Underclassmen Involvement in BBYO and How to Get Started

November 30, 2020
Ariel Schwartz

Berlin, New Jersey, United States

Class of 2024

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Hey AZA and BBG!

I am a proud B’nai B’rith Girl. This movement has made an impact on me and helped me grow along the way, and I have done my part to make an impact on the movement too. Since joining on September 22, 2019, I have grown immeasurable amounts as an individual, a leader, and most importantly as a friend. But simply joining BBYO isn’t what changed me, it was my passion and drive to make a difference. Like many other things you can do outside of BBYO, you get out of it what you put in. Upperclassmen, board members, advisors, and staff will help you be successful, but ultimately it is up to you to get involved and be an active Aleph or BBG. Luckily, you can keep on reading to find out why BBYO can change your life AND also how you can make it happen!

Reasons to Get Involved:
The first and absolutely most important reason to get involved in BBYO is the lasting friendships you will undoubtedly form throughout your high school years. Even though this is only my second year as a member, I have gained more friendships than at any other time in my life. BBYO friends are different than any other kind because the experiences you will have alongside other people in your chapter, region, and even the International Order are so unique and special. Whether it be working together on a committee, attending a regional convention, or going on a summer program, there are so many opportunities to build lifelong friendships that last even after your time in BBYO is over.
Another amazing benefit of BBYO is exploring your Jewish identity! This organization offers so many exciting opportunities for all Jewish teens but at the soul of it, BBYO is the leading pluralistic Jewish teen movement aspiring to involve more Jewish teens in more meaningful Jewish experiences. BBYO services, song sessions, and religious activities are always inclusive and engaging for all different types of members so you can always be sure you will have a great time! Havdalah and song sessions are absolutely some of my personal favorite BBYO programs. I know firsthand that it can be difficult to stay connected to your Jewish identity and values after having a Bar/Bat Mitzvah, but BBYO has helped me form a greater connection to Judaism and Israel.
One of the most fun parts of BBYO is the number of leadership opportunities provided to every teen! There are so many ways to lead at every level of the Order so I can guarantee that you will find something you are passionate about. Along with the benefits of gaining leadership experience in your everyday life, BBYO leadership opportunities can even help you later in life if you decide to apply for college or a job in which you may be asked about your leadership experience. Of course, it is SO important to live in the moment and have fun, but thinking about the future is something that could help you succeed in the long run!

Action Items for You to Get Started:
Attend as many chapter events as you can! This one might sound obvious but persistence is key to getting involved and truly getting all of the resources that are available to you. You can also start to apply for chapter leadership opportunities such as event committees and running for board!

2. Even if you are nervous to branch out from your home chapter, try your best to keep an open mind with council/regional events, because you might be surprised at how many new people you can meet and build friendships within your entire community!

3. I know the International Order can seem intimidating, but international/interregional friends are so awesome so I highly recommend applying for International leadership opportunities! You can get more information about this at bbyo.org/lead.

4. One of my favorite ways to stay up to date is by frequently checking official BBYO accounts across various social media platforms, including the ones from your chapter, council, region, and/or community as well as BBYO Insider which is the International BBYO social media handle.

5. Reach out to people if you need help! There are so many individuals that have your back for whatever you need to get involved in your BBYO community. Some of these might be your chapter president, advisors, regional board members and staff, Bigs and Littles, and of course your amazing BBYO friends!

BBYO has been THE most important thing in my life ever since I made the decision to get involved and follow my dreams of being a leader in my community. This organization is my heart and home. It helps me feel like an important piece of something bigger than just myself, and that alone is one of the greatest feelings I have ever experienced. The opportunities are infinite, so reach for the stars and I promise you will NOT regret it!

Ariel Schwartz is a BBG from South Jersey Region, that loves everything and all things BBYO.

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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