IC: International Convention. One of the most meaningful parts of this gathering is the realization of how many people around the globe are passionate about this organization. Australia, Bulgaria, China, Israel, Peru, Switzerland, the United States….the list of countries goes on.
During role call at opening ceremonies, we got to see representatives from each region. This gave viewers physical representation of how widespread BBYO is and how many teens have come together in this unusual time. People in the Hopin chat hyped up their region and immediately, similar engagement that’s apparent in in-person IC could be seen virtually.
At an in-person convention, teens get the chance to meet others through sitting face to face with someone at a program, meal, or concert. People leave IC with lifelong international friends, closer bonds with people in their own region, and an array of new connections to Judaism. So, how has this essential part of socialization been made possible through our screens?
The IC steering teams, international board, and staff have exceeded expectations in providing countless opportunities to make new friends. The “Meet Up” feature on Hopin (as many have nicknamed “BBYOmegele”) allows people to connect with a randomly selected person for four minutes. Many people have posted Meet Up selfies with their new friend, typically from a different region, and it is a great way to exchange contact information with someone who you may have never had the chance to meet if it wasn't for IC.
The virtual IC roommates challenges have been another way to connect with BBGs or AZAs from other parts of the world. Every IC attendee was matched with teens of similar ages from different places and assigned a challenge for every day of convention. This chance to form a new, tight-knit group of people reminds us to be grateful that we can continue creating bonds with others through our screens.
Although we are not able to be physically together, IC has allowed us to step out of our comfort zones and take advantage of these many virtual social opportunities.
Maia Goldberg is a BBG from Evergreen Region.
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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