Being a General Member in BBYO: Why Being on Board is Overrated

November 10, 2022
Sadie Borenstein

Cherry Hill, New Jersey, United States

Class of 2024

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From before I even joined BBYO, board felt like an expectation rather than an option. Having had a brother in the region and a sister on Regional Board, older members would say things like, “I’m so excited for you to be on board!” and “I can’t wait until you’re N’siah!”. As a 7th grader who had not joined yet, this made me incredibly eager to be able to do just that: lead. But it wasn’t until I lost an election that I realized how important the other side really is. 

Being from a “BBYO family” didn’t make this whole dilemma much easier, being that I really did think board was the end-all-be-all of active membership. If I wasn’t on board, I couldn’t be an active, contributing member to my chapter, or my region for that matter. When I lost my election for the Spring Term of my sophomore year, I thought my Regional Board plans were through and I was done. When I got home (after a really delicious Korean dinner and the purchase of a new squishmallow), my mom proposed that I apply for coordinator for the next regional convention. Applications wouldn’t come out for a couple of weeks, but I thought it was a great idea. After all, it was the biggest convention of the year.

Fast forward a little bit and I got the coordinator role with another person. While working on this convention with our committee, there were chapter events. I was honestly scared to go because, for the first time in 2 years, I had no hand in planning the event and no information from the board group chat. It felt like I was going in blind. But, when I got there, I realized something.

The new members I had recruited as Morah were there, my friends were there, and everything was the same as it had been before. People still asked me for directions during a program even though I had no clue what we were supposed to do, and it felt like people still looked up to me. In fact, younger and older members alike congratulated me on my coordinator role, which I never would have been able to do if it weren’t for what had happened at elections.

This experience changed my mindset about leadership and BBYO in general, and the main lessons I learned that I want to pass on to you all are:

  1. Board does not define how other people see you
  2. There are ALWAYS opportunities out there for you if you want them
  3. Being a “general member” is a privilege

So do whatever you want in BBYO, run for International President or never run for board, it’s all up to YOU. And never be ashamed of not holding a leadership position, because it’s you who decides if you’re a leader, not a position.

Sadie Borenstein is a BBG living in Cherry Hill, New Jersey and she is the best at toasting golden brown marshmallows over a fire pit.

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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