My Experience Going On CLTC This Summer And How It Changed Me

March 20, 2024
Sam Toledano

Oceanside, New York, United States

Class of 2026

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I went on CLTC 3 in 2023 and 6 months later, here’s how it has changed me and helped me since.

This summer going to CLTC made 2023 the best summer and coming home and being able to share what I learned is amazing on so many different levels. Here’s my experience.

CLTC was truly amazing. If you ask anyone who went, they will tell you how great it was on a million different levels from the fun and engaging programs to the camp activities we did to the meaningful Judaic practices and topics brought up to the amazing people and staff. I brought so much back from it which helped me on so many different levels so here they are.

First, on my own chapter level. While at CLTC, so much training is chapter based including mock chapters with chapter elections, workshops creating calendars, making up our own events, learning about budgeting, gaining new members, planning Shabbat services, and even learning to work with our advisors. All of this is so key to a strong chapter and by having all of these skills, not only was I able to help build up my chapter, but it also enabled me to teach it to others to keep the chapter thriving.

Next in my region. Throughout CLTC I had the chance to meet so many new people that I'm still so close with today. When I arrived I knew no one, but less than 2 minutes after arriving I had already made some of my closest friends. This was nerve-wracking at first but being able to practice these skills helped me to meet new people throughout my region and be overall more comfortable and confident with my talking skills. Overall I am able to connect more with people and just know to take chances because you never know who’s going to become your new best friend. 

Next on an international level. First is all the friends I have made throughout the order. I talk to my friends almost every day counting down to IC where I can meet up with them again and I seriously can’t wait. Meeting all these new people and creating all these connections is amazing as with them I’m able to create even more connections with people around the order and I can’t wait to create even more. Another thing that impacted me greatly was the prominence of international experiences such as IC and the ILN. Focusing on the ILN which was greatly talked about and promoted during my time at CLTC, I applied and am now on BBYO’s Press Corps Team which I am currently writing for IC Press Corps, a bunch of international clubs, and on the IC Shabbat team where I’m leading a Friday night service! This wouldn’t be possible without CLTC which helped me gain confidence to even apply in the first place and is something I’m so grateful for.

Lastly, even outside of BBYO. My time at CLTC was amazing, filled with so much fun including all the leadership training I mentioned but also your average camp activities such as swimming and boating on the lake, making art, music and so much more. Throughout it all I also felt a greater connection to Judaism.  Having a lot of Judaic aspects every day was incredibly important such as prayer services, saying prayers before and after meals, baking Challah, learning Israeli dances, and singing so many Jewish songs daily where after learning it all connected me to my Judaism immensely more and a lot of these I have brought back home and now practice myself!

Overall, from CLTC I gained so much knowledge and confidence for the order but also outside of BBYO which could never be replaced. If you’re thinking about going on a summer program, this is your sign to do it, it’s an experience of a lifetime and I promise you won’t regret it!

Sam is a BBG from New York, and she likes to do art and make and listen to music.

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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