2017-03-29 / Columns

South Jersey Region works hard to build its new leadership

& ZOE ARKING 56th Regional Morim

Since September, South Jersey Region BBYO has had a membership push to attempt to reach 600 members by the end of the year. So far, we have had amazing stretches, including the week when 31 members joined BBYO. The process of recruitment and getting teens to sign up is only the beginning of their BBYO journey. Each new member will experience a journey through BBYO that will enrich their Jewish life and increase their leadership skills. Their story will contain many ups and downs, but ultimately it puts each teen on the right path to becoming a Jewish leader in our community and beyond.

These new members are called AITs (Alephs in training) for the boys, and MITs (Members in training) for the girls. They represent the future of their chapters to ensure that the leadership within it continues to be strong. Each chapter usually runs AIT/MIT specific programs and events to educate the younger members on what it means to be a brother Aleph and a sister B’nai B’rith girl.

For example, on Saturday, Mar. 25, Otzma AZA held its second AIT event. Otzma AZA’s chapter Moreh Jed Friedman said, “Our first event was about the board positions and what it means to be a leader in your chapter. We had a lot in store for the AITs Saturday. My favorite part about being chapter Moreh is not the recruiting part. It’s about watching these young new members grow up to be the leaders of the chapter and the region.”

Woodcrest AZA is starting a new initiative this summer called “board shadowing.” For the summer, the AITs of Woodcrest will come together to create a board—each AIT fulfilling a position while the Godol and S’gan are represented by the chapter’s newly elected Shotare Godol and Shotare Katone. Woodcrest Godol Jared Keim stated, “It’s something we are trying new for this year. We are ecstatic to begin this system and building young leaders in the chapter for when the seniors graduate each year.”

This education process is also done on a regional scale. On Mar. 31, the Regional event, IT will take place. The event is planned by the Regional Moreh Brett Eisenberg and the Regional MIT-Mom Zoe Arking. The event is open to all new members and 8th-9th graders. Brett exclaimed, “It’s an event Zoe and I have been looking forward to all year. The committee has been working extremely hard throughout this process.”

The theme alternates every year between Mock Chapters and just a learning experience overall. This year, the theme is Mock Chapters, where each teen will be put into different chapters, with each committee member acting as a chapter leader. The chapter members will quickly build a connection among each other to create identity for their mock chapter. Throughout this convention, MIT/AITs will connect with their peers, gain knowledge on several aspects of BBYO, and strengthen their leadership skills. Brett and Zoe are excited for this event to take place and to see how far South Jersey Region goes this year! 

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