If you’ve asked anyone about BBYO, you have probably already heard how vast it is. BBYO expands to over 50 countries with so many regions and even more Jewish teens. How can one organization be so big? You sit in awe of how many people are able to come together over one main commonality: Judaism. Then you meet your best friends and gain experiences that change your life for the better. But it’s easy to feel lost in such a massive group, especially in a smaller region with an even smaller chapter.
My chapter started out with seven people; just a few Jewish teens wanting to be a part of something. In the west valley of Arizona, the Jewish population pretty much consists of everyone at my Temple (which is pretty small too). Our founder and first N’siah, Madelon Maschmier, worked to make our Sunday hangouts into something more official. Emek Hama’aravi BBYO was born. Our small chapter has grown with our first Aleph joining in 2021 and only being one member away from permanent chapter status. However, a one to six hour drive away is the rest of Mountain Region ranging from Scottsdale to Tucson, Salt Lake City, Utah, and even Las Vegas, Nevada. But the distance makes it hard to connect with the rest of the region, or even the rest of BBYO. Our chapter’s attendance at programs consists of mostly just a few people. But even at times when it felt like we were a lost cause, there has never been any hesitation from anyone in the region to reach out and help.
Our chapter is so lucky to be in Mountain Region. With so much support from the regional board, advisors, and staff, we have been able to accomplish so many goals through the years. From meeting and surpassing membership goals for programs or increasing the number of 8th graders at programs, I am proud to say Emek Hama’aravi BBYO isn’t so small anymore. Although Mountain Region has put in their best efforts to help with anything we need, resources for small chapters are still quite limited. Not everyone knows what it's like to be such a small chapter within a big group. We still stand quite alone and have to always be loud and proud to make ourselves known. WEST VALLEY, BEST VALLEY! Chants at every event, every program, everywhere. Emek Hama’aravi BBYO, although small, has fought for our spot in the international order. For such little fish in a big BBYO sea, we sure make an impact. As a sea has multiple kinds of creatures there are almost endless possibilities on how you can experience BBYO. No fish is better than the other, they are just different and that diversity is what makes the sea so beautiful.
Hannah Stojanovski is a BBG from Peoria, Arizona and she is a competitive dancer.
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.
This week's parsha describes the worship of the golden calf, and the selfishness of the act. Parshat Ki Tisa is important because it shows how our actions can be used to help or harm others, and how we can make a greater impact on others through our actions.
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