Heritage Florida Jewish News - Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

BBYO international teen president visits Orlando Jewish community


Ellie Bodker, BBYO's international teen president, meets with Rebecca Michel, BBYO regional teen president.

Ellie Bodker, the international president (N'siah) of BBYO, the world's leading pluralistic Jewish teen movement, visited the greater Orlando Jewish community over Sept. 15-18. Bodker, of Overland Park, Kan., was elected by 700 of BBYO's top teen leaders to serve at the helm of the organization, representing the B'nai B'rith Girls (BBG), BBYO's renowned leadership program and high school sorority, travel around the world and motivate Jewish teens to grow their local BBYO programs, strengthen their Jewish communities and make a difference in the world. Bodker takes the reins at a monumental time for the organization-BBYO has grown immensely with 19,000 active members across North America, reaching more than 80,000 Jewish teens in more than 35 countries around the world.

"I am very excited to visit the Orlando Jewish community," said Bodker. "There is significant potential to increase Jewish teen involvement in North Florida Region and it has such a rich BBYO history; I look forward to the opportunity to collaborate with local BBYO teens and professionals to develop a plan for growth and greater program excellence."

While Bodker was in Orlando, she attended a Waldflowers BBG (B'nai B'rith Girls) meeting at The Roth Family Jewish Community Center. She was hosted by the Michel family and met with her regional counterpart, Rebecca Michel. Rebecca is currently serving as North Florida region's regional N'siah and oversees chapters throughout Orlando, Jacksonville, Melbourne, Tampa, Sarasota and Naples. Bodker also attended Regional Kickoff, which was a party yacht cruise throughout Clearwater Beach with over 70 teens throughout Florida.

Over the course of her year-long term, Bodker, who deferred her first year of college to serve as BBYO's top ambassador, will travel to more than 50 U.S. cities and over six countries across Europe and South America. Key to Bodker's agenda is the promotion of unique, meaningful programming that engages both new and returning teens in a sorority-model experience they can't find anywhere else, ultimately increasing AZA and BBG membership. Central to this is an elevated focus on cultivating connection throughout the worldwide Jewish community and empowering individual change-makers to take their local initiatives to the global stage. Bodker is excited to move the movement this year while embodying BBYO's core values of sisterhood, philanthropy and teen leadership.

Ellie Bodker (seated on right) attended a Waldflowers BBG meeting at The Roth Family Jewish Community Center.

Bodker's responsibilities also include serving as a resource for chapter and regional BBYO leaders to strengthen local programming and serving as a voting member of BBYO's Board of Directors.

"Ellie is a dynamic leader with a real passion for the Jewish community, which makes her an excellent role model for Jewish teens here in Orlando, as well as Jewish teens around the world," said BBYO's Senior Regional Director Lory Conte. "We are thrilled that she will be spending several days in our community working to help BBYO North Florida Region reach its full potential."

In the capacity of president, Bodker is joined by male counterpart, Aaron Cooper of Winston-Salem, N.C., who oversees BBYO's young men's division, Aleph Zadik Aleph (AZA); together, Bodker and Cooper work with eight other elected BBYO leaders from all over North America to help move the organization forward.


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