I have been in this incredible movement for four years and there are two aspects about BBYO that continue to inspire me, motivate me, and put me in awe. The first is how truly teen-led it is, youth are at the forefront of creating positive change. We are the people planning the programs, steering the conventions, inviting people to our events, and doing more that really will provide us with tangible life skills.
The second and perhaps more impactful aspect is the mentorship we receive in our time. The kind of support and resources that we receive from our staff and advisors are things that we never have in any other circumstance. For me, one of the most powerful feelings in the world is when someone believes in you. It is the thing that propels me to continue leading and following in BBYO. Advisors volunteer so much of their own time to believe in us to lead and they help empower and motivate others to do so.
They are people that are constantly giving their resources, advice, and support to us and it is so important that we show them that appreciation they deserve. Although, it’s hard sometimes to find the best ways to appreciate and celebrate the people in our lives. There are no “right” ways, but I wanted to share 5 things you can do right now to give appreciation to advisors and staff!
I was recently at my regional board retreat and two BBG advisors came to offer their advice when it comes to counterparts. Something one of them said that I will remember is that they are not at programs just to “supervise” but to help in any way they can. Many advisors have previous experience in programming that could help your chapter have the most creative and meaningful programming possible. Some ideas are working with them on an activity you both can lead, brainstorming ideas together and most importantly, having them actually participate in your programming so they feel like they are a part of your chapter, because they are. If you really want to go above and beyond with incorporating advisors into programs, Chapter Dor Chadash in LOR held a surprise birthday party for their advisor, Simara, complete with party games, balloons, party hats and obviously, cupcakes.
Just like everyone else, advisors love it and are motivated when they are told that everything they do is truly appreciated. Maybe it’s a heartfelt letter from you or your entire chapter about how awesome they are at a random point in time ‘just because’, or a fun video for their birthday or anniversary in BBYO! For our Regional Executive Directors 10th BBYO anniversary, we put a video together full of clips from people in the region giving the appreciation he deserved and how he pushes us to keep leading and inspire others. This is why you should remember the important dates, we should get as excited about their special days as they do for us. It really is something as simple as a video or a letter that makes people smile.
One of the other coolest things about our movement is that every Aleph and BBG has something they are good at to bring to the table. You can use this to give love to your advisors and staff! For example, maybe someone in your region is awesome at embroidering or knitting. They can make something for an advisor in your community! One of LOR’s longtime advisors, Jordan Finewax, said, “if someone knits and made me gloves for the winter, that’s just something money can’t buy.” This can even go for staff to board appreciation too. Our Regional Associate Director, Rae S, gifted all of the regional board a personalized bracelet (some said their position, some said “AZA”, some said “BBG) and I know I’m never going to take mine off. It meant the world to me that she spent that much time making something.
Now, this one is a silly one but can make a huge impact. Ask what their Starbucks (or Tim Hortons if you’re a classic Canadian) order is and make the effort to surprise them and bring it to them at events or meetings! Like I said, the simplest things can brighten a persons day.
They WANT to hear from you. They are there for more than being an adult in the room. Advisors are there as a mentor and a role model. Trust me when I say that they are the best resource possible. Collaborating with them and keeping them updated on what’s going on will help make your chapter or community the most successful it can be. They really are just a text or call away!
All these tips are not just reserved for teens to advisors/staff appreciation but can go any way you want! This list just goes to show that it is the little things that make a difference. Whether it’s through a coffee order, a letter, a thank you or a smile, we all want to feel celebrated and it doesn’t take much to brighten someone’s day.
Hannah Alper is a BBG from Lake Ontario Region and has been an activist and author since the age of nine.
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