As this year of BBYO rapidly reaches its close, I find myself pondering who I am as a BBG. Although this may sound silly to hear from a mere freshman in high school, I find that my growth into BBYO has been strikingly rapid, yet very much fulfilling. I would say that how I have reached into BBYO is abnormal, but is there a normal pace at which one finds themselves in this order?
All my life I have attended a Jewish Day School here in Denver, which is home to some of RMR’s greatest leaders. With that, I had heard of BBYO since I was in elementary school, as all my friends’ older siblings were in BBYO and thrived. I began rush season in early February, and two weeks later I attended IC. I was meeting all of these people on BBYO meetup and was taken aback that they were so shocked when I told them I hadn’t even been placed in a chapter yet. I had no idea how bizarre my entrance was.
I was placed in my heart and home, Leah Faye BBG #2310 in early March, and was beyond ecstatic. In May of that year, I attended RMR’s Spring Regional Convention, which was online. Besides this setback, I still began to get to know the members of my region, something vital to begin stepping into leadership.
That summer, I attended Camp BBYO, my first official step into finding who I wanted to be as a BBG. I met tons of young Alephs and BBGs throughout the order, marking them as my first inter-regional friends. One of the greatest things I have taken away from Camp BBYO is getting to watch all of my friends blossom into some of the next great leaders in the Order. I took a great risk by attending Camp BBYO’s first session, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. While I was at Perlman Camp, I first learned about the ILN. When I returned home, I wrote an expansive essay about my time at Camp BBYO, and submitted it as my application to join the Press Corps. About a month later, I received a call from the Grand Mazkir telling me I would serve as one of the Shofar’s editors-in-chief. From that moment on, I would embark on my most daring journey in the pursuit of becoming a leader in BBYO.
As I reflect upon that first call, I mark it as the moment my horizon expanded. Within three months, I was serving as one of the editors-in-chief, applied and began steering my first regional convention, applied and began steering international convention, ran for chapter board and won, and started being recognized as an up and coming leader. In a blink of an eye, it was as if I was a different person; even my friends and family recognized it. I came out of my shell, learned how to push for my goals, fight for change, and appreciate myself for who I am. I learned that I can grow and apply those stupid hobbies I have and be recognized for that talent. I learned so much about myself and what I am capable of in those simple three months.
At the beginning of the year, I finally got to apply and test myself in person when I attended IC for the second time. I served as one of the heads of the IC Journalism team, and reported on events within a few hours of them happening, like a real journalist. I had the chance to interview Imam Abdullah Antepli on interfaith relations with questions I prepared myself. And under the pressure of applying skills I had been practicing for months, I came out on top.
Now that IC is over, things are calming down in my BBYO circle. I am still editing and writing for the shofar, but I have learned to manage my time better. I serve as my chapter’s Mazkirah, and am steered RMR’s last convention: SRC 2022. Although the time planning up to IC was exhilarating, I’m thankful I now have a bit of time to binge random Netflix series or go for hikes with my friends.
As I wrote this article, I wasn’t quite sure how I wanted to approach my reflection (one of my weaknesses in writing is I never make a plan beforehand). But it is now strikingly clear: I want to talk openly about where I fall short and how I want to improve, as well as one person who has made this all possible.
As stated before, I never have a plan when I approach writing, among other things. I find myself constantly making decisions on the spot regarding my chapter, press corps when I steer, and so many other aspects of my life. I think I need to have a better grasp on what I desire for my accomplishments. I say this knowing full well that tomorrow Ryan Ladd expects me to lead a Press Corps meeting, and that I will not have a plan for it until minutes before the meeting starts.
As for the person that made it all possible, the man himself, I find that I would be nowhere in my journey in BBYO without Ryan Ladd, the head of the International Press Corps. When assembling the 2021-2022 Leadership Team, Ryan collected some of the most outstanding juniors and seniors with years of experience under their wings, and a new freshman, fresh off of just joining BBYO, who had no idea what she was getting herself into. Without Ryan, I find that none of my accomplishments would have been possible. For that, I will always be thankful.
One of my greatest discoveries from joining BBYO is the absurd amount of midnight grilled cheeses I make. So with that, I leave this article to cook one.
Watch my interview with Imam Antepli here.
Heather Kletzky is a BBG from Rocky Mountain Region and loves to travel!
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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