The New Member Experience in a New Perspective

March 31, 2023
Ethan Smith

Manalapan, New Jersey, United States

Class of 2024

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After many years in BBYO in my experience, having served in chapter, regional, and international leadership roles, it was my responsibility and privilege as my Chapter Godol to welcome the AITs (Alephs-in-Training) in my home chapter into the Greater Jersey Hudson River Region #22 and the Grand Order of the Aleph Zadik Aleph at GJHRR’s annual MIT Convention.

The MIT Convention is a great experience for new members in GJHRR. In general, it is the first BBYO Convention that they are allowed to attend, making it extra exciting for them. When the AITs from my chapter stepped onto the buses, you could see the excitement in their faces. And when we got to convention and they got their first ever convention lanyards, it was a very special moment for me. After attending so many regional events and getting too many lanyards to count, you forget the joy that comes with experiencing something for the first time.

When it got to the first meal of the convention though, my friends and I had a revelation: we didn’t know most of the people at the convention. It had been a long time for all of us since we’d felt that way. And then we realized, that’s how the MITs all felt during convention. Everything was new to them, including the people. But in a way that is what makes the MIT Convention so amazing. It is a place where new members get to experience all of the exciting firsts of BBYO.

GJHRR’s MIT Convention had many of the staples of a great regional convention. It had a great BBYO style Havdalah, awesome separates programming, and teen led programming. But the convention also included some MIT specific programming such as Folds education, AZA/BBG 101, and inductions.

As we grow in this movement, we forget about what it was like when we first started our journeys. But attending this MIT Convention reminded me of what makes BBYO so special: it’s ability to bring people together.

Ethan Smith is an Aleph from Manalapan, NJ and has been told that he’s the funniest person on the planet.

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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