7 Things I Wish I Knew Before Being on Chapter Board

November 6, 2023
Sarah Begun

Cherry Hill, New Jersey, United States

Class of 2026

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Being on board, whether it be chapter, regional, or international, is a privilege in itself. You get incredible opportunities to work with others, learn leadership skills, and get the chance to have a fun experience in a higher role in BBYO. 

I’ve held the position of my chapter, Sh’licha, and for two terms, I held the position of S’ganit, which I am still currently holding. I love these positions so much, and they have influenced my life both inside and outside of BBYO, teaching me leadership skills and tactics for working with others that have helped me to get to where I am today. However, with each position comes its challenges. Leading with this, I give you…7 things I wish I had known before being on chapter board:

  1. Burnout

You will burn out if you are focusing on too many things in the position. This job is supposed to be fun; don’t make it harder than it actually is. Also, BURNOUT IS REAL. I learned the hard way that succumbing to burnout can be extremely easy, but doing your best to push through it by stepping back and breathing will help tremendously.  

  1. BBYO should NOT be your #1 priority

BBYO is not your life; don’t make it your #1 priority. School, work, etc., all should come before BBYO. This doesn’t mean disregarding it because, yes, being on board is still a very large job, but choosing to write your program overwriting your English essay might not be the best idea. My schoolwork suffered heavily when I started my first term on board because I put all my energy into the role rather than focusing on school or my work, which also negatively impacted my mental health. However, I learned to prioritize myself and my schoolwork before my position, and throughout the term, I noticed my experience becoming more positive.

  1. You don’t know everything

Once you realize that going into a position, you don’t know everything, it will make life so much easier. You’re not G-d. You can’t deal with everything, everywhere, all at once. And that’s okay. You’re not alone in your position, though. If you need help, if you have any questions, suggestions, etc., you have a board and regional (+ international) counterparts who are here to help, too. It’s okay to be confused and make mistakes because we’re all human, and that’s what we do. So don’t be afraid to ask questions because it will all work out for the best in the end.

  1. It’s not that deep

You will not always get your way, and that’s okay. Working on a board means having to cooperate with each other, even if that means your idea won’t be the chosen one. From my experience, sometimes ideas get put down, and it makes you feel like you’re not heard, but most of the time, there comes a compromise. Just know that everyone will have a chance to be heard, but not to take what other people say to heart when giving constructive criticism about your ideas, programs, etc., because it really is not that deep.

  1. Grow as you go

It takes time to get used to being on board. Each person has their own challenges, but just know it’s okay to make mistakes. We’re human, and the more we learn, the more we grow and become better at what we’re doing. What’s important is that you do the job and try your best, and the rest will come with time. 


So you want to run for regional board your senior year. It’s great that you know what you want to do. But don’t start planning your freshman year what you’re going to do each year until that point. You want to have fun in BBYO. Have fun on board, have fun with your friends, etc.; you don’t need to be stressing months or years in advance about something that could possibly not happen. I say this as someone who has written their platforms over six months in advance, knowing exactly what I wanted to run for and doing my best to make it happen. However, it was so draining. Planning a year in advance, while it can be fun and help you get in the right headspace, can also cause more unnecessary stress. It’s okay to not know, and it’s okay if you do, but don’t stress yourself for months at a time to do something that isn’t required because things happen. 

  1. HAVE FUN!

Being on chapter board can be overwhelming, but it can also be so fun. Having board bonding, getting to see your programming in action, and working alongside amazing people is such a rewarding experience. While being on board is a lot of work, there are so many aspects that we shouldn’t take for granted. It gives us leadership opportunities, a chance to meet new people, and teaches us so much about ourselves and about others. These experiences are what help to shape us into who we are, and by putting in the effort, you get the fun in it, too. Seeing the impact being made on others and getting to share those experiences make it that much more enjoyable, and make the whole process worthwhile.

Sarah Begun is a BBG living in Cherry Hill, New Jersey who plays bass guitar, and lacrosse.

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.

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