Building a Great Chapter, the BBYO Way

October 26th, 2007 by bebersghost

I have to share with you the amazing success story of Thomas Carlyle AZA. I don’t know that any chapter has ever started out so strong. Consider their first event: “Chapter Launch Overnight” that took place last week.

The process began a few weeks earlier when they recruited their advisor (parent of one of the Alephs). He filled out Advisor Appointment Request (form ADV-1) and submitted it along with the Consent to Background Checks (form ADV-2), getting that process rolling.

Getting the charter members signed up with the next job. An informal get-together was held during which the soon-to-be members all joined b-linked. They took home and also printed out extra copies of the Annual Participation Authorization (PRO-3), Universal Parent Program Release (PRO-4), Universal Teen Program Release (PRO-5), Membership Release (PRO-1) and Participant Medical Information and Consent to Treat form.

After a bit of calling around, they were able to find a parent willing to host the overnight, and got her a Consent to Host a Chapter Overnight Program (PRO-2).

As you can tell, these guys really had their act together. They were making new shirts for the event, and since they wanted to sell the extras regionally they also filled out a Merchandise/Apparel Approval Form (0PS-2). Since they were planning to play Broomball they also filled out an Insurance – Certificate Request Form (0PS-3).

They did have some obstacles to overcome. Some of them lived a bit distant from the overnight house, so they had to fill out Mileage Waiver Form PRO-6. Regional staff discovered that one of the prospectives had slipped and broken a fingernail during their informal meeting, so they had to fill out an Accident/Incident Notification Report (0PS-1). The staff didn’t have time to check all the prospective advisor’s references so he wasn’t able to start by the time of the event. As a result the single parent hosting the event didn’t have a second adult to host as required by policy, so the overnight part couldn’t happen.

They finally met the day of the event, the 15 charter members along with a remarkable 12 prospectives! Unfortunately, by the time they went through the list of who had filled out which necessary forms they discovered that not a single charter member (and of course none of the prospectives) had filled out all of the necessary forms correctly. They also discovered that they had been so busy getting forms filled out, they hadn’t actually planned any programming. So the event had to be canceled.

But don’t worry, even though the chapter no longer exists (all the members and prospectives just headed over to the USY event happening nearby), all 15 of the charter members and 6 of the prospectives are now showing up as engaged on B-Linked! So all’s well that ends well. BBYO is happy. The teens are happy. Even USY is happy! Nicely done, Thomas Carlyle AZA (RIP).


Thomas Carlyle was an 18th century Scottish essayist who protested excessive regulation and rigid conformity to bureaucratic rules and red tape. See

9 Responses to “Building a Great Chapter, the BBYO Way”

  1. Brandon Says:

    Is this supposed to be apparent sarcasm about how BBYO’s way is inefficient?

    I was waiting to see your biting criticism and how you’d solve the problem at the end of the article, and it missing was surprising.

  2. bebersghost Says:

    I’d say the intent was more towards satire than sarcasm (though the line between them is often thin). One clear hint being that, to the best of my knowledge, no AZA chapter has yet been named after Thomas Carlyle.
    Indeed, it may be shocking after all this time to find that even ghosts are capable of a sense of humor (whether or not BBYO Inc. is, remains to be seen).
    That said, consider the lack of a solution to be, for now, an invitation to propose your own. Bonus points if you can do so by continuing the story…

    The Ghost

  3. matt Says:

    That’s said, that would be an interesting story, if it did happen, but all my friends who’ve started there own chapters have been doing well, one has a great high membership another not so much, but still all the forms, and how complicated blinked is, make it more and more difficult, like today, dashboard and blinked were down, what if i needed to sign up for a convention cause this was the last day but i couldnt cause blinked wasnt working, I agree with your point and if anyone reading this has any power, I think the organization should stop trying toforce change, and let it come gradually.

  4. bebersghost Says:

    Or at least consolidate some of the forms, and include more of them into a single annual waiver…..

    The Ghost

  5. Anna Says:

    and so international looked upon the sad death of Thomas Carlyle AZA as an open door to a better BBYO. A BBYO where kids could go to events without signing forms (or what my region does) make unoffical BBYO events so no forms need to be signed….

    i totally agree with bebersghost there should be one form for the entire BBYO year.

    so much paper work takes away from BBYO, this organization isnt about forms or money or engaged members or even paid members



  6. bebersghost Says:


    Are you suggesting that filling out forms is not a “meaningful Jewish experience”? Blasphemy!

    The Ghost

  7. Anna Says:

    i mean… i want to look back at my high school experience remembering the good ol days of BBYO…

    filling out the overnight requst form for my sisterhood sleepover… signing the annual participation authorization… i mean these are the times i will truely charish and remember…

    psh forget seperate programs, int states, life ceremonies, good and welfares along with all the fun times with my friends… i will always remember those random slightly useless forms we are forced to sign…. ahh good times in BBYO

  8. Bryan Levy Says:

    As an advisor, I can not condone ‘Un-Official’ events, however during my BBYO days, our chapter which over the 4 years grew from about 25 to about 80 members, averaged about 2 official events per year, and about 15 un official. Sometimes you have to make the decisions that are best for you (and your chapter), the only drawback is the question of blurred liability, and not being able to enter your programs for awards. These are the choices you get to make as the leader, and for better or worse, it is the way it has always been and will always be…Its a numbers game financially on BBYO’s side…and we all know jew’s make great accountants;)

  9. LA in AZ Says:

    When i was in 8th grade my mom sent me to a BBYO recruitment night, which honestly wasnt that great. After atteneding one other program, and then another, and then a sleepover, i was hopelessly devoted to my chapter. I believed i had it made- i had a group of girls i could call upon for every and anything, a group of friends that seemed to love me for myslef without any aparent reason. I was in love with this organization, as were my fellow BBG sisters. It wasnt untill i hit my sophmore year that i saw it all fall apart– now that i was a “regular” member i developed a clique of girls i was friends with and felt alienated and unwanted from other cliques. No longer was my chapter “ONE sisterhood”, it had split into different sections were everyone was frienimies and no one actually said anything real.

    I recently started reading your blog, and it is very informative as well as uplifiting and hopeful.

    My chapter is falling apart. Girls hate each other, very few feel they can depend on other girls. It has turned into a high school situation in which theres the “cool” girls with power and then the others. I, as well as my sisters, have lost the love we once had for our chapter and for this organization.

    I want to go back to the way i felt in the 8th grade: obsessed with my sister BBGs. It seems that no one LOVES our chapter anymore. We have lost the vital BBG spark we used to once have. Now, with over 10 seniors leaving, i fear my chapter will take a turn for the worse. I see my 40 member chapter dwindle each day and the prospect of our chapter folding is a serious posibility if something doesnt change soon.

    What do you suggest we do? What programing have you seen in you time as an advisor that strengthens your chapter’s closeness? Should we just accecpet that this is what it is and try to do the best with what we have?

    Thank you for your time!

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