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Centennial Celebration of BBYO at IC 2024


Shrieks and wails echoed through the bathrooms of the Rosen Shingle Creek Hotel during BBYO’s International Convention (IC) in Orlando, Florida. Over this past weekend, I attended thisconvention with 5,000 other Jewish teens. I had an incredible experience with spending time with friends and making many new ones.With all due respect to the Rosen Shingle Creek kitchen staff, one specific dinner gave half of the teens terrible food poisoning. Florida’s attempt at Mexican food was a failure.

Aside from the food, IC had many outstanding speakers and performers, including a headlining concert from Rapper Flo Rida, which was incredible. Rida even walked through the crowd at one point and was taking pictures on people’s phones throughout the entire performance. 

However, the conference guests were not all famous singers, rather many of them were speakers aimed to educate the many teens in attendance on the current conflict in Israel and Jewish life amidst the ongoing rise in Antisemitism. During the conference, Joshua Danziger, Emery/Weiner Senior, had the opportunity to interview the son of a Hamas leader and founder, Mosab Hassan Yousef. Yousef was formerly a spy for the IDF and spoke on his experiences with the public and shared his thought on the violent actions committed by Hamas during the Oct. 7th massacre. I also listened to 3 different survivors from the Oct. 7th attacks during my time at the conference, which was very eye-opening. My conference roommate, Zac Bitton, a teen from North Carolina, was also impacted by the speakers. He shared, “I’ve seen interviews online but hearing what the survivors had to say in person changed how I viewed the attacks on October 7th. I knew the basics of what Hamas did but now I understand the full extent of what happened after listening to the speakers.” 

While some aspects of the conference were incredibly educational, others were merely plain fun. For example, one night, Emery Senior Asher Deutsch and I were walking and we passed a random room with a lot of shouting. We went in to check it out and there was a full-blown wrestling match happening inside. There was an announcer, two very very large Jewish wrestlers, and a full ring set up in the hotel. It was shocking but  so fun to watch, Emery Senior, Mia Septimus, who helped to plan the convention, said in response to this odd event, “That’s the fun part about planning IC, there’s so many random things like the WWE match that most people don’t know about it until they see it.” 

Another key aspect of this year’s IC, which sets it apart from other years was being able to go to Universal Studios in Orlando during the convention. On Sunday night, all 5,000 of us arrived at Universal and explored the park, even getting to stay an additional four hours after the park closed. It was amazing being able to see the park completely empty and not have to wait in lines for roller coasters. Universal was a highlight for the majority of the people at IC and definitely was one of mine as well. 

IC was an incredible experience where I learned a lot, met other Jewish teens from around the country, and most importantly had lots of fun. IC is undoubtedly a once in a lifetime experience, and I would definitely recommend that everyone who can, heads out to Denver next year for IC 2025. I promise you will not regret it!

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About the Contributor
Evan Melman, Reporter
Evan Melman, Reporter. Evan Melman is a senior at the Emery/Weiner School and this is his second year writing for The 9825 and his first year as a reporter. Evan is actively involved in the Emery/Weiner student ambassador program and is a member of Emery’s RC (Rock Climbing) and Cinema club. In addition, Evan enjoys reading and hanging out with friends and family. 

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