Coordinating the Wildest Weekend on the West Coast

December 1, 2023
Leah Berger

Calabasas, California, United States

Class of 2024

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On November 10, 2023, a weekend that would change my life forever began. After two crazy months of hours filled with preparation, I got the honor of coordinating my region’s Battle of the Cabins 2023 alongside my incredible co, Ethan Larocque. 

Pacific Western Reigon’s Battle of the Cabins, often recognized as BOTC, is a weekend every fall that our region spends together bonding while also competing for a varying title, this year being the “coveted golden horseshoe.” In early September, our theme was unanimously decided on by our regional director, Jillian, Ethan, and me to be Wild West Coast! Going into planning, we three had countless ideas for the weekend that just kept growing as we sat with the theme in between our Monday calls. Each week on our calls, we’d discuss big moments, programming, logistics, and separates. This sounds easy on the surface level, but trust me, even with the help of three extremely well-rounded people, we’d get stuck multiple times.

When the convention rolled around, people texted and approached me, asking if I was ready. My answer was always, “I don’t know.” While, of course, I felt prepared for a weekend that Ethan and I had spent months envisioning, I just felt anxious. My head was filled with “what ifs.” What if people didn’t have fun? What if this doesn’t turn out how we want it to? What if I can’t speak in front of people? What if we’re missing supplies? Though I have steered a regional convention before, everything felt so new to me. 

As people started arriving on Friday afternoon, after a long day of decorating, practicing scripts, and putting the final touches on programs, everything started to feel real. I wandered around camp, ready to see my vision come to life finally. Opening ceremonies started just around five p.m. and surprisingly went really well! Ethan and I energetically kicked off the weekend by introducing what members would spend their weekend battling for; everyone sounded just as excited as we were. 

After a night filled with spectacular Shabbat programming led by our Regional Shlichim, Noa, and Reuben, we transitioned into one of the biggest programs that I planned for the weekend, separates. My ultimate goal while crafting my BBG separates for the weekend was to make a meaningful yet uplifting program that somehow could tie into our convention’s Wild West theme. I decided to dive deep into the well-known and heartfelt novel Charlotte’s Web. While I’d prefer to keep the special program between the PWR BBGs and me, one thing I will say is that it turned out just as I wanted it to.

The weekend flew by. Ethan and I spent the day roaming to see our region, enjoying our steerers and our hard work. The feeling of knowing that you’ve created such special memories for about 200 teens is truly unlike anything else. Planning this convention really gave me an opportunity to lead and quickly problem-solve in new ways that I would have never known before. On Saturday night, the steerers, regional board, Ethan, and I sat in our leadership lounge reflecting on the weekend. Half asleep or not, proud of ourselves is an understatement. I know I can speak for all of us when I say that I was genuinely impressed with myself and how I did this as a 17-year-old while applying for dozens of colleges at the same time.  

As I lay here on this Monday morning with no voice, I smile, knowing that BBYO has helped me become the leader that I was truly born to be.

Leah is a BBG from D'vash BBG #956, Pacific Western Region, and her favorite color is pink.

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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