On Faith and Programming

February 2nd, 2008 by bebersghost

AZAleph posted an insightful comment here, that is deserving of further response. He talks of faith and programming, but even he does not reach high enough.

So let’s talk of faith.

AZAleph believes that a great I-Board could be selected by a dedicated and informed assembly of delegates (such as CLTC graduates). I believe that, given the right encouragement, almost every Aleph in the order could become informed enough to help select I-Board. BBYO is all about faith, and if there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years, it is that ANY statement that casts doubt on the potential of a BBYO member to participate, accomplish a goal or make a wise decision is a mistake. It is only through faith in members that you can create an order consisting entirely of members who will become leaders and take responsibility and choose wisely.

So all of you who have cast doubt on the ability of members to make wise choices (whether at elections or otherwise), you are right in a sense, but fundamentally wrong. The error is that even if you are right now, the only way to change this is to raise expectations, to have faith and act under the assumption that every member can rise to the high standards you expect. If you have faith, the membership will prove themselves worthy of that faith.

AZAleph states: …every chapter needs to involve their inexperienced members. Alephs do not gain leadership experience by doing (almost) anything EXCEPT FOR hands-on planning work.

Truer words were rarely spoken, but to see this as just a dream is a mistake. I know of more than one chapter where the rule is “everybody programs”, where most members plan their first event while still in 8th grade, and where, in any given term, the majority of members have planned at the very least a program at an event, if not an entire event.

How is this possible? It happens because those chapters have faith in their members, even the very youngest.

If you truly wish to change and improve the order, here’s a good place to start: trust your members. Set high expectations of them. And don’t lose faith even if they falter along the way – in the long run your faith will always be rewarded.

6 Responses to “On Faith and Programming”

  1. Oyster Says:

    Once upon a time, you told me that when it comes to regional elections, politicking is not only acceptable, but the norm.

    This goes to show that regional dynamics are different than chapter dynamics, where politicking is anathema.

    Extending this reasoning, the dynamics are vastly different even more so for the International level of BBYO.

    With that in mind, is it necessarily so staight-forward to imply that what works for chapter leadership, maps directly to International leadership?

  2. bebersghost Says:

    Actually, I was thinking that regional leadership could map into International leadership. But in terms of earlier discussions of using modern technology to allow greater participation in elections, I think that definitely could apply to the regional level as well as international.
    As for the principal of having faith in the membership – I’d suggest that should apply at all levels (and that includes advisors and staff at all levels as well).

    The Ghost

  3. Anna Says:


    this post hit so close to home for me in my chapter and region. When i was a freshman the chapter i was in was not a chapter for “putting faith in the younger members” You were nothing unless you were on board and one rarely got on board until junior or senior year. My best friend wanted to do more so i helped her start a new chapter. We based this new chapter on our belief that big or small, experienced or brand new, ANYONE had the chance to plan a program, run for board, and essentially be a working member of the chapter.

    I am proud to say that our chapter has grown with these ideals and now our new freshman are on board and doing an AMAZING job, our members know that we expect them to be the best BBG’s they could be and with those expections they attended MIT classes everyweek, planned a senior program, and got A+ on their MIT test (were the only chapter in the region who takes them seriously).

    Im also proud to say that though i have never been on a summer program I know just as much if not more about BBYO than the kids who did attend summer programs. See CLTC is a way to become an informed BBYO member, but its not the only way, and as far as elections go, you really just have to hope that the people who are voting are confident enough to be able to choose the right I-board members…

    This was a great topic and i am so proud to be able to add my thoughts into the mix…


  4. bebersghost Says:


    First – good for you on creating the kind of chapter you can really be proud of. I also have firsthand experience with what you describe regarding summer programs – members of chapters where younger members program often come back from CLTC saying “yeah, it was lots of fun – but I knew most of it already”.

    The Ghost

  5. AZAleph Says:

    Wow, I can’t believe that I inspired an entire blog post. It comes to show how much power a single Aleph has.

    And do I agree with what yu say, Ghost? Here is what I have to say:

    I believe that a chapter should have faith in those who are dedicated and well-versed in knowledge. On the contrary, I also believe that it is a chapter’s job to show young or confused Alephs (or BBGs too, sorry if I’ve been to gender-specific the whole time, I’m all for equality) how to dedicate themselves, and to teach them about AZA, or at least give them the opportunities of education or dedication for them.

    Trust is important. Yu must have faith in all members, or the brotherhood will wither away into nothingness. I believe that if something is not done in the promotion of fraternity, it should not come to pass within the AZA. However (back to trust), some people are always dishonest. Exceptions must be made, don’t yu agree?

    Anna (who commented above), I find it fascinating how yu have never been to a summer program, but yu still know all this stuff. I commend yu. How was this feat accomplished?

    Super, we leave for IC tomorrow!

  6. bebersghost Says:

    No argument there, AZAleph – I’ve never failed to be impressed by what younger members can accomplish, nor by the ability of those who have strayed to return and redeem themselves. And while it’s true, there are some who are not only dishonest, but truly evil, those are few and far between, and a healthy chapter can deal with them.

    Have a safe trip to IC

    The Ghost

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