Just a few weeks ago, I attended my first ever in-person BBYO convention, Autumn Regional Kallah, ARK. In spring of 2020, I was able to attend my Spring Regional Convention, SRC. While I had a blast at this hybrid convention, I didn’t know the true magic of a convention until I stepped foot into a fully in-person one. From onegs and Shabbat services, to separates and regional inductions, I knew that I had truly found a home. Somewhere where I would always be welcomed and where I could always turn to for support.
The fun-filled weekend started off with one of my favorite parts of BBYO, Shabbat. As I stepped into my hotel room, the rush of excitement came to me. I started to get dressed up for the evening, when my best friend walked in the room. We could not contain our excitement to find out that we were rooming together. Soon after, our other two roommates came in, and we got to know them a little before heading downstairs to start Shabbat. The moment the elevator doors opened, I found myself greeted by some of my closest friends, who I hadn’t seen in a while, as well as some new people who I had never met before. The same rush of excitement traveled back into my body, only this time it was doubled. Friday night was everything I could have wished for, and more. We moved into the main room for some Kabbalat Shabbat services and soon transitioned into dinner. After a wonderful Shabbat dinner and a BBYO song session, it was time for some onegs. Some of the options included friendship bracelet making, a dance party, and a trash bag fashion show. Each option was so unique, but each was truly special. As the first night started to come to a close, I said goodnight to all my friends and headed back up to my room. My night ended with some fun bonding and games with my roommates, as well as a surprise goody bag from our regional MIT Mom.
In the morning, we were woken up by our regional board and some fun music. The day started off with some morning energizers, in which I did a meditation focusing on relaxing our bodies and thoughts. We had a fun breakfast full of pastries and cereal and moved into Shabbat services. There were a few different options for services such as a music one, a painting one, and a sports one. In the music service, we sang classic songs that corresponded to the meaning of each prayer, as well as jamming out to some extra songs at the end. From services, we headed straight into our first rotation for Shabbat programming, all led by our amazing steerers. We got split up into three groups, and my group’s first activity was IDF programming. We split into three smaller groups to represent the three branches of the IDF, and our first task was to complete an obstacle course. After the course completion, we got creative and competed to see which branch was the best. The final activity was riddle solving.
After our first rotation, we came back as a whole for a fun chapter lunch. We then continued on to our second rotation, in which we had a reflection program. We talked about our bad habits, what we can do to improve ourselves, and the goals we have. We also discussed the effect that COVID has had on our habits. We wrote our bad habits down on parchment paper, and when we put them in water, they washed away. Then, we wrote our good habits on paper towels and covered them up, but when we put them in the water, they showed through. Our final rotation was a fun Rocky Mountain Region Kahoot filled with chapter, regional, and Jewish trivia.
As the afternoon started winding down, we moved into Chofesh. Many people hung out in their rooms, other people hung out in our main program room, quesadillas were made, and many games were played. We finally headed downstairs for a pasta dinner. After dinner, we started a very eventful night. It started off with RMR Presents, a regional talent show consisting of acts from each chapter, regional board, skits, songs, and many other funny performances. We continued the night with a traditional BBYO havdalah, followed by some meaningful regional inductions. We united as B'nai B’rith Girls and discussed what being BBG means to us, as well as focusing on our strongest traits. We made bracelets for each other with different colored beads representing different traits such as passion, dedication, courage, kindness, and confidence. After inductions, we had a summer program launch party with snacks and music to get hyped for Summer 2022! Our final program of the night was BBG and AZA separates. BBG separates focused on the word “kind” and what that means to us. We finished separates with BBG and RMR spirit and headed up to our rooms.
Sunday morning, we were woken up again with fun music by the regional board and headed downstairs for some final programming. After a yummy breakfast, we wrote some ISF-O-Grams and headed into our business meeting where we passed three motions and inducted our new regional staff. Our final program of the weekend was a friendship circle, where the ISF-O-Grams were read, and we closed out with the RMR Wizard Chant.
Rocky Mountain Region’s first in-person convention in 18 months was fun, meaningful, and truly magical. I made so many new friends, created new bonds, and learned so many traditions. I had no idea how special a convention could be, but it exceeded my expectations. If you have the opportunity to go to a regional convention, I encourage you to do it because the magic and connections will always be with you.
Shira Merenstein is a BBG from Rocky Mountain Region and loves to read books, dance, sing, and act in musical theater shows.
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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