“Throughout every generation, teens like us have been at the forefront of shaping history. It’s now on us to navigate the future of our world. This is our life. These our are dreams. This is our time. We’re changing the game. Join us.” This quote epitomizes the mission that BBYO, the largest teen-lead Jewish youth movement in the world, has sought out during this past
year. Consisting of over 80,000 teens in over 40 countries, BBYO has continued to change the game this year with a cornerstone of the organization’s experience, International Convention 2017. BBYO’s International Convention, or IC, is the third largest gathering of Jewish people annually across the entire globe. Thousands of the Jewish community’s top teen leaders, educators, professionals, and philanthropists from across the world will come together in Dallas, Texas for one of the largest Jewish communal events of the year.
This year, over 20 North Springs High School students represented five chapters from Southern Region: Atlanta Council, the largest travelling delegation in attendance at IC. Several of these students also had the ability to take part in planning the events of the weekend on the International Convention Steering Team. North Springs Junior Mitchell Abes commented, “The steering team, including myself, teens from around the world, and multiple North Springs students gave an enormous amount of time and energy to make sure that the largest convention of Jewish teens ran fluently and successfully.” While planning Shabbat services, interactive days in the community, and inspirational programs, Mitchell and the fellow Spartans who steered IC made a huge impact on the global Jewish community.
Senior Josh Binderman was also happy to share a few words about his journey in Dallas this past Presidents’ Da
y Weekend. “It was really a mind-blowing experience seeing the whole thing come together. There were people as far as you could see. It was absolutely massive.” When asked about the impact on himself, Binderman said he “…walked away knowing that the future of the Jewish people is strong. We may be spread out all over the world, but we can find meaning in gatherings of all sizes, whether it’s 5,000 or 5.” Josh was happy to comment on his last IC as a member of BBYO and looks forward to potentially coming back for more as an alum.
Not only did teens have an amazing time at IC, but alumni and staff members did as well. Ryan Ladd, an employee of BBYO International in Washington D.C. and graduate of the University of Texas-Austin, was also excited to share memories from his second IC as a staff member and fifth as a lifetime member of BBYO. “Coming back to International Convention as a staff member has been one of my favorite ways to give back to BBYO. In high school, this convention was a culmination of testing my leadership skills, building lifelong relationships from across the globe, and getting to see the work we do translate into something magnificent. As a staff member, I still experience a lot of those things, but the added bonus is getting to watch the next generation of teen leaders continue the 93 year legacy that’s been built. Every year, IC continues to reach new heights, and it’s a privilege to be a part of this moment of success for the Jewish community.” Like Ryan, IC has continuously tested my own leadership skills as a Jewish teen; however, the payoff of seeing thousands of engaged and passionate teens in the same place over the course of the weekend is well worth the hard work. North Springs students and I cannot wait to take part in the festivities of ICs to come and look forward to 2018!
Next year, BBYO’s International Convention takes to the streets of Orlando, Florida for what is projected to be the biggest IC to date,engaging over 3,000 and thousands of others in the community. Want to follow along? Follow @BBYOInsider on Twitter and Instagram and track new events with the hashtag #AZABBGIC2018.