This past summer I had the opportunity to participate in BBYO’s CLTC Connect 4A. Although it was not in person, it still made an impact on my journey as a leader. Going into it I did not know what to expect, I was nervous and excited at the same time. I was very excited to be part of this historic moment in BBYO, for I would be a participant in the first group of virtual summer programs.
As I hopped on my first zoom call, I was extremely shy. Not knowing anyone there, and not even being able to interact with them in person made it very difficult to get to know each other. After a few days of very funny icebreakers, I became friends with multiple people. Not only did these ice breakers help me to connect with my peers, but it also helped me to form bonds with my coordinators and staff.
Throughout the two weeks, we got split into two “mock chapters,” and did everything together within these chapters. Most days we would start out as an entire CLTC Connect, and do an ice breaker together led by our amazing coordinators. Then, we would split up into breakout rooms of our mock chapters. There we would not only learn, but we would also bond with each other over many different things.
Another thing that our coordinators set up was “hangouts” outside of our regular sessions. This made it so everyone got to know each other better. We played many fun games and had some very funny conversations. This was one of the ways that I made friends, those of whom I am now planning on meeting in person at ILTC this upcoming summer.
Towards the end of the two weeks, we got split into small groups to do a Design Sprint. My group's topic, or idea, was Jewish Enrichment. Over the course of a few days, we came up with the idea of a two-day convention that allows teens to explore what their Judaism, Jewish identity, and connection to Israel mean to them. Even though my group did not “win”, and we did not follow through with what we planned in our home communities, it was a great experience to work with my peers in order to apply our knowledge.
CLTC Connect 4A was an incredible experience, and I will never forget the stuff I learned and the bonds I created. I cannot wait to meet many of my friends in person this upcoming summer at ILTC.
Ilana Chase is a BBG from South Jersey Region who enjoys editing videos and photos of all different aspects of life.
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