A Non-Campers Guide to BBYO Summer

September 8, 2023
Ali Jacob

Houston, Texas, United States

Class of 2025

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When I signed up for CLTC 2022, I was not informed that it was a summer camp experience, nor did I realize the impact it would have on me. I was a freshly elected chapter S’ganit, with my best friend as Mazkirah. Our regional director emailed our parents a strong email about the benefits of attending this program. I was signed up before I even knew it existed. It was explained to me as an opportunity to engage in leadership, meet BBYO members from around the world, and get ready for my future (in BBYO and out). It was absolutely all of those things, but it was also incredibly hot outside. Now, I can officially call myself a CLTC survivor and even enjoyer which let me to attending a full 6 weeks at Perlman this past summer where it was also incredibly hot.

Here are the things that made those 8 weeks (2 at CLTC and 6 at Perlman) of heatwave not only livable, but also a cherished memory:

  • Flowy pants. Think linen beach pants - they’re light enough when it’s hot out, like my session, but they’re also somehow warm in the cold. My favorites have slits up the side, which is slightly counterintuitive, but they are quite literally a lifesaver at summer programs. Bonus: most pairs have pretty deep pockets, since they’re not skin tight, at least deep enough for your phone and a pack of gum.
  • While we’re on the topic: Gum. You don’t often get to go back to your cabin between meals, and it’s a great refresher during mock chapter meetings. No one wants to be the person begging for a piece from someone at your table while everyone else is doing the prayers.
  • Portable fan: foldable hand fan, electric portable, clip-ons for your bed - it doesn’t matter which ones, you want them. Maybe CLTC 4 2022 and Perlman 2023 were just unlucky, but when it’s 90* outside and there’s no AC, you’re going to want a fan.
  • Shabbat rompers. I know the goal is Instagram-worthy, but they’re still very cute, and you don’t have to worry about flashing anyone during services if you end up moshing like what happened during our Fiddler on the Roof Shabbat. I’ve seen this one, this one, and this one in action at IC and CLTC and they’re not only adorable, they’re so much more practical than a dress.
  • Quick dry towels. Between the lake, your ‘surprise and delight’ moments (probably during maccabiah), and quick Shabbat showers, you will be showering a lot. 2-3 towels is best, but that takes up a lot of space. I love quick dry towels, because they take up minimal space and they’ve got a quick turnaround to use them again.
  • Sunglasses. My default are a cheap pair from Amazon so I don’t feel bad when I inevitably lose them. The temperature in Pennsylvania is mercurial, but the afternoon sun is consistently brutal. I actually managed to get a corneal scratch halfway through CLTC and couldn’t wear contacts for three days, so these very much came in handy. Also, if you’re the kind of person to just sit on the side of the lake or in a hammock during Chofesh, this is absolutely the way to do it.
  • Fanny pack. You’re not going to carry around a tote bag or backpack all day, and please don’t lie to yourself that you’re “just bringing your phone”. Fanny packs can fit earbuds, your phone, a few sticks of gum, and whatever else you deem necessary. If you got one of the BBYO Passport ones at IC ‘23, this is the time to break it out!
  • A couple of things that should be self explanatory, but apparently no one remembers to put on their packing lists: Retainer, shower caddy, bugspray, sunscreen, dry shampoo, shower shoes, and $20 or so for the canteen

BBYO Summer can be a super valuable and meaningful experience, but it also presents a ton of pitfalls. Life gets easier when you prepare properly, and sometimes that means taking a little extra room in your bag for a non-essential essential.

Ali is a BBG from Lonestar, and she has a Great Dane and a Dachshund.

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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