For BBYO, programming is an essential part of the organization and a way to bring members in a community and across the globe together. Programming exists on the chapter, regional, and international level, and these programs are a foundation of BBYO.
Whether the program is a convention, a kickoff, a Shabbat, or a separates, it is planned with the folds in mind. These folds help to create the “WOW” program that we strive to plan.
For Alephs, the original five programming folds were Athletics, Community Service/Social Action, Education, Judaics, and Social. Athletics focused on programs that had active participation, while community service/social action emphasized Tikkun Olam, tzedakah, and taking action to cause change. Education and Judaics both are about learning and understanding more, however, education could be anything (including broadening their perspectives or learning the traditions of AZA), while Judaics is about understanding and appreciating the Jewish religion and culture. Lastly, the social fold meant to have creative and inter-fold programs to engage prospects and fellow AZAs.
Meanwhile, the original six BBG programming folds were Creativity, Community Service, Jewish Heritage, Recreation, Sisterhood, and Social Action. The folds overlap with the AZA folds a lot. Jewish heritage similarly is about understanding and appreciating Judaism and learning about Judaics and Israel. Recreation (like the AZA athletics fold) was about planning programs that are about being active while having fun. Unlike the Alephs, community service and social action are separated for the BBGs. Community action similarly focuses on Tikkun Olam and helping the community, and social action aims to educate and raise awareness among BBGs and to advocate issues in our world. The creativity fold urges members to create programs that allow themselves and their fellow BBGs to express themselves and share opinions. Sisterhood is the sixth fold, but it is also the essence of BBG. This fold teaches BBGs to be their best self and to value our sister BBGs along with BBYO as a whole.
These folds on their own are great and helped to make the program and the organization what it is today. However, BBYO does a good job of building onto itself and changing for the better when change does occur.
On October 25th, 2020, the AZA & BBG Executive Body came together for a business meeting to review legislation, and one of the legislatures was to add a sixth fold to AZA and a seventh fold to BBG: health. Health has been included in recreation and athletics in the past, but now there is a clear fold to focus on mental, physical, and emotional health. This fold helps to create an even more welcoming and supportive space for Alephs and BBGs. In the legislature that motioned for the creation of a health fold, the makers made it clear that the fold is needed since health, and mental health, in particular, is becoming more and more relevant in our world. More people have mental illnesses, more people are ill during this time with COVID-19 and quarantining, and unhealthy relationships are all too common. For these reasons and more, two members from Connecticut Valley motioned for this change to occur. In their region, a cardinal value of health had already existed for a few years, but they believed having health as a part of the programming folds was important and should exist across the order.
This change will bring BBYO into a new age that will benefit each individual member alongside the order as a whole. Creating a safe and supportive environment during programs has always been emphasised, but creating a fold entirely for health brings a new level of importance to that goal. In the past, separates and good and welfare programs have been the large mental health programs in BBYO. Separates would create a tight bond among members by creating a safe space to discuss a certain issue, while good and welfare similarly allow members to release stress or worries and speak freely without fear of being laughed at or questioned. These programs allow Alephs and BBGs to express themselves and their issues, and to grow closer through close bonds and shared connections.
Adding the health fold to BBYO’s International Mental Health Task Force, separates programs, Good and Welfare programs, and more, shows the growing focus on health in BBYO that will help current and future members to be more comfortable and at ease in this organization and family.
Sarah Eisenberg is a BBG from Masada BBG #1519 in New York; she swims on a year round-team and loves watermelon.
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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