4 things I learned in 4 years of BBYO

May 10, 2024
Violeta Saul

Buenos Aires, Argentina

Class of 2024

Read more from this author →

Sat in front of the computer. Fiddled with the keyboard. What should I write about? Maybe about a movie. Maybe about my most recent chapter event. Maybe about Centennial IC. What do I want to say? What message do I have for AZA and BBG? Those were the questions that were able to light my bubble. My imagination and inspiration. 

It’s only three months from now until my term ends. And as a consequence, my path in BBYO. It’s been four thrilling years. Filled with memories, laughs, and friends from all over the world, things I never believed I could experience or do. So, what do I want to leave to the next generations of BBYOers? 

4 things I learned in 4 years of BBYO: 

  1. Lead: I’ve been chair, I’ve planned chapter programs, regional programs, I’ve been on committees, I’ve been chapter and regional Mazkirah, I’ve gone to IC and been on IC Steering, I’ve participated in task forces and clubs of the ILN, I’ve done virtual camps during lockdown, I’ve explored, I’ve grown, I’ve become the leader and person I am today thanks to this, thanks to BBYO, but essentially, thanks to me. It’s no easy thing to take on opportunities such as these, even if they are presented to you as BBYO does, it takes courage, willpower, and a desire to grow and learn and put yourself in different situations. To face yourself with your future self. Do it, lead. Take on that position, run for board. Even if you lose, the amount of things you learn on the way makes it worth it. Thanks to all of these experiences I’ve had, I’ve been able to make an impact in my community, and in my peers, and shape BBYO to make it my space. Because it’s a space from teens to teens. 
  1. Make friends: Friends are forever, from all over the world, exploring the cultures, the possibilities. You never know if tomorrow you’ll travel to Australia and have a pen pal there. I’ve often wondered why making friends in BBYO is so much easier than in other social spaces. I thought about how BBYO friends resemble childhood friends. You may not know them very much, but either way, you are super close and have a blast with each other. It’s a relationship without strings, without preoccupations, without the daily drama or compromise other relations require. This is because in BBYO we make friends through experience. You play and have fun in chapter meetings, you dance in the IC Concert, or go through the different rooms of the BBYO Boulevard. You hang out with the only objective of having fun. No worries allowed. Making and having friends in BBYO is as simple as when you were seven. You can ask someone, should we play in the playground together? And you’ll always find a yes on the other side. Don’t miss out on the amazing friendships you can build. Exploit the network of BBYO, and you’ll find lasting and impactful friendships. 
  1. Share this space: Some of us, when finding a place as welcoming and positive as BBYO, tend to gatekeep it from our friends. We want to feel this as our own place. But really, the best thing you can do is invite more people to join. More Jewish teens, more Jewish meaningful experiences mean just that. Think about how you were recruited. If that random (or not) person hadn’t invited you to your first BBYO event you wouldn’t be here, you wouldn’t even know what the shofar is. YOU can be the one to change someone else’s life. You can be the one to help this movement we love so much keep growing, expanding, and evolving. I wouldn’t have ever imagined when I first asked my school friend to come with me to my first chapter event because I was scared to go alone, that now she would be the 79th International Mazkirah and the first Latin American to be on I-Board. She is making history. And I made history too. BBYO shapes people and creates leaders for the future. Sharing this space ensures an enduring and strong Jewish community in and outside BBYO. Promote, recruit, host! (we can add the other letters of MRIHA if you want). Leave your legacy for future generations. 
  1. Actually, I can’t think of a fourth lesson that seems as important as the previous three. There are excruciatingly many things I’ve learned in these four years that I couldn’t even express in words even if I had fifty pages to write on. So, the last thing I want to say is: Enjoy. Yes, BBYO helps you grow, but you also grow because you are a teenager and are in your formative years. No matter what position you hold, or what responsibilities you have, always remember, you are still just another teenager, trying to have the best teenage years you can have, enjoying every step of the way. The good, the bad, the mid parts. Everything is part of ourselves and makes us who we are. Never forget to experience joy. To laugh with your friends, to relax if you have too much going on, to keep BBYO magical. These years go as fast as you can imagine, and this space, which brings so much comfort, safety, and positiveness into people's hearts, will not be ours anymore. It’s time to leave it to the next generations, trusting that, as ourselves, they will do the best they can. Embrace the next leading generation of Jewish teens. Embrace the time you have left and make it YOURS. Be yourself! Only for yourself and not for anybody else. Thank you, BBYO for all you have done for me and so many others. I will always have so much love for this movement and the beautiful memories it has given me. Whoever is reading this, today, tomorrow, or three years after I’m writing it, feel free to reach out. We can talk anytime, if you feel like me, or not. If you have doubts and are curious. If you need some advice or a helping hand from a former Mazkirah ;)

Just because you have experienced BBYO, we are already family ❤️

Violeta Saul is a BBG from Ligdol #5044 in Argentina and she loves everything spirituality and singing.

All views expressed on content written for The Shofar represent the opinions and thoughts of the individual authors. The author biography represents the author at the time in which they were in BBYO.

Explore More Stories

Get The Shofar blasted to your inbox