At the end of March, we had our last regional Convention and as a member of the regional board and a senior, I gave my BBYO lives. BBYO has truly made me who I am today and here are some of those stories and memories.
My first BBYO event was actually one I was not supposed to be at; it was a pool party for upperclassmen of BBYO and as a 7th grader, my friend and I were very much the odd men out, but they told us their stories of their new amazing experiences with BBYO (as they were the founders of this chapter only the year before) and how they were excited for what BBYO had in store for Naples.
CLTC was my first real look at how big BBYO is. I had made the choice to go to a CLTC when there was not another teen from my region. While I was there I had to push myself to reach out and meet all new people. CLTC was really one of the first steps in BBYO the made me a better leader, no longer a shy and complacent member. Some of my closest friends who I only maybe see once a year but talk to on a daily basis are these CLTC friends, specifically one of those friends would have to be Brooke Singer, another would be Maya Klapper.
ILTC was such an amazing experience beyond expanding upon my leadership skills, I found some of my closest friends and got closer with other friends. ILTC also let me have the chance to realize how my BBYO community was really my family. My grandmother's first Yahrzeit fell during the second week, and there was always someone there for me to talk to. Some of these friends who I can talk to about anything are Ilana Kaplan, Lilly Saiontz, Natalia Paley Whitman, Michelle Tanner, and Jaron Rykiss. I was also able to get closer with one of my already best friends from home, Glenn Randall!
International Convention is by far one of the coolest BBYO experiences I have been able to go to. First, in Orlando which is in my current region, it was so amazing to be apart of the hosting delegation, being apart of the LEADS Day team and Press Corps team, I had the opportunity to lead an amazing program and meet some of my personal idols. A few highlights would be meeting Josh Peck, leading a program where we went to Pulse and talked about current and past LGBT+ issues, and reconnecting with CLTC friends who I hadn't seen in over a year. Next, going to Denver which is right near where I actually grew up was a very nice full circle moment for myself, again I was able to meet amazing people like Adam Rippon and Alon Shaya, while overall having a great time. I was able to try something new with Press Corps and be apart of the live stream team. I also had the honor of running for Grand Aleph Godol and though I did not win, it was an honor to run and I wish Ethan and Emily and the rest of the board the best of luck in this next year.
In NFR, we have 3 Regional conventions: JEI (formerly Kallah), MIT/AIT/LTI, and SRC. At each of these conventions, I have met some of my best friends who I am able to see on a daily or weekly basis. These builders (our regional mascot) are my true family and community. It is thanks to teens in this community that truly inspired me to be a better person and a better leader. Without NFR and BBYO, I would most likely still be a very shy and quiet guy, but it’s thanks to them that I found the strong young Jewish leader that I am.
Over the past 5 years I have gotten a lot of BBYO memorabilia and here is that list
15 Name Tags
11 Sweatshirts/Quarter zips
8 Water Bottles
7 Blue books
5 Birkat cards
5 Drawstring bags
4 Inductions candles
4 IC Program guides
3 BBYO bracelets
3 Paper plate awards
3 Prayer books
2 Fidget cube/spinners
2 Deck of cards
2 Red books
2 Construction vests
1 Tote bag
1 Stress ball
1 Bow tie
1 Guy fieri
1 Electric guitar
1 Wooden plank
1 Piece of Ceramic art
1 Fire extinguisher
Soo many dead trees Including 45 different platforms
And absolutely 0 regrets
*disclaimer if I didn't mention your name I am so sorry but hey I can't write everyone I met in BBYO!
Fraternally submitted with undying love for,
CLTC 2016, ILTC 2018, 6th/7th/8th/9th/12th Chapter Boards, 14th/15th Regional Boards, CLTC 2016, ILTC 2018, Negev AZA #2560, North Florida Region #52, and the Grand Order of the Aleph Zadik Aleph
I forever remain Aleph Jacob Cooper Klein
Jacob Klein is an Aleph from North Florida Region and is excited to return to his hometown of Denver this year at IC 2019.
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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