In BBYO, you have about four years. Some of you might get a little more time, and for some, a little less. You will each have a unique journey filled with different people, memories, opportunities, lessons, goals, and adventures. While it would be naïve of me to tell you that you have complete control of your journey, you do have complete control of how you choose to navigate your journey; the people you connect with and the chances you take will guide you along the BBYO path that is most meaningful to you.
When I was a quiet Freshman who hadn’t found his voice yet, I let my fears and self-doubt keep me from taking advantage of valuable opportunities and experiences. I missed out on making the lifelong relationships and unforgettable memories I have watched my peers create by going on a BBYO summer program. I wish someone had reached out to me to show me the power of one of BBYO’s most special opportunities. I missed out on potential friendships and chances because, for a long time, I let my hesitations control my journey.
Reaching outside your comfort zone and trying everything will allow you to learn, grow, make valuable connections, and create special memories. At the end of my junior year, I was elected Regional S’gan. Four years ago, programming was miles outside of my comfort zone, but I used my drive and passion to adapt and turn my weakness into my strength. During my term, I have had the privilege of coordinating a regional convention, creating unique and memorable connections with my liaison chapter and counterparts, and using my role to make as much of a difference as I can on a chapter and regional level. After having recently planned a GAR AZA Rush Week with 18 chapter programs in one week, I now consider programming to be one of my greatest strengths.
To get more involved on a larger scale, I applied for International Leadership Network. The ILN gave me a voice as a writer for The Shofar, led me to become a member of the LGBTQ+ and Mental Health Task Forces, and gave me the unique privilege of being a Separates Captain and a member of the Journalism Team at IC 2022. None of these experiences or positions ever fell into my hands; I had to seek out these opportunities and find ways to get more involved.
While you may have full control of how you navigate your journey, you do not control everything. If you run for board, you can lose. If you apply for a leadership role, there is a possibility you will not get it. I lost elections and appointments, and amazing chances, but when you lose an election, you will learn and grow, even if it feels impossible to find the silver lining.
Despite these obstacles, I could never be happier with my time in BBYO. During my time as chapter Mazkir, I genuinely enjoyed creating flyers, sending the weekly email, running my chapter’s social media, and hosting seven chapter events. As Regional S’gan, I am grateful to have made a more significant impact and create more rich and meaningful connections. As an IC Separates Captain, I have already made special bonds with other IC leaders that will last a lifetime. These experiences have made every obstacle and loss worth it. While my time on chapter and regional board greatly enhanced my time in BBYO, it was simply coming to chapter and regional events, sleepovers, and conventions that would fill me with pure joy. That is when you make the memories you will never forget.
Before you know it, you’ll already be at the end of your journey, so make the most of it. Go to every chapter and regional event. Go on a summer program. Go to IC. Run for board. Take every opportunity. Don’t let the time fly by or let the special moments disappear. Capture it. Remember it.
And as Taylor Swift said, “Hold on to the memories, and they will hold on to you.”
Jordy Levy is an Aleph from Greater Atlanta Region and loves BBYO.
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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