Every year, BBYO holds its International Convention (IC) over Presidents Day weekend. IC is a gathering of BBYO members from around the world and is known to shatter its own expectations year after year. Held in a different city every year, IC is a massive event and is integral to BBYO’s continuous success.
This year, IC is going to be held in our nation’s capital, Washington. And once again, IC is going to be bigger and better than ever.
In past years, IC has been attended by 700 to 900 BBYO teens from North America and countries such as Bulgaria, Turkey, Israel and Ukraine, among others. Because of BBYO’s incredible teen leaders and staff, IC 2013 will offer more opportunities for its attendees than ever before, as more than 2,200 BBYO members, staff, alumni and speakers will be in Washington to take part in this amazing convention. No matter how many times I hear that number, I am still blown away. This year’s IC is going to be a groundbreaking experience for the entire organization and the Jewish community as a whole.
A tradition at IC is the Day of Service. This day is the pinnacle of BBYO’s commitment to tikkun olam, healing the world. On the Day of Service, all participants will go into the D.C. community for various types of service arranged by BBYO’s teen leaders. The idea of several thousand BBYO members all doing community service and working toward a common goal is truly moving. The Day of Service at IC 2013 is going to be a historical day for BBYO.
Another big highlight of the convention is our priority of globalization. In recent years, BBYO has focused heavily on involving more countries. Currently, BBYO has members in more than 24 countries. At IC, teens from Bulgaria, Serbia, Estonia, the United Kingdom, Turkey and dozens more will be representing their Jewish communities. This magnificent accomplishment is a testament to the efforts of BBYO leaders to globalize the organization, and it truly shows the strength of the global Jewish community.
In addition, BBYO will be electing the next leaders to serve on its International boards. This is huge for the organization, as the leadership changes hands and the magic of the BBYO takes on a whole new look.
BBYO’s International Convention is the driving force not only of the order itself, but also of the Jewish people. IC allows teens to experience Judaism in their own way, and afterward they return home excited about BBYO and Judaism. In this way, the International Convention is helping to engage Jewish teens and preserve the Jewish future.
Ben Snyder is the president of Northern Region East: Baltimore AZA, the fraternity of BBYO.