Dear New Member...

May 10, 2019
Brooke Levitt

Orlando, Florida, United States

Class of 2019

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Dear Newest Member,

Hello! Welcome to the best years of your life. Just a short 4 ½ years ago I was exactly where you were, lost, confused, and had no idea what I just got myself into. I went to a chapter sleepover as my first event scared yet eager.I did not know what to do or how to feel. At one point beforehand I felt like I needed to try to be someone else because I wasn’t going to fit in, but I was totally wrong. At MIT/AIT/LTI 2015, I felt a part of something bigger than myself I felt like I just found my second family.

They say from the outside, you can’t understand it, and from the inside you can’t explain it but at ILTC 2017, I finally got it. It was late at night, the last Havdallah. The air was somber yet undeniably empowering. We stood around the infamous Perlman tree, awaiting the last song we would all do together, and a sense of pride for our sisters and brother was amidst the air. It was then and there I realized the impact BBYO has on oneself.

My main piece of advice is to go to an International Convention and/or summer program at least once! From CLTC to Perlman Summer to ILSI to Passport and beyond, there is definitely a program for you. My last three summers I have spent at different BBYO Summer Experiences. And it is, by far, the best decision I have ever made. Whether it was tie-dyeing t-shirts with my mock chapter, Elie Wiesel BBG, at CLTC 5 2016, dancing the night away when BBYO reached 20,000 members at ILTC, celebrating 75 years of BBG with 5,000 other Jewish teens, or hiking up Masada at 4 in the morning on ILSI. Summer programs are my favorite part about BBYO. Summer programs are where I met my lifelong best friends, learned so much about my potential to impact the world, went on crazy adventures, and made memories that will last a lifetime. I highly encourage each and every one of you to go sign-up for a BBYO summer program to learn, grow, have the time of your life, and meet your best friends.

There might be a time that you want to run for a leadership position, whether that might be on the chapter, regional/council, or international level. But always remember that BBYO wasn’t about the chance of winning an election, it was about what actions you take to make your chapter and region better. You can sit with a title and do nothing you can be a general member and make that one person love BBYO as much as you do. A title doesn’t represent your worth. If you fall, stand up and keep pursuing what you love.

Finally, your BBYO experience is entirely up to you. If you don’t like something change it. If you want to elevate your chapter or region, go on a summer program and learn about how to improve and lift it up. If you want to get that person signed up for BBYO, host them until they give in. If you want that board position, run for it. You are in complete control of what your BBYO experience turns out to be.

Brooke Levitt is a BBG from North Florida Region and loves to eat fruit.

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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