I had a great experience at the BBYO International Convention. Consider coming along next year! Here is what I learned from my experience:
- Find ways to meet new people – It is important that when attending a convention with thousands of Jewish teens from around the world that you take the opportunity to meet new people who are there. The first step in doing this is by sitting with people you don’t already know. This is how I met some new friends from different states and even countries, such as Texas, Arizona, California, England, France and Israel!
- Take advantage of your opportunities – While at IC I was given numerous opportunities to learn more about the reality of different interests of mine. One example of this is on Saturday afternoon I went to listen to a speaker who is also a lawyer who fights for the rights of Black people across the country. We learned about the perspective of what it means to have equal rights and protections in the case of a trial taking place where the jury is mainly white, the judge is white, the prosecutor is white, but the defense is Black. Another opportunity over the weekend I was given, was having the chance to listen to the leader, David Hogg, who started March for Our Lives after being a student at the time of the shooting that took place in Florida at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in 2018. While David spoke there was something that he said that I found to be empowering. He said that one person marching is not a march; it is just a walk. This helped me to understand more about what it means to be a part of a march protest and to find my way to be a leader with the help of others around me.
- Have your people – Though it is important to meet new people when placed at a convention with thousands of peers for a week, it is also important to have your people by your side in times of overwhelmingness or needing a break from the crowd.
- Be a leader, before a follower – If an activity is interesting, but some of your friends might not be as interested in the activity, that does not mean you shouldn’t go. Don’t hesitate to tell your friends that you’re interested in an activity that they might not be as interested in because you can still attend it on your own.
- Ask questions – If at any point during an activity, sightseeing, hanging out with friends, or the block party, don’t feel hesitant to ask questions about different activities, meeting new people, or trying to find your way around the convention to find an activity for you to be a part of. We miss 100% of the opportunities we don’t take.
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Maddie Kranitz is a local student with BBYO-Wisconsin Region who attended the BBYO International Convention, which was held Feb. 16-20, 2023, in Dallas.