Like many other Jewish teens, I went to a Jewish summer camp for many years. However, as I got older, I grew out of the summer camp experience. Going into my sophomore year I wanted to do something new. I thought I would go on a teen tour and meet many friends. Mid-march I realized I wanted to continue the camp experience along with the Jewish identity part of summer camp. That’s when I realized that BBYO had multiple summer programs to choose from including ILTC, CLTC, International Kallah, and BBYO Passport. I had no clue what any of these were so I did some research and talked to friends. Shortly I found out that CLTC was a Chapter Leadership Training Conference, which was BBYO’s hands-on leadership experience for current 9th and 10th-grade members. At that moment I realized CLTC was the best fit for me.
After a long and fulfilling two weeks at Camp Poyntelle, I knew that I had made friends and memories that would last a lifetime. Some of my favorite memories include Shabbat photos, creating chapters, and daily services. On the first day we arrived at Camp Poyntelle we were split up into groups where we created a chapter name, logo, and a mascot. Every other day we would meet with our mock chapter where we discussed skills, group bonding, and did peer/individual learning. CLTC was about learning skills to bring back to your chapter and region to make it the best it can be. I remember every morning after breakfast we would go chill in the amphitheater and sing our hearts out to fun Jewish prayers. Before CLTC I hated going to services because it always felt so boring for me. Never less, after singing the same songs and prayers for 14 days straight you get used to it and over time it becomes fun. You realize that everyone comes from a different Jewish identity and somehow we all manage to come together for the same reason. With the two Shabbats, I got to experience at CLTC, I learned to embrace Shabbat and started to go to my congregations Friday night and Saturday morning services. I got to learn about my fellow peers' traditions and celebrations.
In the fall of 2021, I had just learned about the International Convention of ‘22, but there was no need for me to go. Soon after I would learn that there was a reason for me to go in 2023. From the minute I got home from CLTC I realized that there was one chance I would get to see my friends who lived across the country from me. We all knew that in February of 2023 we would have the opportunity to reunite at IC.
Some of the closest friends I had made lived within 2 hours or less of me. I live in Pennsylvania and some of them live in Long Island, New York, Baltimore, or even New Jersey. Still, I did make friends who live all the way across the country in Denver, North Carolina, and Michigan. Although I wish I could just hop on a plane and see them, it’s not that easy. The memories we made together will last forever. CLTC was one of the best summers of my life. It was only a short two weeks, but I learned so much about my Jewish identity, who I am, and ways to help my chapter and region. I learn skills that could make me a better person in life and a better leader within my BBYO community.
Noa Litcofsky is a BBG living in Merion Station Pennsylvania, and she plays field hockey.
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.
We, the teen leadership of the Aleph Zadik Aleph and the B’nai B’rith Girls, on behalf of BBYO worldwide, stand in solidarity with the Black community, and all communities of color.
Read the latest from the 78th Anita M. Perlman International N’siah
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