BBYO

Youth is the Engine of the World

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Posted by Adam L

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Helpful Resources:

Program HostRegional
Host RegionOhio Northern
Program TypeBrotherhood
Leadership
Leadership Training Convention
Separates
Target Population(s)Boys (AZA)
Teen Leaders
People Participating100-200

Program Summary:

Fun, friendship, and leadership are all great reasons to be a part of AZA… but they are not the “purpose” of our Order. So why are we here? We’re here because we’re about changing the world and shaping the philosophies and values of our society.

Full Description:

ONR LTI 2010: CHANGE YOUR ALTITUDE
AZA SEPARATES PROGRAM

“Youth is the Engine of the World”

Time: 2 hours
Supplies needed: paper, pens, speakers, ipod/mp3 player with youth

-Alephs line up outside. Regional board (except for Sam) lines up with group
-Music playing (Youth, Matisyahu) as people enter the room
-Sit in a semi-circle facing fireplace.

Garrett: My first program was laser-tag sleepover at Matt Soble’s house. This was one of the best nights of my life. 45 sweaty stinky young men in one basement with one thing in common. Brotherhood. The bonds and connections between these young men were incredible. After the program I knew that this chapter called Exodus AZA was something special. I have never in my life played such an intense physical game of laser-tag and then 30-minutes later, laying body to body in a basement while getting to know everyone. I soon realized that the fun programming was great but it was more than that. It was truly a fraternity that would shape the rest of my social high school career.

Lincoff:  I walked into my first program for one reason:  my mom made me come.  I didn’t want to.  I was shy back then, and hanging out at Andrew Rotblatt’s house with a bunch of people I didn’t know was not my idea of a fun Saturday night.  In retrospect I don’t know if I every previously had a true fun Saturday night, but that one was.  I was instantly accepted among the guys.  People I had never met before were happy to talk with me and share their life.  They all treated me like I was cool.  It was such a new experience for me, and it made me feel incredible.  I signed up that night, and I have never regretted that decision, for it completely changed my life.  That program ended with the kidnapping of two of Star’s members for a sweetheart competition (which they both won).  I will never forget that sleepover, for it introduced me to the organization that would play such a huge role in the next four years of my life.

Adam: Going into BBYO, I really didn’t know what to expect and I definitely didn’t think it would change my life the way it did. I remember going to my first program:  8th Grade Overnight. Back then, PT was a powerhouse and it was easy for an 8th grader to be intimidated by all of the older members. However, I must admit that I had it easier than most new members. Back in the day, my older brother was a big leader in PT and my older sister was on Regional Board—so naturally, everyone in the chapter knew who I was. Looking back on my first program, the actual programming probably wasn’t even that great. But it didn’t matter. It was about the way everyone treated me.

Livshin: The best program I have ever been to was our Beau Prep 2009 exodus program.  Everything was organized so well so as soon as I walked in I was surrounded by activities to do.  Older members came up and approached me and immediately welcomed me into the program to take part in it.  Soon we were all gathered together in the basement all hot and some of us with our shirts off.  This was true brotherhood. Talking about whatever we wanted with each other and knowing that absolutely nothing would leave the room because there was such trust in everyone there.  To think that I myself, just a sophomore was able to be cuddling with seniors was insane.  There was no better feeling.  Because we did have so much fun that night, and we did share oh so many laughs.  But then we were able to be serious as the night went on and focus on fraternity through the good and welfare. All our thoughts and problems were laid out on the table as our brothers compassionately listened, and we felt accepted into one large family.  Then after all this we went to kidnap girls and made them do ridiculous tasks to compete for the possibility to be our sweetheart, and being an exodus sweetheart is no easy task let me tell you.  The fact that so much fun, brotherhood, seriousness, and then of course girls, could be combined into one fantastic program, made the night, and next day, absolutely incredible.

-Regional Board moves to front as Sam speaks

Sam: As I walked into the basement of the random address I was told to go to, I kept telling myself ‘if you don’t like it you don’t have to come back.’ I entered the main area of the basement. I was late, and everyone turned to look at me. Then yoni Binstock, the guy from the ice cream social came up to me and brought me into the group to introduce me to everyone. This was the beginning of superstition night with Beresheit. Though I wasn’t really into the whole superstition thing, I still left that program feeling a bit weird—and it wasn’t from the food. I felt accepted. I made friends, and for once, I actually did something on a Saturday night… And had fun doing it.

