2017-10-25 / Columns

Region opens convention programming with RLTI 2017: We are SJR

BBYO SJR presidents

Max Gordon and Jacob Bloom working together during a leadership program. Max Gordon and Jacob Bloom working together during a leadership program. On the weekend of October 13-15, SJR hosted its annual Regional Leadership Training Institute (RLTI) at Camp Kweebec. It was a truly memorable weekend as the region came together to bond, grow and strengthen the leadership within South Jersey. The weekend began on Friday afternoon, as the Alephs (boys) and BBGs (girls) broke into families. Throughout the weekend, families would meet and discuss what they were learning and what resonated with each of them during the previous programs.

On Friday night, the region celebrated our first Shabbat of the year together. The service framed the weekend to create excitement and eagerness for all participants.

Following Shabbat services, the first program of the weekend was held. It demonstrated a transformation from a member into a leader. The concept was to change the mindsets of the members and to demonstrate that you do not have to be on a board to be a leader. Afterwards, everyone took part in a program that dove into Jewish leadership and why it is important to be a leader and a Jewish leader. It was then when teens began to draw the connection between the values they have as Jews and their encouragement to become leaders for everyone. Overall, the first night was an exciting introduction.

Aleph Ethan Diamond, from Woodcrest AZA, said, “It was a fun night and an amazing start to the convention year. It was awesome to see all of my friends and all the teens smiling throughout the entire weekend.”

On Saturday, the convention continued with a day that provided every participant the opportunity to choose his or her own path. The morning began with a choice of three Saturday morning Shabbat services. All came together in the end with a Torah service. Four regional members read from the Torah, and two of the regional chairs presented a phenomenal D’var Torah as well.

After services, the region experienced a two-hour session led by Ian Kandel, the vice president of AZA, BBG, and the Teen Movement. Ian’s words inspired all participants to think bigger when planning even the smallest chapter events and pushed members to their maximum potential to think outside of the box. The afternoon was comprised of multiple breakout sessions where participants were given the chance to create their own experience and select electives and rotations of their choice, ranging from learning about specific positions to giving positive feedback.

Saturday night ended with a spirited social event and meaningful separate AZA and BBG programs, which set the stage for a memorable final day at the convention.

On Sunday morning, Alephs and BBGs attended business meetings, where legislation was passed to amend their respective constitutions. Afterwards, AZAA and BBGG sports took place, which strengthened the bond between Alephs and BBGs as they competed in sports such as ultimate Frisbee, kickball, and Israeli Dancing.

This year’s RLTI theme was “We Are SJR,” to create a unity between the entire region. Overall, the weekend was filled with leadership training, fun, and a ton of smiles as the year officially came into full swing. 

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