As we find out new information about COVID-19, and new variants form, pandemic ‘rules’ are constantly changing, especially here in Toronto, where the members of Lake Ontario Region (LOR), including me, are located. We have had to constantly adapt to changes in what is open, where we can go, and what precautions to be taken. This has also affected us in BBYO, as we have to follow the rules set by not only the government but also our local community centers and hosts. While this was a challenge to start, LOR was able to be more creative than ever, and have consistent and enjoyable activities.
At the start of the pandemic, we made the switch to BBYO on demand, where we had entirely virtual programming. We were able to host tons of incredible chapter and regional programs with tons of wow-factors we would have never had in-person, and lots of fun deliveries to our members' homes so they could enjoy all the classic things we love in BBYO. Then, we got to have some outdoor-only chapter programs, before heading back online due to rising cases and the cold Toronto winter. Not knowing what was going to come next for LOR was difficult, but 2020-2021 really helped us be more innovative and design programs that worked in all sorts of environments.
Then, for this 2021-2022 programming year, we started out with in-person programming just like pre-pandemic times, only with masks of course. It was so exciting to come back together after so long, and every chapter has been doing a great job with fun weekly programming. We have been taking advantage of being back in person and treasuring every moment since we don’t know what could come next for us. We also had lots of great regional events like a carnival fall kickoff in person! Now, with the rise of the new Omicron variant and COVID cases going up again in Toronto, we don’t know what could come next. It’s possible we have to go back online, it’s possible we stay the way we are, and we might start hybrid BBYO like so many others around the world!
It can be really challenging to feel unprepared in BBYO, especially since the pandemic is completely out of our control, but this is also a great lesson on adapting to new circumstances. LOR has learned how to create ideas that work in all sorts of formats and change our plans on a dime. These are skills that can be used all throughout life, not just in BBYO and not just in a pandemic. If where you are is having constant changes like Toronto, take it as an opportunity to learn about planning programs in all sorts of formats! It is a great way to get involved in BBYO and take away new skills.
Leah Stein is a BBG from Lake Ontario Region who loves to crochet and play her ukulele.
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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