After countless quarantines, lockdowns, and stay-at-home orders, Keystone Mountain Region was finally able to have its first in-person convention in over a year, and I was one of the two coordinators.
Regionals; the last convention of the year. It’s the last hurrah before summer, before the regional board passes the torch off to the new board, and before the seniors go off to college. As KMR’s 32nd Regional S’ganit, my counterpart and I, along with our wonderful regional director, were in charge of the coordinating and steering committees. A lot went into the planning process, but our main priority was keeping everyone safe throughout the weekend while still having fun.
We were able to have our convention at a camp owned by our local JCC, which had tons of outdoor spaces and vented indoor spaces, those of which allowed for easy social distancing. We were lucky that the weather stayed nice throughout the weekend, aside from the wind that was not working with us during Friday night services. Although, we did have those classic Pittsburgh gray skies all weekend, seeing all those smiling KMR faces that light up a room was enough sunshine for me.
The weekend consisted of Friday night services, fun advocacy programs, separates, togethers, a movie night, delicious meals, field games, and of course, regional elections. I had the stress of both planning the whole weekend and also preparing to run for regional board simultaneously. However, my hard work paid off because I won Regional S’ganit (again)! I am so excited that I’ll be able to plan the same convention again for next year and make it even better than this year.
We wanted to make the weekend as special as possible for our graduating seniors, and I personally wanted to do just that for my co, Zev, who will soon be graduating. This was his time to celebrate all the hard work he has put into his past 4 years of BBYO, especially the work he put into this convention. I am so glad that we were able to pull it off and have a meaningful time with our community, including both new members and old ones.
KMR is one of the smallest BBYO regions, and I couldn’t be more proud to call it home. The great thing about having such a small region, besides becoming so close to everyone that you feel like family, is that we were able to have an almost fully in-person convention just around a year after a deadly pandemic swept through the nation. Although nothing in our world will ever be normal again, this was the closest most of us have felt to normalcy in a very long time, and we were very, very grateful.
If there is anything I’ve learned throughout this past year of being on regional board and operating almost entirely virtually, it’s that BBYO is incredibly resilient. Not long after COVID-19 was declared an official pandemic in the United States, BBYO On Demand was launched. There is nothing that gets in our way that we cannot work through. I have learned so many useful skills this year that I maybe wouldn’t have otherwise learned. I can’t wait to head into this next term with endless possibilities in front of us. Regionals gave me hope for the future of KMR, and I can’t wait to work with the new regional board to accomplish great things. KMR is back and better than ever.
Jess Daninhirsch is a BBG from Keystone Mountain Region who loves journalism, photography, art, music, and dance.
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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