-Pause for effect

Livshin: some of them come now
Garrett: some of them running
Sam: some of them looking for fun
Adam: some of them looking for a way out of confusion
Lincoff: some of them don’t know where to be
Garrett: some of them don’t know where to go
Adam: some of them trust their instincts that something’s missing from the show
Livshin: some don’t fit society, their insides are crying low
Lincoff: some of them teachers squashed the flame ‘fore it had a chance to grow
Garret: some of them embers still glow
Livshin: them charcoal hushed and low
Sam: some of them come with a hunger suppressed not fed them feel the death blow, yo

- LIVSHIN turn on music quietly

Sam: take the next few minutes to think about the first program you went to, and why it made you come back the next time. write your thoughts on the paper in front of you.

-LIVSHIN turn up music to a more audible level, but quiet enough that people can think

-Seniors share their stories (Alex Ryb, Dylan Wei)

Livshin: some of them come now
Garrett: some of them running
Sam: some of them looking for fun
Adam: some of them looking for a way out of confusion
Lincoff: some of them don’t know where to be
Garrett: some of them don’t know where to go
Adam: some of them trust their instincts that something’s missing from the show
Livshin: some don’t fit society, their insides are crying low
Lincoff: some of them teachers squashed the flame ‘fore it had a chance to grow
Garret: some of them embers still glow
Livshin: them charcoal hushed and low
Adam: some of them come with a hunger suppressed not fed them feel the death blow, yo

Sam: young man, control in your hand, slam your fist on the table, and make your demand

Garrett: take a stand!
Livshin: fan a fire for the flame of the youth
Lincoff: got the freedom to choose
Adam: you better make the right move

Pause

Livshin: What I miss most about the old AZA is this sense of fun and brotherhood within your own chapter. There just isn't as much enthusiasm within the chapter as much as there used to be, and we’re not as tight knit as we used to be. There was a time when the most important thing was that every single teen was having fun no matter what, and it feels like we’ve lost that sense of meaning. Its not okay when people feel like they can't enjoy themselves anymore.

Lincoff: What I miss most about the old AZA is the lack of politics, and the ability to just chill.  Now it seems that I spend more time in AZA focused on politics and rules then just hanging out with my friends.  I used to be able to just kick back and go with the flow, but that’s not something I can do anymore.

Garrett: The thing I miss most about how AZA used to be is the carefree attitude. We need to stop getting caught up in policy changes or challenges. If we create an environment in which people want to join the great fraternity, which we call AZA, we can make AZA the most powerful tool in the teenage world. If we can put policy and frustrations behind us, AZA will turn into the life changing experience for you and everyone around you like it has been for me.

Sam: What I miss most about what AZA used to be like is the excitement. EVERYTHING used to be fun. There was no such thing as a bad program… and that was because we made them all good. The attitude in BBYO has changed so much that rather than trying to make things fun that might not normally be fun, people just don’t try. Anything can be fun if you make it that way, and that’s the way it was meant to be in AZA.

Adam: What I miss most in AZA is the feeling of fraternity. And I’m not talking about how close you may feel to some of the members in your chapter because that’s called friendship. Fraternity is when members who are complete opposites force themselves to get along and work together for the benefit of the entire chapter. When I was a younger member in BBYO, most people didn’t have egos and feelings of self-entitlement. Back then, it was never about doing what was convenient for you… it was about helping the chapter. Fraternity is about being a part of something greater than yourself. It’s about putting the needs of the chapter above your own. I just don’t see that as much anymore.

Lincoff: we can’t deny the fact that things have changed since we’ve all joined AZA.
Garrett: people have come and gone
Livshin: chapters have been formed and chapters have folded
Sam: we need to stop blaming policy and rules for what seems to be a decline in fun
Adam: because that isn’t the problem…

-GARRETT turn on music quietly

Sam: the AZA experience is different for everyone. We all joined for different reasons. What are some of the things that you miss most about what AZA was like when you first joined?

Adam: We know that this is a hard question to answer, but it’s important to think about.
Livshin: Take the next couple of minutes to think about it
Lincoff: Write your answers on your paper in front of you

-GARRETT turn up music to a more audible level but still quite enough for people to think

-ADAM pick a few people to share answers

Garrett: for 86 years AZA has been changing
Lincoff: for 86 years AZA has been growing
Livshin: for 86 years Alephs have been working their asses off so that WE would get the opportunity to experience what they did
Sam: I don’t know about all of you guys, but I want my kids to have the same opportunities as well.
Adam: though change is inevitable, we should still give future alephs a chance to have as great a time in AZA as we have had.
Lincoff: but we need to do something about this problem now, while we still have control over it.
Garrett: we all miss something about what AZA used to be like when we first joined, even though we may not be able to put a finger on what that is exactly
Livshin: and we definitely cannot let AZA lose it for the future.
Adam: now is the time for us to make the change for future alephs to come

Lincoff:  In my opinion, the purpose of AZA is to bring Jewish teens together for incredible experiences.  No other organization offers the same opportunities as we do for our alephs.  What’s more, we give them the chance of a clean slate.  In AZA, they have the opportunity to create a new image of themselves in a relatively risk free environment.  Overall, AZA helps Alephs shape their lives and become better people so that they can more confidently face the future after graduation. We cannot lose this purpose.

