BBYO is such a magical place. From the friendships to the experiences overall, there is something for everyone to carry with them for the rest of their respective lives. One of the crown jewels of BBYO is the annual International Convention, commonly known as IC. IC is one of the most amazing experiences one can have as it combines the close-knit bonds that are formed at the regional level and the connections from summer programs.
The Class of 2022 has been through a lot. It is obvious that going through the COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on everyone, but the sheer lack of predictability it has had on the lives of the current seniors is insurmountable. BBYO has not been immune to the unpredictability that has come with the pandemic that has claimed millions and millions of lives over the course of two years.
As a member of the Class of 2022, we have certainly been through every set of circumstances possible. As underclassmen, we were privileged to have in-person conventions and the full IC experience. Once the pandemic hit, BBYO conventions were the least of anyone’s concerns. As a global community, everyone was sure that once the pandemic passed, everything would return to normal. That was a big hurdle to cross. Seniors were forced to endure a convention that was held over BBYO On Demand last year. While coordinators did the best they could with their set of circumstances, it was simply not the same.
As the months passed by, everyone was eagerly anticipating the announcement from BBYO regarding this year’s convention status. To the joy of over two thousand teens, BBYO gave the green light for this year’s convention to be held in person in Baltimore, Maryland. For the senior class, it was set to be the culmination of years of struggle on Zoom and BBYO On Demand. Nothing compares to being in person for a convention, let alone IC, the biggest event for Jewish teens.
Upon walking through the doors of the hotel, there was a feeling in the air that was undeniable. The wait was finally over and everyone could be together again. Being a senior adds a level of uniqueness to the weekend. Knowing that this is the last time everyone will be together for this event is something that cannot be replicated. Soaking in everything is something that really becomes a goal for every senior at IC.
Another aspect of the weekend that makes it special for seniors is the level of seniority and privilege. Attending things like the senior breakfast, among other senior-only programs, really puts it into perspective just how lucky we are to be spending this time together for one final time.
One thing that I, in particular, am looking forward to is the proximity to my home. As a teen from Northern Virginia, the location of IC is something that makes a huge difference. The ability to have more representation from my own chapter is something irreplaceable and one of the biggest things I am looking forward to this weekend. Another thing that really makes this entire weekend so special is the fact that over the course of the past few years, including the virtual convention, seniors have been given the opportunity to make strong, lasting bonds over the phone. Having the opportunity to meet these people in the flesh is something no other place can offer.
The entire IC weekend is going to one that live in our memories forever. The excitement that is sitting in the air like a Greek god on a throne amongst the clouds cannot be ignored. More than anything, seniors will be hoping to soak up every single second of this convention while they have the chance to be together in this city with this group of people, in an atmosphere created by this great organization.
Marc Goldstein is an Aleph from NRE: Northern Virginia Council, and he is a triplet with two sisters who are also involved in BBYO.
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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