One of the great dilemmas that any BBYO member faces is whether or not to run for chapter board. Given that springtime is election season for many chapters, this seems a good time to visit this topic.
So what are board members anyway? I know what you’re thinking – they are the members who are elected to lead the chapter.
Uh, actually, they aren’t.
Certainly you would hope that those who aren’t on board have leadership opportunities as well. In fact, I often find that non-board members are some of the strongest leaders in the chapter, not just in terms of planning great events, but in terms of general influence over the chapter. And sad to say, there are also cases where members who are elected to a board position end up doing very little in terms of leadership (or even their job).
I’ve never seen being elected to a board office magically turn anyone into a leader. It does often provide the challenge and opportunity to gain those skills, but by and large those elected to offices are those who have already demonstrated leadership ability, or a least the desire to gain such.
So what are board members?
They are the members who are chosen to take, and have agreed to take personal responsibility for the operation of the chapter.
Members can be great leaders on and off board. And they can plan great programs on and off board. But with a board position comes two great gifts – the gift of responsibility, and the opportunity to make a commitment.
It is this that perhaps distinguishes BBYO from any other youth group (Jewish or other). BBYO board members can carry more responsibility and authority than teens in any other environment I can think of. In fact, they can carry greater responsibility and authority than many adults do.
If you are an Aleph or BBG who is not running for board because you are too busy, too lazy, or too afraid to run, please reconsider. Talk to your advisor about it. It could exactly what you and your chapter really needs. And if you are Aleph or BBG who is planning on running just because you want a fancy title and know you aren’t going to do much, please don’t run – leave the opportunity to someone who can truly gain from the experience and will take the opportunity and responsibility seriously.
And for those who run and don’t make it, don’t fret – a healthy chapter will offer numerous other opportunities for you to have an impact and show your stuff. Take those opportunities, and a board spot will likely follow.