A Thank You Letter To My Youth Group

A Thank You Letter To My Youth Group

I’m still a spooey loving, havdallah singing, damn proud BBG thanks to you.
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To the incredible organization that shaped me to be who I am today,

I want to say thank you. Thank you for the experiences, the friends, the way you shaped me to be who I am today. I wouldn’t be a “damn proud B’nai Brith Girl” without the four years I had with you. As a young college student, I find myself comparing my past experiences of conventions, programs, and business meetings to my world now. I take everything I have learned about being a young Jewish woman and have applied it to every aspect of my life. Without your guidance and help to form me, I wouldn’t be who I am today- someone I am proud and confident to be.

Thank you for the weekly meetings.

As a small and scared eighth grader about 5 years ago, I was lacking friends, faith, and freedom. I had two friends, I knew I was Jewish, and I could stay out until about 9pm on a weekend night - I craved more. I needed stability, love, and light in my life. So when a cool and fun high schooler called me and invited me to BBYO, I jumped at the opportunity. I went to the first meeting and was hooked - I had found my place in the world. Immediately, I was welcomed by many different girls who all shared the same things with me. Young, Jewish, and a longing for sisterhood. As weeks went on I found myself counting down the days, the hours, even the minutes until I would be reunited with my tribe for an hour during the night. With these meetings, I found myself meeting my best friends. I found boys and girls that enjoyed my company and wanted me around them. I found a new home within the small space where our community would meet, and I am so thankful to have had five years of weekly meetings.

Thank you for the conventions.

Being able to say that I was surrounded by hundreds, sometimes thousands of boys and girls that are going to be the change that is wished to be seen in this world is rare. I’m lucky to be able to say I was, and even luckier to say that I am one of those people that can make a change, and I realized that during conventions. While spending a weekend at a convention, I mingled and created and shared new ideas with 300 of my closest friends from within my “region” or respective area, all while growing and developing into a strong, jewish leader. There were programs teaching us about Judaism or participating in community service, havdallah and other jewish traditions and prayers that I did not know before but now sing and chant in my head constantly, AZAA/BBGG and pretending to enjoy sports, business meetings and finding out how to take charge and learning leadership skills, and separates which had every girl and boy in their respective rooms remember how important they are all ultimately help shaped me into a new being. The best part is, the small regional conventions were only the beginning. Once a year, BBYO put on the biggest teen jewish gathering known, international convention (trust me, we broke a Guinness World Record, it is huge!). This convention, known as IC, was the number one best experience of my life, and luckily for me I got to attend twice. I am so thankful for the opportunity to have met so many people from across the globe, to have been able to be crammed in a hotel meeting room with thousands of teens, to have spent a majority of my money on late night pizza and clothing during Chofesh or free time, to have listened and been inspired by a multitude of speakers and leaders, and I will forever be grateful for the time spent in airports and lobbies and hotel rooms with people that I still call friends today. I gained so much knowledge and so much faith within myself during the five day experience and no words will ever be enough to express the gratefulness I have for this event and organization altogether.

Thank you for the sisterhood I hold onto so dearly.

I never expected to find my best friends through this organization, and I didn’t just find my best friends - I found my family. My sisters and brothers. Today, I am farther away from my favorite people than I’ve ever been. However, it’s like nothing has changed since the last time we saw each other as if no time has passed. It’s like our very last convention was just yesterday, that i was giving my life and sharing my stories to the crowd of younger members in front of me, and that we still have years of BBYO and friendship ahead of us. With the friendships and sisters that I’ve made, I will always remember and be thankful for the chapter sleepovers and bonding sessions including the pretzel and icing treat called “spooey”, pizza, and mean girls. It doesn’t matter that some of my friends are 100 miles away or a few states away, I created such strong bonds with these girls and guys that no amount of miles will break us up. For that, I thank you for giving me such strong connections to people that I never would have met without joining this organization.

So, BBYO, thank you for being such a strong and powerful organization and presence in my life. Thank you for shaping and helping me and thousands of other young jewish leaders see that faith and friends go hand in hand. Thank you for giving me the chance to find myself. Since my time in this incredible organization, I have used my knowledge and new found skills to continue to grow and prosper. I will always remember the experiences and laughs and tears that I have gone through, and will forever be thankful that I could be apart of it and letting it become a part of me. With that, BBYO, I give you my life.

