It was September 9th when I got the call from my regional N’siah, Brooke Schwartz. At that moment, I happened to be in Jacksonville, Florida, touring a college. When she called me, I had a feeling it was not going to be good, but that quickly changed when she told me that I had gotten the role of BBG LTI Coordinator for our first big convention of the programming year! The convention is focused around Member in Training/Aleph in Training experiences as well as our Leadership Training Institute, for short we call it MIT/AIT LTI!
MIT/AIT convention gives new members the ability to learn all there is to know about BBYO and they even get inducted into the region. At LTI or Leadership Training Institute, already-inducted GCR members learn leadership skills and grow to become the best leader they can be.
When she told me that I got the position, I was so excited that I thought I was going to cry. I saw the Facebook post about it later that day, where Brooke and Jacob had officially announced the other coordinators that I would be working with for the next two months. I was so happy when I was looking at the names of the MIT, AIT, and my co-LTI coordinators. The team was now set and it was now time to get to work, as soon as I got home from Jacksonville, that is.
At the first coordinator meeting, I could not tell if I was nervous, excited, or a mix of both. All of the coordinators, including myself, were new to this. Brett, our regional director, walked us through the first steps of the process. We did some brainstorming and goal-setting, where we discussed what we as coordinators wanted to get out of the convention. Ideas ranged from “Giving kids the same spark for BBYO that we had all gotten at our first convention, which, surprisingly, was MIT/AIT LTI,” to “Reigniting burnt out kids passions’ for BBYO,” to “Seeing new faces on chapter boards and other leadership opportunities.” We broke down what it means to be coordinator, how to be the most efficient with the time we had, steering positions, and what we wanted those to look like. Once we had established these details we started thinking of other things that we wanted to see at the convention. During that meeting, we also came up with a tagline, “The Future Begins Here!”, decided the steering teams, and then we were ready to start working, recruiting, etc.
Once the LTI steering team had been set, it was time to get stuff done. A group chat was made that included all of the coordinators and the regional staff member we were working with, Erica. We started brainstorming program ideas for Saturday and decided on some ideas that we would narrow down: a Chopped program about mental health, a “Shark Tank”-type program about budgeting, a Family Feud program about BBYO knowledge, Florida Atlantic University’s Hillel or AEPi, and an old regional staff member who wanted to come back and speak about recruitment and re-energizing the region. We ended up choosing to do the Shark Tank program, Chopped program, the former GCR staff member guest speaker, and the Family Feud program.
During this time, we had also been coming up with program ideas, meeting with steering teams, and planning other things for the convention. As a coordinating unit, we were working on hitting our regional attendance goal of 140 kids at the convention.
After what felt like an eternity of planning, meetings, and editing programs, convention week had finally arrived! On the Friday of the convention, I left school early to go to the hotel and help the regional staff set up, and when I say I could not focus, I could not concentrate. I couldn’t pay attention to my teachers for more than 3 seconds in the two classes I went to that day. Once I left school, I got home with a massive smile on my face the whole drive home, quickly threw clothes, snacks, shoes, and bathroom products into my suitcase and backpack, and my mom and I were off to the hotel!
As soon as I got to the hotel, I was so excited to see the final product of two months of planning put into action. I found my way to the coordinator/staff room, where regional staff and the AIT coordinator had been organizing boxes and other supplies, as well as putting program supplies in their corresponding bags. I immediately asked where I could help in any setup. I moved some boxes, cleaned up some space in the room, stuffed some name tags, and then I was handed my coordinator binder. The convention felt so real at that moment.
Once kids started coming to the hotel, put their bags in their rooms, and went into the main programming room, I felt a wave of relief wash over me as I realized convention was going to be the best one yet. The four coordinators got on stage, introduced ourselves, went over the rules and conduct, and then the convention started! Programs went well, inductions and separates were super meaningful, memories and new friendships were formed!
Looking back on these past couple months since the convention, I think all of the fears I had going in were all just the product of overthinking everything it all. In the end, we hosted 106 teens at Deerfield Beach Resort Hotel! Everything went smoothly, and I would not have changed a thing.
If you want to see an insane recap video from this convention, check out @GoldCoastBBYO on Instagram!
Jessie Budin is a BBG from Acharit BBG #2543 in Gold Coast Region #51 and she had her Bat Mitzvah at Perlman Camp.
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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