An Interview with a Chapter Advisor: Learn More About Their Role in BBYO!

March 18, 2021
Sarah Eisenberg

East Meadow, New York, United States

Class of 2022

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Although BBYO is a teen-led organization, the teen leaders and chapters still owe a lot to their advisors. Besides just being there to supervise events, advisors help their chapter boards come up with ideas and discuss logistics for events, shuk, and more. Whether they used to be a part of BBYO, have relations with current BBYO members, or simply found out about the organization and decided to help out, our advisors are honorary members of the chapters that they provide so much help for!

Advisor Appreciation month is in March, but we should appreciate them for all twelve months of the year! Recently, with applications for the David Bittker Unsung Hero Award, I have been thinking more about my own chapter advisor Jessica. The David Bittker Unsung Hero Award is for advisors who demonstrate David’s qualities: integrity, humility, dedication and hard work. Those words fit Jessica completely. She has been our advisor for the majority of my BBYO life and made being a part of this organization even better.

Jessica chose to become our chapter advisor as our past advisor was stepping down, and she has done an amazing job at helping Masada BBG stay strong and grow within our region. I have worked with her these past two years on chapter board. She always helps us to lead and manage events by giving us helpful tips or advice, and is always there to bring a different view to the conversation. Some advisors do not need to be as involved, but Jessica’s guidance is always wanted and we enjoy having her as a part of our chapter. She helps us to stay strong.

I have known her my entire life, and have become even closer to her thanks to BBYO; so naturally, I wanted to learn more about her work as an advisor and get her point of view on her experience as an adult in BBYO. So, at our last board meeting, I asked her a couple of questions.

1. How long have you been involved with BBYO (as an advisor or not)?

“My first experience with BBYO was as a parent. My oldest daughter joined BBYO and started attending events in 2015.”

2. What caused you to become an advisor?

“When my oldest daughter was a high school junior and my youngest daughter was in 8th grade, they were both involved with BBYO. The leader of their BBG group decided she would be stepping down at the end of the following year. She asked me to be a co-advisor with her for a year, and then take over when she stepped down. I knew how much BBYO meant to my daughters, and how positive their experiences were with the order on a local, regional, and international level. I wanted Masada BBG to continue to thrive and to infuse a new generation of BBGs with passion for this organization and all it has to offer.”

3. What is your favorite part about being a chapter advisor?

“I love watching my BBGs mature and grow and become amazing leaders. I am amazed by their creativity and their comfort and ease using various social media platforms.”

4. Was there anything you experienced as an advisor that you did not expect from the start when you chose to become an advisor?

“I wasn’t prepared for my emotional response watching Shabbat and Havdallah services at regional events and international conventions. I literally get goosebumps and tears in my eyes seeing all the teens singing and dancing and joyfully praying together. It’s intensely moving.”

5. How have you worked with your chapter/chapter board to function best?

“Our chapter board is pretty self-sufficient. At the beginning of the year, as the board members are new to their positions, I generally jump in with follow-up questions during board meetings if I feel something hasn’t been addressed. But after the first few meetings, my role changes to one of observation and support. With respect to the chapter, I’m like a den mother. I greet everyone at the beginning of programs, I catch up with each member about what’s going on in their lives and reach out to them if they’re going through something difficult.”

Some of this information I already knew (such as why she joined and how she is an AMAZING HELP TO OUR CHAPTER), but it was interesting to learn more about her perspective of BBYO and our chapter. I hope you all enjoyed learning about Jessica’s role as an advisor as much as I enjoyed writing about it. Make sure to appreciate your advisors year-round! They are part of the foundation of BBYO and help us thrive.

Sarah Eisenberg is a BBG from Masada BBG #1519 in New York; she swims on a year round-team and loves watermelon.

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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