I am president of the Beth Israel chapter of United Synagogue Youth, which recently was named Seaboard USY’s 2013 Chapter of the Year. As much as my ego would love for me to take credit for this, it really has been a work in progress at Beth Israel for the past six years.
Many people have been involved, and it is through everyone’s hard work that we earned this cherished award. Two years ago, after we were named Most Improved Chapter, we asked ourselves, “Why can’t we be Chapter of the Year?”
At our first 2012-13 board meeting, we were asked to write down our goals. I wrote: Win Chapter of the Year. All of us decided that to reach our goals, we would have to fill our calendar with bigger, better and more exciting events that would help us stand out in the region.
These events included an Israeli-themed cake night where we created two unique four-foot maps of Israel and a Hanukah-themed “Iron Chef”-style cook-off. We were also able to expand on our yearly Mystery Bus Ride with help from a Blaustein grant, not only drawing more local teens, but also traveling by bus to Rebounderz, an indoor trampoline arena in Sterling, Va. We held a huge scavenger hunt at a Wal-Mart for the children at Kennedy Krieger. And we even went curling. We had more people at these events than ever before.
In addition, we increased the money raised for the USY Tikun Olam Fund; we raised more than $800. We also collected toys for donation to local organizations and we did this through a bake sale, a Purim dance competition and an auction.
Fast-forward to the Spring Convention this past May. On a Saturday night, the 12 participants from Beth Israel sat together during the awards ceremony. There we were, all holding hands, and my heart was beating so fast and loud that I almost didn’t hear the announcement. We had been named Chapter of the Year by the Seaboard Region USY. I had never been so proud of our members.
To everyone who has been involved with Beth Israel Youth in the past few years, I want to thank you. I just happened to be president when we reached our goal. The dedication, determination and hard work by past board members, our youth director and USY advisers has been inspiring. All of us together accomplished this milestone.
We wish to invite all local Jewish high school students to join us at our kickoff event on Sept. 21, a rocking karaoke dance party in the Beth Israel sukkah. More information will be posted on our Facebook page, Beth Israel USY Official Group, in Aug-ust. You don’t need to be a member to attend, but you’ll want to be one once you see why we were named Chapter of the Year.
For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Josh Rosenbaum is a rising senior at Franklin High School and is starting his second term as Beth Israel USY’s president.