When I ran for chapter Shlicha at the end of my Freshman year in BBYO and lost, I cried as if it felt like I had just lost a family member. I felt like my time in BBYO was done, but in reality it was not. I only went to four chapter events total during the 2018-2019 school year (yes, you read that right), which goes to show that I did not enjoy being a general member during that year.
Although I was sad, other opportunities such as Press Corps and IC Steering began to come my way. I had wanted to be a journalist since the age of 12, and since I wanted to stand out on college applications with journalism experience in high school, I knew that press corps would be the perfect fit for me.
When reading my press corps acceptance email, I could not have been more thrilled! I was so excited to kick off my journey to becoming a journalist. Fast forward to my senior year (now), I have been on press corps every year since sophomore year. Even though I applied for leadership positions in press corps that I ultimately did not get, press corps has been my ultimate positive from something negative!
Let’s time travel back to summer 2019. I attended BBYO’s International Kallah at B’nai B’rith Perlman Camp in Pennsylvania. I had unregistered previously, but I re-signed up last minute. After going to Kallah, making my best friends, and having the time of my life, the journey made me rethink my decision of taking my BBYO break.
My junior year, I came back to SO many events and conventions, and I didn’t even care about losing an election anymore. When the COVID-19 shutdown hit and BBYO On Demand launched, I still went to SO many virtual BBYO events through the platform. I knew I did something right by coming back!
When I applied to be a co-chair of the All Abilities Inclusion Task Force for this school year for BBYO, I was nervous that I wasn’t going to get it. As an Autistic person, this is an issue that is personal to me. I was also really nervous that the task force would be led by people who didn’t have different abilities and would function just like a neurotypical person.
Then, on a random Thursday afternoon in early September, I was filling out college applications with my mom. All of a sudden, I got a phone call from Kelly Fagel, the current International Shlicha. She Told me I had been selected to be a co-chair of the All Abilities Inclusion Task Force for this year.
Let that sink in: I was just selected for my first (and only) leadership position in BBYO. I felt a sense of pride and joy. I would not be where I am today without years of hard work. For me, there is always happiness at the end of the rainbow.
Having never served in a board position myself, I still found leadership experiences in BBYO. I steered conventions, launched my career in journalism, and had conversations with my friends on issues of the past and present.
In the end, I felt much more relaxed and free over the fact that I never had a board position. They don’t make you any less popular. I still feel loved, accepted, cared about, and included in BBYO. I have made my absolute best friends, and I wouldn’t be who I am without them.
Perri Schwartz is a BBG from B’yachad BBG #2495 in Greater Atlanta Region #55. She has photographic memory, loves to fight for what she belives in, and hopes to be a professional journalist.
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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