All of my love and gratitude,

A Damn Proud BBG of the Mid America Region, Yachad BBG #2370

Cover Image Credit: Alec Rothman

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12 Bible Verses For Faith In Hard Times

Remind yourself that God is always with you.
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Lately, I have felt lost at what God wants for my life. Ever since I've come back to UWG everything has been horrible. It seems that I can't catch a break. I'm trying my best to focus on school, work, and extracurricular activities. But it's hard when I'm having issues with my apartment/roommates and knowing my family back home is struggling and needs many prayers. All, I keep thinking is maybe Carrollton isn't where I belong anymore. I've asked God if He can guide me in the right direction. Below, I have found Bible verses that have helped get me through these rough, past couple of weeks.

1. Isaiah 43:2

"When you go through deep waters, I will be with you."

2. Psalm 37:5

"Commit your way to the Lord. Trust in Him, and He will act."

3. Romans 8:18

"The pain that you've been feeling, can't compare to the joy that's coming."

4. Proverbs 31:25

"She is clothed in strength, and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future."

5. Joshua 1:9

"Be bold. Be brave. Be courageous."

6. Ecclesiastes 3:1

"There is a time for everything and a reason for every activity under the heavens."

7. Isaiah 41:10

"Don't be afraid, for I am with you. Don't be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand."

8. Isaiah 66:9

"I will not cause pain without allowing something new to be born, says the Lord."

9. Psalm 91:4

"He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings, you will find refuge; His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart."

10. Psalm 62:1-2

"My soul finds rest in God alone, my salvation comes from Him, He alone is my rock and my salvation."

11. Philippians 4:13

"I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength."

12. Jeremiah 29:11

"For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

Cover Image Credit: pixabay.com

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When You Read Your Bible And Pray Every Day You Will See Yourself Grow, Grow, Grow

I notice a difference in me when I don't read my Bible and pray every day.

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Whenever I hear someone talking about reading the Bible every day, my mind goes back to a song I sang in Sunday School. "Read your Bible, pray every day and you'll grow, grow grow." Whenever we said grow, we would stand up taller and taller, eventually standing on a chair and trying to reach the ceiling. Quite funny right? Yes, but how much truth exists in this silly song as well.

A relationship is built on communication between two people. You wouldn't have much of a relationship if you didn't talk to the other person. The same principle exists in your relationship with God. We are able to talk to God through prayer, and God wrote the Bible as a means of communicating with us. Because of this, it is important to read the Bible and pray every day.

I feel really inadequate in writing this article on this topic because I know how much I struggle with consistency in this area. These things don't become a habit on accident. You must practice this on purpose in order for it to become an effective, lasting trait in your life.

I can tell a difference in a day when I don't read the Bible and when I do. I've found myself to be more joyful when I spend some time reading and meditating on a few verses and talking to God about whatever is on my mind. It sets my focus on things above rather than myself, which is something I have struggled with to be quite honest. I find it interesting that so many Christians find it difficult to have a consistent time with the Lord, myself included. It could be a matter of priority and where Jesus falls on that. I know I've been guilty many times of placing other things before God and they thus become idols.

The song then says, "Neglect your Bible, forget to pray and you'll shrink, shrink, shrink." As we say "shrink" we begin crouching down closer and closer to the ground. It's still quite silly, but a lot of truth is evident. It's a good object lesson to what happens when we don't communicate with God in our relationship and become stagnant. We stop communicating with the Lord and eventually our sin doesn't bother us as much. There's not as much conviction there, so we don't confess it. Then, our fellowship with God breaks and we continue to make more worldly choices.

Whenever I don't read my Bible and pray for a day, I notice how much of my flesh is evident. I get angrier a lot quicker and my patience is a lot less evident. Anxiety and worry are often a lot more evident. All these things aren't of God. He gives the spirit of peace. That's not to say that communicating with the Lord well will never put you in a place where you don't feel at peace. We still are in need of God's sufficiency amongst our insufficiency. It just amplifies how sinful our nature is and how holy Christ is.

I hope this is an encouragement for someone in their walk with the Lord. Maintaining a strong relationship with Him isn't always easy, even though it should be a Christian's top priority. It's amazing at how gracious God has been to me in spite of all the times I've failed Him and wasn't as close as I once was. His grace is still good enough for you friend. Believe me.

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