The best decision I have made in my BBYO experience, since joining, was deciding to run for chapter board. If you’re looking for a deciding reason to run for board - this is it. Being on board can certainly be a time commitment, however, it's the most rewarding role you can hold. My sophomore year, when I first joined, I went to my first in-person ‘Invite’ convention in the fall, and this solidified my decision to run for chapter Mazkirah for the spring term. Being in the cheer circles with everybody, and seeing how regional board members and coordinators interacted made me see and understand part of the behind-the-scenes of how chapters/regions function. Everyone's energy radiated off each other and I immediately knew that I wanted to give back to my chapter.
This term I am my chapter's S’ganit (vice president of programming). Needless to say, it is a lot of tedious program forms and critical organization, however, when a new younger prospect walks up to me after an event, telling me how much fun she had and how welcomed she felt, I realize how rewarding the position is. Those things stick with me all day; the fact that I have been able to work cohesively to give back to my wonderful chapter, and help my sweet sisters see what BBYO and inclusivity looks like. My chapter was affected a great deal by COVID, we lost a lot of dedicated members, seniors, and we had lost a lot of retention with older members. It was put up to my grade level this term to make our beloved chapter a little more alive. There was certainly a lot of pressure on the S’ganit to produce the most unique, engaging, and meaningful programs. The board and I have all worked tirelessly to revive our chapter. We have accomplished and surpassed so many goals and now have so many younger and eager members. It all hit me the beauty of working behind the scenes at one of our events when we ended early so had some time to chill out. I looked over and all of our younger members were together making a Tik Tok video and on the beanbags at the JCC laughing; and other older members and myself weren’t in the video. I have to say I’ve never felt so happy to be left out of something. It may sound so little, and honestly stupid, but I had felt like during events everyone got along but because it was guided by myself and people felt obligated to talk to each other during icebreakers or would only talk to their friends. So much joy came out of the program seeing everyone interact independently and genuinely enjoying each other, something I would never be able to witness by just being a general member. Nothing warms my heart more than how all those new spunky members show their love for each other and our chapter. This weekend was my region’s ‘Invite’ convention. Friday night we had separates and one question the BBGs were asked was why is your chapter your heart and home. No one answered at first, not even dedicated board members braved to raise their hand. A big room full of more than a hundred new faces of older members one of our newest sweetest eighth grade members raised her hand. Fearlessly breaking the ice, already being so proud of her courage, she continued to express how she felt for our chapter, so personal and sincere. Immediately after everyone had started raising their hands and I could not believe the positive ripple she just started. While this moment may sound so small it nearly brought me to tears. She is still so new to BBYO and the fact she already feels so acclimated and happy warms me inside and out and reminds me everyday why I love this organization and people so much. Being a general member is tons of fun but I think you focus a lot on the big picture, and not the little wins that make us who we are. Being on board has opened my eyes and taught me how to see an individual's strengths and personality.
Being on board opens up so many incredible opportunities, and provides you with impeccable leadership and communication skills. Being on board can allow you to become so involved within your region, whether it's steering, coordinating, or anything in between. Personally, steering has taught me how to think through planning, have goals, and be able to connect and talk in front of large groups of people without being nervous and remaining engaging. A skill to have for life. Finally, one of my favorite parts of being on board is being in communication with everyone on board regionally. Being in contact with regional staff, regional board members, and chapter board members throughout the region is an amazing and unique thing to be a part of. Being in international counterpart group chats is so mind-blowing knowing you have such a strong network with people just like you all around the world.
A large reason why people don’t run for board is in fear of losing. Don't be worried you will lose. BBYO has so many opportunities. If you don’t win the position you declared for you can slide over to another position below that, or even hold a chair position (depending on your chapter), but this is a really awesome way to stay involved and have a good stepping block. Losing ultimately is the same effect as not being on board. Why would you solve your fear of not being on board by not running for board? By attempting to run, and making your speech and platform, you are showing grit, determination, and passion that members will remember for next term. If you’re worried about the workload of running and creating your speech and platform I can assure you it is not as hard as it seems. And your chapter president and advisors are more than happy to help!! Running for board can be one of the impactful and meaningful opportunities you will come across and will make your time in BBYO much more valuable, and will build life skills.
Sidra Rutstein is a BBG from Chicago who likes Ross Lynch.
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.
Hudson Valley Region BBYO and Madhim AZA have made valuable strides in membership, programming, and new-member involvement within the past year; here’s what they’ve accomplished so far!
Get The Shofar blasted to your inboxSubscribe