Recruitment is one of the hardest parts of leadership in BBYO. Whether it’s finding new members for our chapters or recruiting for summer programs and international events, the entire board has to put plenty of effort into the process. As the Mazkirah of my chapter, I have worked with my board, and by myself, to try and garner sign ups for activities in the time of COVID. And I’m not going to lie—it hasn't been easy. Getting people to pay for BBYO and online programs, or, as most refer to them, “a Zoom link,” has taken hours of research, persuasion, and sometimes I just have to downright bother them. I had never heard the phrase “Why would I pay $200 for a Zoom link?” before this past year. Now I can’t stop hearing it. But this isn’t just a Zoom link—it is about being a part of the Movement.
What many don’t realize is that the money you are paying for IC isn’t just going towards a Zoom link. It’s going to pay staff and speakers, your swag pack, and all the new technology needed for the weekend. And scholarships are always available! Many times people can’t seem to grasp this, and that’s sometimes a barrier you just can’t get around. But, for the ones who have joined us during the pandemic, they can already see the value that BBYO brings to their high school experience.
Recruiting for IC presented a challenge unlike any other recruitment I have witnessed. For chapter programs, you don’t always have a fee and you are guaranteed to do something you love, because you’ve done it before, and your friends are there. Regional Convention isn’t a new experience for many members. Because of this, sign ups are easier to get, as it doesn’t seem so daunting. International Convention, on the other hand, is a huge event for BBYO. Pre-Covid, IC is the event of the year. Younger members look at photos, wondering when they would form those kinds of friendships, meet speakers and influencers, and bond with other Jewish teens around the world. Now, those types of experiences seem so far away. After months of virtual events and remote learning, spending any more time on a computer seems hard to do. We know what to expect from virtual events—and there are certain things that we expect from IC. Do those two things line up in any sense of the way? During recruiting, it’s our job to show that we can make friends and have fun, even if screen time is not what we originally imagined.
Even after IC starts, we look back and wonder if we could have done more. Five members of Hakotel are at IC right now, but could we have upped that number? Knowing what we know now, what methods of persuasion would we have used? Even though we might have some Recruitment Regrets, this experience will only better our abilities and make next year’s IC recruitment the best yet.
Sydney Levine is a BBG living on Long Island, New York who is obsessed with bucket hats.
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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