Dear New Members…

December 11, 2023
Audrey Bowman

Fairfield, Connecticut, United States

Class of 2026

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Shalom, and welcome to BBYO! You have just joined an international organization of over 18,000 Jewish teenagers, and you are one of them. It might feel scary, overwhelming, or nerve-wracking to be starting something new, but I promise, most people feel the same way when they first join. However, in order to get the very most out of your BBYO experience, here are 10 pieces of advice:

  1. Try your best to meet and talk to new people. It may seem frightening to walk up to someone you don’t know and start a conversation, but everyone is in BBYO to make friends. No one will ever shut you down for saying hi because, chances are, they just want to meet new people too. 
  2. Take every opportunity you can. The worst thing you can do is say no to something and then regret it later. Everything in BBYO is designed for teenagers, by teenagers, so your best interests are always in mind. By taking all the opportunities that come your way, you never know what positives will come out of it. 
  3. Don’t be scared to ask for help. You have just joined a siblinghood full of people who want you to succeed and do your best. Part of these successes come from asking questions and getting help when you need it. Nobody will see you as weak for asking for help in order to do your best. In fact, seeking assistance is one of the strongest things a person can do.
  4. Try new things. I know it’s scary to join something new that you don’t really know about. However, BBYO also promotes personal growth and leadership. An essential part of growing is learning to come out of your comfort zone and try new things. Once you take the first step, the rest will come more naturally and easily. 
  5. Don’t give up if it doesn’t work at first. Something so special about BBYO is that it welcomes every Jewish teen with any form of Judaism. What might work for some people doesn’t always work for you. But don’t give up, because there will be so many other events with different activities and opportunities. If you give up before then, you will never know what could have happened.
  6. Embrace your Judaism. Every member and alumni in BBYO is Jewish. Although you don’t know everyone in the entire organization, you know that everyone is connected by one common factor: Being Jewish. Embrace your Judaism and hold it closely because it connects you to thousands of other people all around the globe.
  7. Get involved. For one reason or another, you joined BBYO, and there must’ve been a reason. Stay active in your chapter, region, the international order, and just your overall Jewish community. If you want to get the very most out of this experience, go to every program and event you can. If you are involved and having fun, then other people will see that and will want to join as well. 
  8. Go on summer programs! Summer programs are BBYO summer camps that combine leadership, community service, and meaningful Jewish experiences. These are international programs where you have the opportunity to meet people from all around the world while having fun and learning about Judaism and leadership. 
  9. Be yourself. This advice is typically given over and over in your life. However, sometimes, you don’t feel comfortable being yourself around your current community. BBYO is a complete and totally safe space for anyone and everyone. The main goal of this amazing organization is for everyone to just have fun while also showcasing who they are and their identity. 
  10. Have fun! It is so important to make sure you are enjoying yourself throughout your time in BBYO. Every board member, staff member, advisor, and everyone else just wants you to have a good time. Allow yourself to have a positive mindset in order to best take in what BBYO and everyone in it is giving you.

Audrey Bowman is a BBG living in Fairfield, Connecticut and she enjoys kayaking in her free time.

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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