International Convention, one of my absolute favorite times in BBYO where all of your previous Passport/summer program friends come together, you're running on mostly 4-5 hours of sleep throughout the time, you're raving and mosh pitting until your feet hurt, trying to figure out what table your friends are sitting at for breakfast/dinner and hoping you guys got the same LEADs day activities and limmuds. While IC holds a very dear place in my heart, sadly, this year was my last year as a teen being able to participate in IC. While I definitely will come back as a volunteer (or maybe even a speaker!), it definitely won’t have the same feel as when I was a teen, which is why I am writing this article as a reflection as a senior at IC! I truly hope this article not only makes people reminisce on IC but may give advice to younger members either going to IC for the first time or just needing a little extra advice :). With that, sit back and enjoy.
IC has always been an event for me to remember, despite my first one being last year, but this year was an extra special IC to remember. I got to complete a childhood bucket list goal of meeting and talking to Olympic Gymnast Gabby Douglas; I got to go up on stage in front of 3.2K teens and not only speak about black lives but also got to speak out about the club I proudly founded and am president on Members Of Color Alliance (also known as MOCA), I got to attend a Limmud session on listening to a rabbi from Uganda speak about her journey as an african-american jew which meant a lot to me to hear, moshpit till my feet hurt, get even closer with my region and broke down with the seniors together about how we weren’t ready to leave and so much more. Something that made my IC even more special to me personally was the press corps, watching us all frantically running around the hotel interviewing people, tackling each other after months of talking about meeting, crying with laughter over inside jokes, memes, just everything truly made my IC one of the most memorable IC’s yet. One thing about me is I am a very people-oriented person. I take everyone in like one of my own even if they may not like me the most I always tell myself to never hold grudges and even tell those people that if they ever need a shoulder to lean on that I am here. This year I am proud to say that I have managed to somehow “adopt” a whole bunch of sophomores/juniors who now call me their BBYO mom/sister, and despite how funny that fact is, words cannot describe how happy and warm my heart was to hear that which also makes that one of my favorite parts of IC. While being a senior definitely doesn’t feel real, and I am not ashamed to admit I’ve had countless breakdowns about graduating from BBYO, moments like that are what make senior year just a *little* bit easier. While I’ve had countless opportunities as a senior, from starting my club to hosting my own oneg to speaking out at IC, it sometimes just doesn’t feel enough. Almost like there's still an empty gap of what you wanted to do years before but now can’t as a senior, which is definitely a bummer but knowing that I am now a bright, outgoing senior vs. my shy little freshman/sophomore self brings me an immense amount of joy and to any younger members who may be feeling nervous about taking the jump into getting more involved with BBYO outside of regional and chapter events, as a senior my best advice is to just go for it. Don’t be afraid to reach out to advisors, staff, and people within your region! If you have your mind set on something, please absolutely go for it, you are the change BBYO and the Jewish community needs. I didn’t fully start getting really involved in BBYO until about mid/end of junior year, and boy, do I regret it, but even if you start late, I promise you BBYO has so many amazing opportunities for you, regardless of when you start diving in.
As I’ve grown up in BBYO I have loved getting to reflect on my times from all sorts of events whether it is chapter events, regional, international, or whatever you can think of I have always loved telling and expressing how much I loved and enjoyed each event to people., But now as my time as a senior has come, it breaks me to know that my BBYO journey is coming to an end yet it also enlightens me that I got to have the most wonderful 4 ½ years within BBYO. I am now ready to expand onto my Jewish journey with amazing tips and tools I have learned from my years within BBYO. While I may be graduating from BBYO and high school soon, BBYO will continuously play a huge role in my Jewish life whether I come back as an advisor, staff or just stay as an alumni.
BBYO has given me so many amazing opportunities and to anyone who is in BBYO and may feel stuck, not sure where or what to do, please always remember that you are truly an amazing and strong person whether you are a freshman or a senior, and no matter what you’ll always make a change in within the world and within BBYO no matter how early or late you start. :)
Submitted with an undying love for BBYO, NBS #243, all my sophomore children, and all of you, I remain Micah S.K. Pierandri.
Forever a damn proud BBG of Tulsa BBYO 🐸🐰
Micah Pierandri is a BBG living in Tulsa, Oklahoma and a she can sight read Haftorah! She loves photography and social media work, but is also a very passionate person about topics in the world.
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.
This week's Dvar Torah, tells the story of how Jacob overcame a fight with an angel. Through this parshat, we learn how important it is to stay true to our beliefs in order to persevere through times of hardship.
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