Garrett: The purpose of AZA in my opinion is to cultivate Jewish teens from around the globe in a youth led organization that breaks down the bonds of teenage social cliques and creates a fraternity. The brotherhood that AZA creates is the most incredible thing I have ever experienced. AZA gives Jewish teenage boys the opportunity to grow as people and as young Jewish men. AZA creates leaders in our society and gives members an opportunity to gain friendships that will last a lifetime. We cannot lose this purpose.

Livshin: The purpose of AZA is exactly what it was originally- 14 Jewish boys were denied entrance to a fraternity and they formed their own brotherhood together. That brotherhood and fraternity is the purpose of AZA. And that's what led to the fun of the old AZA. Everyone needs to enjoy it because our purpose is to provide an opportunity for all Jewish teens to feel accepted and to make sure they have fun in ways they never had before. This is what the seniors in our time provided to us and we must provide it to those after us. We can't forget that brotherhood and fun are the sole purposes of AZA. We cannot lose this purpose.

Sam: the purpose of AZA is to give young Jewish boys a place to make friends and to be themselves no matter who they are, and to have FUN doing it. Always. We cannot lose this purpose.

Adam: Everything we do in AZA—from raising funds for causes we feel passionately bout to giving Jewish teenagers the opportunity to be a part of an amazing brotherhood—is all about spreading Jewish values. The timeless mission of the Jewish people is to make the world better by making people better… and that’s what we try to do in AZA. We welcome all Jewish teens, no matter what they look like or act like, and try to provide them with an incredibly unique experience. However, the purpose of our organization is much larger than solely impacting the lives of our members. Fun, friendship, and leadership are all amazing reasons to be a part of AZA… but they alone are not the “purpose” of our organization. So why are we here? We’re here because on a greater scale, we’re about changing the world and shaping the philosophies, ideals, and values of our society. I know it’s really difficult to understand but if every Aleph in this room recognized the impact, which we as Jewish teenagers are capable of having because of AZA, then we could positively change innumerable lives. We cannot lose this purpose. (Pause) But wait—let’s take a step back for just a minute. Before we can truly fulfill the purpose of our organization—before we can go out and try to change the world—we must change ourselves. We must bring back the FUN and the spirit of FRATERNITY into everything we do in BBYO because otherwise, there will be no motivation to accomplish great things. We cannot lose this purpose.

Sam: Take the next few minutes to think about the purpose of AZA, and why we’re here. Write down your answers on your paper. Keep these answers to yourself.

-LINCOFF turn up music

Livshin: some of them come now
Garrett: some of them running
Sam: some of them looking for fun
Adam: some of them looking for a way out of confusion
Lincoff: some of them don’t know where to be
Garrett: some of them don’t know where to go
Adam: some of them trust their instincts that something’s missing from the show
Livshin: some don’t fit society, their insides are crying low
Lincoff: some of them teachers squashed the flame ‘fore it had a chance to grow
Garret: some of them embers still glow
Livshin: them charcoal hushed and low
Adam: some of them come with a hunger suppressed not fed them feel the deathblow, yo

Sam: young man, control in your hand, slam your fist on the table, and make your demand

Garrett: take a stand!
Livshin: fan a fire for the flame of the youth
Lincoff: got the freedom to choose
Adam: you better make the right move
Sam: young man the power’s in your hand
Garrett: slam your fist on the table and make your demand
Lincoff:  you better make the right move
Livshin: youth is the engine of the world
Garrett: youth is the engine of the world
Adam: WE are the engine of the world

Sam: James A. Baldwin once said, “not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”
Garrett: we need to face this problem right now, because our time is running out

Livshin: I’m doing it because of David Haimes and Chad Weiner and for Brian Jacobson
Lincoff: I’m doing it because of Bobby Weitzner and for Jonathon Kumin
Garrett: I’m doing it because of Danny Loeb and for Exodus AZA’s Junior Class
Adam: I’m doing it because of David Bernstein and for freshman like Kyle Gersman, Ben Sass, Jacob Kalish, and Eli Banayan
Sam: I’m doing it because of Yoni Binstock and for Vonya Shiffman

-SAM go around room having people say who they’re doing it for

Adam: NOW is the time to make this happen
Livshin: write the names of the people who you’re doing this for in the top right corner of your paper, fold it up and put it in your pocket
Lincoff: never forget those Alephs and future alephs to come
Garrett: THEY are the reason why we are here, and why we are doing this now
Sam: Gentlemen, follow us.

-Regional Board leads group outside to cheer session

**Insert long-ass cheer session here**

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