How BBYO Leadership Has Impacted Me

August 31, 2023
Justin Ferstein

Buffalo Grove, Illinois, United States

Class of 2025

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BBYO provides leadership opportunities for every Jewish teen. This year was the year where I took chances and grew as a leader, and I couldn’t be happier.

Until Fall 2022, I had been a general member of my local AZA chapter until I took a chance and ran for my first-ever chapter board position, Mazkir. The term started with our annual opening barbecue, tons of board get-togethers, more fun programs, and connecting with all my favorite regional friends. Really quickly, my friends and co-board members turned into my brothers. That term, I successfully handled my chapters' social media platforms and communication as I posted 2-3 times per week, worked with my regional counterpart, and even sent out monthly parent emails. Putting in the effort towards my chapter is when I realized how special BBYO opportunities like partaking on the chapter board genuinely are and what BBYO truly meant to me.

When the term closed, I took time to reflect on how to get more involved with BBYO leadership through the chapter board and regional opportunities. In December 2022, at our regional Invite Convention, I got to steer a program for teens in my region to enjoy. Later that month, I became my chapter's S'gan, a feat I'm still proud of today. Fast forward to January 2023, after a successful first month of chapter programming, I was selected to lead a mock chapter at my region's first annual New Member Convention! This position was an honor, as I got to expand and teach 8th graders and first-year students about AZA and spread my enthusiasm for BBYO to incoming leaders.

Finally, it was February, and I had arrived at IC 2023 after waiting for months! With the International Convention being my first international experience, I had the time of my life. I was able to connect with people around the globe, learn about BBYO international leadership opportunities, further my connections with regional friends, and even explore my true Jewish identity. After IC, I had the best regional BBYO convention of my life. I had been elected as my region's 22nd Mazkir and even got the opportunity to coordinate my first-ever convention! I even extended my BBYO sprint through the summer by enrolling in a BBYO Passport Israel Journey trip to meet new international friends and to further my Jewish identity.

BBYO has allowed me to pursue leadership opportunities like no other and helped me grow and mature as a person and an Aleph. This past year has made me realize how lucky I am to have BBYO and how correct everybody is when they say to get involved in BBYO, as it truly is life-changing. Now, I'm ready and excited to continue onto the 2023-2024 year in a leadership position I could never be more grateful for and the best friends I could ask for!

Justin Ferstein is an Aleph living in Chicago, IL and loves his friends.

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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