How Cupcakes Brought My Chapter Together

April 6, 2022
Harley Dichter

Harrison, New York, United States

Class of 2022

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While watching “Cupcake Wars” in December of 2020, I longed for the days of in-person activities with my friends, like baking. Lack of social interaction was a challenge that affected all aspects of our lives. School was remote and I couldn't see my friends and relatives, but each week I’d connect with fellow members of my BBYO chapter where I am the chapter S’ganit.

Since 2017, BBYO’s meetings, social events, community service missions, and religious activities have been an integral part of my life. I’ve been successful in building the chapter from five members to 40 over the past four years by mixing light, fun programs with more serious explorations of identity and religion in a safe and welcoming environment. BBYO is incredibly important to me, and I missed our spontaneous and fulfilling in-person meetings.  

Inspired by “Cupcake Wars,” I decided to host an interactive Zoom meeting with a hands-on activity. So I masked up and headed to my local grocery store to purchase frosting, cupcake mix, and toppings. Then, I prepared personalized bags with different colors of frosting and candy toppings. I baked 75 cupcakes, packaged them, and delivered an “activity bag” to each BBYO member. On the Zoom, we had an interactive decorating contest.

Twice a month, it’s my job to develop an engaging BBYO program that fosters a sense of sisterhood—but this particular week’s creative format was entirely new for everyone. I spent hours crafting a script, adjusting the rules of “Cupcake Wars” for our remote setting, preparing and delivering cupcake bags, and most importantly, weaving Jewish values into our baking experience. 

Despite being remote, the smiling faces of the dozens of girls on the Zoom made it the most meaningful program I’ve led for BBYO. The overwhelmingly positive responses I received on our feedback forms filled me with joy; I knew that I had brought our BBYO community together and made each girl’s days a little bit brighter during these challenging, and often isolating, times. 

The mission of BBYO is to equip teens with the tools they need to become effective leaders while making unforgettable memories and friendships. For me, as of December 2020, a cupcake will always symbolize a time in my life where I took control of a difficult situation and realized that I could really impact the lives and experiences of others.

Harley Dichter is a BBG from Hudson Valley Region and loves spending time with her 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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