Written by: Jadyn Right, 8th Grade, Dor Chadash BBG #2404.

With Spring Virtual Retreat just a few days away, the Steering Committee is working hard to give each member of Lake Ontario Region (LOR) the feelings of a BBYO convention at home! With that being said, it has not been easy. I applied to be part of the Spring Convention Steering Committee back in mid-march for the position of Hospitality Captain. This role ensures that members are having a good time and are engaged in convention programming. Of course, I never thought that a pandemic would affect Spring Convention until it did. Everyone’s original ideas for Spring Convention were based on an assumption that it would take place at Camp George. We had to reframe our ideas and think outside the box. Spring Virtual Retreat will be our first online convention, and it’s going to be a game-changer!

My name is Jadyn Right, I am a member of Chapter Dor Chadash BBG #2404, and this is my first year in BBYO. The moment I walked into my first BBG program at the Schwartz/Reisman Centre, I was so amazed by the welcoming environment. I was eager to learn more about BBYO and how I could become more involved. From chapter programs to regional events, BBYO became something I looked forward to every single week. I first became involved in my chapter by taking on a chair position, and soon after, I decided to apply for Press Corps, Lock-In Steering and Spring Virtual Retreat Steering. I am so thankful to have these various leadership opportunities at such a young age, and that’s what I value most about BBYO.

When heading into our first Spring Convention Steering Committee call, none of us knew what to expect. However, we had two amazing convention coordinators, Mitchell and Sydney, alongside our regional staff, Kevin and Rae, who helped us imagine the possibilities. Through this ‘New Adventure’ (which became the convention’s theme), all Steering Committee members have learned that any challenge, even trying to reimagine Spring Convention as a virtual experience, can bring an entire community together. The transition from ‘IRL’ (in real life) to online was quick and smooth. We are so excited to have all five Canadian regions come together for our annual Maccabiah (colour wars), all online, which is something that could not have happened if Spring Convention was at Camp George! We have so many surprises just waiting to be found out. We have adapted so many traditions and rituals, and we have even found a way to have online senior life books (members write messages to graduating seniors) and warm and fuzzies (participants send kind messages to other members)!

This Spring Convention Steering Committee has been incredible! Every member on the team has been so fun to work with, and I am so glad that I had this amazing opportunity. As the tagline says, ‘BBYO is definitely not cancelled, it’s just online’, and Spring Virtual Retreat has proved it to me. I hope to see all of you there! This awesome regional event starts on Saturday May 16 2020, and you won’t want to miss it!

Pictured: The Spring Virtual Retreat Steering Committee hard at work!