by Abbi Berry
Public Relations Manager
Each year the international Jewish youth movement BBYO hosts its International Convention (IC). The five day event takes place annually over the Presidents’ Day Weekend, and boasts thousands of teens from across the world. Politicians, Olympic athletes, and several notable speakers and guests attended the convention. This year, BBYO IC 2018 was in Orlando, Florida.
IC kicked off on Wednesday, Feb. 14 with pre-programming (PreSummits) for different tracks such as the Jewish Enrichment Institute, Sports Leadership Summit, and Execs Conference. With about a third of the full convention body, participants attended programming and had a chance to eat dinner from several local food trucks.
Moving into Thursday, PreSummits finished and the rest of the convention body landed in Orlando. Teens dressed with their best regional pride and got ready for the convention’s favorite tradition: Opening Ceremonies. Several speakers addressed the convention including HQ Host Scott Rogowsky and both the Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau and US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley sent video announcements.
On Friday, BBYO IC geared up for Leads Day, a day dedicated to giving back to the community. Speakers included Olympic gymnast and women’s rights advocate Aly Raisman, Lions Write founder Tolu Olubunmi, and Lego fanatic and author Zachary Pamboukas. Following the inspirational morning, participants ventured out to serve the Orlando community. To conclude Friday, the IC body dressed up for Shabbat and celebrated with prayers and dinner.
Saturday at convention, teens spent the day listening to speakers. Attendees included Olympic soccer player Abby Wambach, Co-Founder of Run for Something Amanda Litman, Actor Josh Peck, and CEO of Operation Underground Railroad Tim Ballard. Later in the day, teens gathered to celebrate Havdallah and finished the night at Universal Studios in Orlando.