. If your question isn't answered there, reach out! We can be reached at [email protected] (Avi) and [email protected] (Ben) any time you or your teens wish to communicate with us.

We truly believe that attending IC is a life-changing experience and opportunity for teens to connect with old friends, make new ones, hear from world-class speakers, help the community, work on leadership skills, have fun, and plenty more. This year, we chose to shape IC around the theme “The Power Of Us” because we’re ready to come back stronger than ever.

We hope to see your teens in Baltimore with us this February as we celebrate the long-awaited reunion of our Movement!

We remain,

Avi Gorodetski and Ben Berkeley
77th International S’ganit and 97th Grand Aleph S’gan