Monday, July 1, 2013

BBYO International Leadership Training Conference (ILTC)

10 p.m.

That's approximately what time I began my hourlong 6/29/13 talk at ILTC, an annual summer event held by the B'nai B'rith Youth Organization (of which I was a proud member) in Pennsylvania.

The attendees are Jewish teens (this year, about 230) from around the world who want to strengthen their leadership skills—and therefore their regions. In fact, the theme this year was "Strength to Strength," so it was appropriate that I came bearing stories not only of superheroes but also their (Jewish) creators (who were strong in non-physical ways).

It was the latest I have ever started a presentation. But teens—especially teens in summer, and especially teens in summer away from home—are immortal. Time is an endless river. Night is an adrenaline boost.

While in BBYO, I attended two international conventions, but not ILTC. Funny that I finally made it there, at age 41. Both of my ICs were at a camp in Starlight, Pennsylvania...and it turns out that camp was right next to this one, in Lake Como, PA. Or maybe Starlight is now Lake Como? I wasn't clear. 

arriving around 8:30 p.m.

Beyond the most obvious, like cell phones, I observed several fixtures that weren't present when I was in BBYO, including Purell dispensers and dangling name badges for everyone. The culture has gotten more protective against both germs and strangers. Though all wore a badge, I find only one visible in this photo; you'll have to squint:

And I came across a familiar face:

 me on 6/30/13

two friends around 8/22/89

I gave my talk on the kind of stage I spoke/played on numerous times as a BBYO member. I don't use notes but do have my PowerPoint slides printed out as a guide so I don't botch any of the surprise reveals. As you can see, I improvised a podium:

During the closing Q&A, the first question was about as rewarding as it gets: "Can you come speak to my region?"

My digs for the night:

The lodge included a bookshop, though it looks more like a library:

And there was this great old photo whose caption was even greater:

Thank you again, BBYO, for inviting me back into the fold for a day. It was, and will always be, my honor.

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