On one humid weekday in July, I sat in front of my laptop screen at my first BBYO summer program- The Anita Perlman BBG Leadership Academy. I had just eaten lunch and was feeling a little sluggish for 2 pm. However, the Chart Your Own Course program, created by Tara Schuster, an executive at Comedy Central who has worked on shows such as Key and Peele, perked me right up. This was one of the many meaningful programs run that week, but it hit home for me because of its emphasis on reframing negative thoughts into positive ones and identifying the sources of our self-esteem.
The program is structured around one major idea- that everyone has an inner critic, a “frenemy within”. This frenemy is the small nagging voice we all hear whenever we speak up in a group project or pitch an idea for the first time. It’s the small voice that holds us back. A common tactic when you have self-doubts is to simply ignore them. That is not what this program does. Instead of tuning out our Frenemy Within, this program gives participants the tools to realize where it gets its power, confront it, and then kick it to the curb. It emphasizes the idea that each person has their own unique sources of self-confidence, and tapping into those sources can help confront insecurities.
I was able to be a participant in this program as well as run it with my own chapter, Or Chadash. This program has a lot to offer to both leaders and participants. It encourages participants to think about where they draw their strength from, and it offers the leaders a chance to explore the learning styles of their chapter, in order to better support them. When I led this program, I had productive conversations with members of all ages about the similarities and differences in where our self-esteem came from. It was a wonderful way for underclassmen and upperclassmen to bond over shared dreams, motivations, and things they love about themselves.
I’ve had my own experiences dealing with my Frenemy Within this year. From being rejected by more of my top colleges than I like to admit to the struggles of returning to in-person learning after a whole year virtual, I felt like my Frenemy Within has been constantly hovering over my shoulder. For me, fighting my own Frenemy Within hinges on support from my friends, writing out positive affirmations, and lots of spreadsheets that plan out exactly how I will achieve world domination (kidding). This program helped me to realize that the many thoughts that swirl around my head fit well in color-coded lists, Google Docs, and spreadsheets. I learned that for me, the way that I can combat my Frenemy Within is with knowledge. Knowledge of the ways in which I succeed, and hard proof of the times in which confidence has paid off.
I highly recommend running this program with your community. It is a wonderful way to promote positive relationships with ourselves, the ways in which we value ourselves, and positive relationships within a greater BBYO community.
Emily Mortman is a BBG from Or Chadash, NRE: Northern Virginia, and she is obsessed with fun socks.
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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