Our BBYO Adventure in America
On February 11-15, in Baltimore, MD, hundreds of teachers, Jewish professional and lay leaders, and philanthropists, gathered together with over 2400 teenagers from Jewish communities around the globe for the annual International BBYO 2016 Convention
Among those in attendance were teens from Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, Moldova and Georgia who are all part of the Active Jewish Teens movement (AJT).
Participants at the convention had the opportunity to learn from world-renowned inspirational speakers, to attend classes on Jewish studies, to gain first hand advice from one another on running successful projects, and most importantly, to meet, share and connect with other teenage leaders from around the world.
« At BBYO, I met so many interesting people that have inspired me! I want to keep working on myself, on helping those around me and ultimately making an impact on the world around me. At the conference, we shared our connection to Israel and we celebrating Shabbat and Havdalah together – all making a very strong impression on me. It reminded me that we are all committed to building a strong future for the Jewish people. As the President of AJT, Important issues were raised at the conference that will help us to grow and develop. ! We would like to thank the entire BBYO team for such a wonderful event and for an opportunity that will stay with us forever "
Sofia Volovyk, The President of the AJT , (Kharkov, Ukraine)
"It Starts with Us" was the theme of the BBYO Convention this year – stressing that strong future Jewish communities begin with teens and that every word and action of young leaders is necessary and important in one's development. The teen participants at the conference had the opportunity to share and learn from one another, as they were divided into small groups to learn ways in which to implement effective educational programs and activities for their local communities. They challenged one another to find the most innovative ways to develop and execute programs for their local communities.
« I've have so many emotions flowing at one time from the conference -- I remember the insanely good atmosphere, the great people I met, and the new ideas that I was exposed to. I also think being at the conference gave me a lot of new self- confidence."
Daniel Shimiev (Rostov-on-Don, Russia)
"The BBYO Conference is a place where I met many new friends from around the world and gained unique experiences. I attended a variety of lectures, where we learned a lot about Jewish life…being at the conference made me feel that I am connected to a big International Jewish family! Words cannot convey how incredible it was to be there!"
David Serebrianiy (Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine)
«These eleven days will remain in my memory forever. I am flooded with emotion from the experiences I had… I am so delighted by everything that had happened at the Conference. I am sure it will motivate me for the upcoming year with my work with AJT. Thanks for the experience! »
Eva Stupka (Chisinau, Moldova)
« At the Conference, I met many interesting people from all over the world, attended lectures of leading thinkers, and participated in workshops with other teens. I had very strong connections and experiences with the people I met, and I know that I brought home with me these experiences, which I will now share with others in my community. "
Michel Michurova (Odessa, Ukraine)
«When I think of BBYO, I see many, many colors – like a beautiful canvas. Meeting new people, socializing, attending interesting activities, hearing new ideas, and going on guided tours: all of this turned out to be a bright picture imprinted in my memory. Thanks a lot and BBYO and AJT for helping me to change myself and understand how I can make a difference. »
Olga Karavaeva (Kishinev, Moldova)
BBYO is a tool for the development of teen leadership, and for the first time, the annual Conference was attended by AJT activists representing their youth movement from Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, Moldova and Georgia. Participating in the conference has helped in the recognition of AJT by other communities around the world as a significant global and emerging youth movement.
"As someone from a small Jewish community in Ukraine, it was very important for me to realize that I am actually part of a something huge! I am certainly going to pass this awareness on to my local community. At the Conference, I felt a great pride but also great responsibility for representing AJT. The conference reminded me again how important it is to always remain part of this family, part of the Jewish people. Thank you so much for this BBYO experience! "
The President of the AJT, Arkadiy Sherstyuk (Kharkov, Ukraine)