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Opinion

Let There Be Love: My Journey at CLTC 1

November 12, 2019

Denver, Colorado, United States

From June 4-16, 2019, I went to Beber Camp for my first summer program, Chapter Leadership Training Conference 1 2019. I had been excited since the moment I signed up, but there were several things I had become nervous about. Firstly, four days before I left, I lost a chapter election for the first time. I had run for S’ganit and ended up getting the opportunity to serve as Mazkirah. I love the position of Mazkirah and I am so honored to have the opportunity to lead, but this loss filled me with doubts about my place amongst the leaders who would attend CLTC. Secondly, I went to CLTC as a rising junior. I knew that there would mostly be rising sophomores there, and I worried that I wouldn’t be able to learn as much because I was older and the tools that would be new to the sophomores were concepts that I was already familiar with.

Within days, both of these fears felt nonexistent. I could barely tell the difference between the sophomores and juniors, and we were all there to be better leaders, not to compare board positions. I met 70 amazing people from all across the country, learned how to better my chapter with the help of my mock chapter, Or Shemesh BBG #4288, and had an incredible amount of fun. Through chugim, chofesh, birkat, and everything in between, there were so many bonding experiences that I’ll remember forever. I learned tons of new tools and strategies to help improve my chapter, and I became a better leader and person throughout the session.

One of my favorite parts of CLTC were the Shira sessions. After a long day of programming, we would head to the Beit T’filah and scream-sing our hearts out and dance to songs like Adamah V’shamayim and our honorary session song, Ivdu. We were exhausted, but dancing to our heart’s content with 70 of our best friends made it all worth it. Our song leader, Julia, kept the energy up every night and we happily fed into it.

Each night after Shira, we’d end the day with the session song called Let There Be Love.

The lyrics were:

“Let there be love and understanding among us

Let peace and friendship be our shelter from life’s storms

Hashkiveinu, Adonai eloheinu

Hashkiveinu, l’shalom”

As I sang this song each night with my arms around my friends, I felt how much we truly loved and understood each other. We had come to Mukwonago as strangers and emerged as lifelong best friends. Even though we came from different parts of the world, we embraced our differences and came together as one. I wouldn’t have changed those 12 days for the world; they truly were the best 12 days of my life.

Tess Rittenberg is a BBG from CSGAY BBG #1210 in Rocky Mountain Region and is a choir kid that loves spooey.

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