In-Person vs. Online Programing

December 4, 2020
Shayna Kotler

North Potomac, Maryland, United States

Class of 2022

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The Coronavirus has really put a toll on many things for everyone. It not only killed many people but also didn’t allow for the seniors of 2020 to have proper graduation and made it harder for everyone to see our friends and family. BBYO also had to make many changes. Thankfully we were capable of having a successful transition from in-person to virtual programming in March. As we all know in some areas COVID cases are currently worse than others, which has allowed some regions to be able to have socially distant programs whiles some have to remain online for the time. I interviewed three different people from three very different states about what precautions their regions have to maintain successful programs, recruitment, and opportunities.

I first interviewed Zoe Green-Mizel, a sophomore from Pacific Western Region (PWR) who is S’ganit of her chapter. She informed me that they still have been doing mostly online programming. At the moment PWR is unsure when they will be able to return to normal in-person programming or even socially distanced programming. PWR has been doing something that I find very cool which is drive-in events where they all drive into a parking lot and watch a movie together. Zoe’s chapter has been able to have fun online programs and have gotten creative by using Netflix party, making Kahoots, and other fun activities. These online programs have helped a lot with recruitment because more people were able to join the calls. The biggest problem with online programs is technical difficulties and coming up with more fun activities to do over a zoom call. Zoe was really looking forward to planning a challah bake-off program and much more.

Next, I interviewed Jenna Bloom, a senior from Northern Region East: DC Council who is Council Mazkirah. She has been doing a mix of in-person and online events. The council board started doing in-person events at the end of August, and her chapter programs have still all been online. She misses going to the Silver Diner after programs (a tradition in DC Council where after programs everyone goes to the Silver Diner and hangs out with their chapter and council friends) and it has been harder to bond with people over Zoom. Jenna’s favorite thing about in-person events is being able to see everyone because it is more special when they are together since it doesn’t happen very often. The council has still been able to do very fun online programs and events like BBGG, Zumba, and their BBG Council meeting. Jenna says that she loves in-person programs but is sad that you can only see a few people whereas online you can see and talk to everyone. She was really looking forward to planning Powderpuff, but it may be able to happen in the spring.

Lastly (but certainly not least) I interviewed Abby Kauffman, a junior from Mid America Region (MAR): Omaha Council who is S'ganit of her council. MAR has been doing in-person programs since August because the numbers fit the guidelines and they have been able to do chapter and council events because of her council’s small size. They allow 10-15 people at each program, socially distant, and wearing masks. All of the programs they have done have been outside, and they were able to do many fun programs like tie-dye and a Voice Your Vote event. Abby really enjoys being able to catch up with her friends and see them after being in quarantine for so long, and it is also good to safely get back to the way things were for a little bit. Her biggest concern is if an asymptomatic person comes to a program and doesn’t know they have the virus. At the beginning of the quarantine, all of her chapter programs were online. They were not very successful because it was mostly board members in attendance, but the switch to in-person programming was easy to make because they knew how to make it fun and engaging for all members. Abby was really looking forward to having a BBG sleepover because the bonding is very strong. Unfortunately, it can’t happen now because of COVID.

After interviewing these three amazing BBGs, I have learned that COVID will not get in the way of their experiences and goals. I know that it is very difficult right now because of the circumstances, but I know that it can only get better from here.

Shayna Kotler is a BBG from Northern Region East: DC and lives for musical theatre and making her friends happy. She also loves scrunchies.

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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