Teen Corner: BBYO Siganit

BBYO International Siganit
As my 13-year-old self stepped off the hot bus into the arms of my excited parents, I knew the next time I went to BB Camp, it would be for seven weeks. Throughout the year, I was nervous for the upcoming summer. Little did I know, I was about to embark on the best seven weeks of my life. Taking the leap to attend camp for both sessions changed my life. I gained precious leadership skills, made amazing new friends and had many incredible experiences. 
One new friend would change my life – Rose Leveen asked me to help her start a new BBYO chapter on Portland’s eastside. When Rose told me that she wanted me to help her restart Herzl, I honestly did not think I was right for the job. I was not in high school yet and had only been to a few BBYO events. Despite this, I committed to being on the chapter’s board and embarked on this journey. 
Herzl grew quickly, and I fell in love with the tight-knit, empowering community as it gained a presence in the region. I found myself in BBYO and in my Jewish identity. The same sense of belonging I had felt at camp, finally translated into my everyday life. 
About a year after Herzl’s founding, Rose took a huge leap and ran and was elected BBYO second international treasurer. Rose’s action inspired me and showed me that it was worth it to pursue what you’re truly passionate about. After seeing Rose’s incredible experience on International board, although I knew there was a good chance I could lose, I decided to run for BBYO’s 76th international vice president. The application and interview process was rigorous, and I often doubted myself. I persevered. Last weekend I stood in front of 300 of my fellow B’nai B’rith girls and gave them my all. I left them with my years of hard work and my true passion for the position, knowing that although the outcome was uncertain, the process has been worth it. 
As the international president walked into the room with the election decision, I was prepared for whatever would come because I had worked for this moment since the day I stepped off that camp bus. As I heard my name announced as BBYO’s 76th international vice president, my heart filled with joy; I knew I had the platform to change the lives of others, just as my role models had done for me. 
I do not know what the long term holds for me, but I am more than ready and excited to embark on my life’s next big journey – planning the largest gathering of Jewish youth ever, BBYO International Convention. If I can have the encouraging impact on just one person that leaders such as Rose and my support line of BB camp friends and staff have had on me, I know that no matter what happens, I will always be fulfilled.
Maccabi team has openings
Team Oregon still has space for a few teen athletes who want to participate in the 2020 JCC Maccabi Games in San Diego in August.
The 2020 JCC Maccabi Games, ArtsFest and Access will draw more than 2,000 participants, ranging from 12 to 16 years old to participate in 13 sports and range of art specialties. For more information, contact Ashley Scacco, ascacco@oregonjcc.org
Nominate scholar athletes
Nominations for the Harry Glickman Scholar Athlete Award are due by March 15. Any Jewish scholar athlete who has lived in Oregon for the past three years and is a junior or senior in high school is eligible. Two winners will be selected and recognized at the Mittleman Jewish Community Center’s first Community Celebration on May 14, 2020. Applicants will be judged on academic and athletic achievements as well as their commitment to community service. Winners will receive a $500 scholarship for college.
Harry Glickman - The “father” of professional sports in Oregon, Harry was the founder of the Portland Trail Blazers, their President from  ‘87-’94 and the founder of the Portland Buckaroos. He is also a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. oregonjcc.org/hsathlete
Writing & art contest set
The annual Sala Kryszek Art & Writing Competition for middle and high school students encourages youth to evaluate history, foster an awareness of the Holocaust, and broaden their minds in the areas of art, history, civics, sociology, and literature.
For the competition, students are presented with a prompt that becomes their cue to create a piece of writing or a work of art. The deadline for this year’s competition is March 20.
Written entries – such as essay, poetry, play, short story or letter – must address the prompt and make a clear connection to Holocaust history. Art entries must include an artist statement of one to two sentences describing the connection between Holocaust history and the artwork. Artwork must be two-dimensional – such as paints, charcoal, pencil, oil, chalk pastels or photography.
This year’s prompt notes: Language can be used as a tool of hate. Reflecting on Holocaust history, create a piece of writing or work of visual art that examines how hate speech was expressed, why it was effective at oppressing Jews and other minorities, and its consequences for modern society.
Grand Prize winners will receive a trip for the winner, teacher and parent to visit to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.  They also will be asked to speak briefly about their work at the award ceremony on May 3, 2020.


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