Although campers had already packed up their knapsacks and headed home, on August 18 the Mandell JCC’s Camp Shalom in Windsor once again was filled with kids, when more than 200 BBYO teen leaders, volunteer advisors and staff from the Connecticut Valley, New England, Westchester and Big Apple regions gathered for a week of learning and training in preparation for the coming year.
The teens participated in peer-to-peer training and teaching, that included sessions on how to infuse Jewish principles and practices into weekly programs, how to communicate with different constituents using different types of media and technology, and how to effectively build meaningful relationships. Early in the week, the teens also took a trip to Longmeadow, Mass., where they took part in team-building exercises at the Springfield JCC.
No doubt about it – BBYO is on the grow in the Connecticut Valley Region. Last year more than 1,600 Jewish teens in 6th through 12th grade took part in BBYO programs, raising more than $20,000 for different causes and organizations, committing more than 10,000 hours of community service, and finding new ways to expand and explore their Jewish identities.
BBYO high school chapters are in Amherst and Springfield Mass., West Hartford, Willimantic, New London, Woodbridge, Bridgeport, Southbury, Ridgefield, Stamford and Greenwich. The group’s middle school BBYO Connect program takes place in Springfield, New London, New Haven, Stamford and Greenwich, with plans this year to expand into Fairfield.
For more information on BBYO, email Josh Cohen, Northeast area field director, at JCohen@bbyo.org.