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The student news site of de Toledo High School

The Prowler

The student news site of de Toledo High School

The Prowler

Jewish Youth Group Spends a ‘Wild Weekend’ on the West Coast

How I Took Advantage of a Life Changing Leadership Opportunity
Two+hundred+members+of+Pacific+Western+Region+BBYO+attend+a+three+day+convention+in+Glendale%2C+CA%2C+on+Nov.+10%2C+2023.
Two hundred members of Pacific Western Region BBYO attend a three day convention in Glendale, CA, on Nov. 10, 2023.

After two crazy months of hours filled with preparation, I got the honor of coordinating my BBYO region’s Battle of the Cabins 2023 alongside my incredible co- Ethan from San Diego. 

The B’nai Brith Youth Organization is an amazing opportunity to get involved in the worldwide Jewish community for teens grades 8 to 12. You start your “BBYO journey” by joining a chapter in your area. Your chapter, along with many other chapters in your larger community is part of a region. Regions worldwide are a part of what we call the International Order. 

The amazing thing about the organization is the way there are constantly new leadership opportunities provided, big and small: chapter, regional, or international. By starting with the smallest leadership position, like I did, you become eager to take on bigger roles in bigger places.

On Nov. 10, 2023, a weekend that would change my life forever began.

 

Pacific Western Region’s (PWR) Battle of the Cabins, often recognized as BOTC, is a weekend every fall that our region spends together bonding while also competing for a varying title, this year being the “Coveted Golden Horseshoe.”

In early September, our theme was unanimously decided on by our regional director Jillian, Ethan, and me to be Wild West Coast!

Going into planning, we three had countless ideas for the weekend that just kept growing as we sat with the theme in between our Monday calls. Each week on our calls, we’d discuss big moments, programming, logistics, and Separates, a program where AZA’s (boys) and BBG’s (girls) are separated to participate in a meaningful program amidst a fun-filled weekend. This sounds easy on the surface level, but trust me, even with the help of three extremely well-rounded people, we’d get stuck multiple times.

When the convention rolled around, people texted and approached me, asking if I was ready. My answer was always, “I don’t know.” While, of course, I felt prepared for a weekend that Ethan and I had spent months envisioning, I felt anxious. My head was filled with “what ifs.” What if people didn’t have fun? What if this doesn’t turn out how we want it to? What if I can’t speak in front of people? What if we’re missing supplies? Though I have steered a regional convention before, everything felt so new to me. 

As people started arriving on Friday afternoon, after a long day of decorating, practicing scripts, and putting the final touches on programs, everything started to feel real. I wandered around camp, ready to see my vision come to life finally. Opening ceremonies started around 5 p.m. and, surprisingly, went well! Ethan and I energetically kicked off the weekend by introducing what members would spend their weekend battling for, and everyone sounded just as excited as we were. 

After a night filled with spectacular Shabbat programming led by our regional Shlichim Noa and Reuben, we transitioned into one of the biggest programs that I planned for the weekend, Separates. My ultimate goal while crafting my BBG Separates for the weekend was to make a meaningful yet uplifting program that somehow could tie into our convention’s Wild West theme.

I decided to dive deep into the well-known and heartfelt novel Charlotte’s Web. While I’d prefer to keep the special program between the PWR BBGs and me, one thing I will say is that it turned out just as I wanted it to.

The weekend flew by. Ethan and I spent the day roaming to see our region, enjoying our steerers and our hard work. The feeling of knowing that you’ve created such special memories for about 200 teens is unlike anything else. Planning this convention allowed me to lead and quickly problem-solve in new ways that I would have never known before.

On Saturday night, the steerers, regional board, Ethan, and I sat in our leadership lounge reflecting on the weekend. Half asleep or not, proud of ourselves is an understatement. I know I can speak for all of us when I say that I was genuinely impressed with myself and how I did this as a 17-year-old while applying for dozens of colleges at the same time.  

Monday after the big weekend I spent my day resting because of how exhausted I was both physically and mentally. My voice was completely gone, which was a pretty good representation of how hard I had worked that weekend and the months before. But beyond the negatives, my heart was filled with pride and a strong feeling of accomplishment. To see all my friends enjoying themselves made all my hard work feel worth it, and I now understand that I can make a difference as a leader.

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About the Contributor
Leah Berger, Opinion Editor
Leah Berger is a senior at dTHS and this is her first year writing for The Prowler. She is so excited to contribute opinion, arts, and entertainment pieces. When not writing, she is shopping, hanging out with friends, or tanning at the beach.

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    Ms. HowardJan 4, 2024 at 1:25 pm

    Leah,
    Thank you for sharing this. It sounds like it was a fantastic opportunity for you and with hard work and planning turned out successful.
    Perhaps you have some ideas for our Shabbaton to share with Ms. Clumeck Graef
    Ms. Howard

    Reply