Around the beginning of each school semester, tens of thousands of Jewish teens from hundreds of communities around the world are going big in their communities for BBYO kickoff events. From boat cruises to end-of-summer pool parties to mega-dances, everyone is celebrating that BBYO is back in action. Kickoffs are AZA and BBG's way of warmly welcoming new classes and members into our Movement. Find kickoff events near you or take the initiative to help plan one for your community.
Not only are you kicking off the school year and your BBYO year, Kickoff also lines up perfectly with the start of the Jewish New Year and holiday season. This is an easy opportunity to celebrate new beginnings and weave Judaism into your programs! Check out this list of Jewish holidays and moments to make sure your Kickoff aligns with these important Jewish events.
Whether you’re planning a virtual community-wide experience, an in-person chapter experience, or some kind of hybrid, this year's Kickoff will help us stretch our creativity while still creating a social, interactive, WOW experience members and prospects can’t get anywhere else.
Kickoff events will be popping up all over the world. We'll be populating upcoming events here soon. Check back to see what's happening in your area or plan something!
P.S. Save the date for Movement Kickoff on September 13 open to all Jewish teens worldwide. More details coming soon to BBYO On Demand! And, we're starting things off on September 12 with a Movement Kickoff Havdalah!
There's a lot of thought and strategy that goes into any Kickoff event. We want to think about how we build an experience that is exciting, accessible, affordable, and that ultimately will get any Jewish teen pumped about being active in AZA and BBG.
In the time of COVID, our Kickoffs might not look like they used to but that doesn't mean we can't get creative. Here, we’ll share program ideas and best practices for hosting during COVID, and much more. No matter what, a memorable Kickoff has to be more than just an awesome program idea. We need to think about making the invitation special, hosting from beginning to end, and following up to keep everyone engaged.
If you still have questions after reading through this page, that's totally cool. Feel free to contact your International S'ganim for programming support or International Morim for recruitment support. Don't worry, we've got your back.
Here are some our favorite new Kickoff ideas for this year however your community is able to run it.
Campfires in multiple locations, Zoom together for a song session
Midnight BBQ and hotdog eating contest
Arts and crafts projects in small groups
Lost Tribe E-gaming tournament
Wacky science projects
Costume party or murder mystery party
Make your own amusement park
Midnight BBQ and hotdog eating contest
Arts and crafts projects in small groups
Socially distant Sukkot festival
Visit the Parking Lot Social in your city
Escape room: visit or build your own
AZAA/BBGG: kickball, field day, obstacle courses
Given quarantine, how we invite, host, and follow up with prospects is ten times more important, and the little details matter.
Set up in a park or by a food truck, and invite folks to drop by to say hello and ask questions about BBYO—where you can distribute invitations to Kickoff and other goodies.
Have a special swag item for every teen—especially for those prospects or new members who never got their first piece of swag this spring. Encourage them to wear it to Kickoff. Have staff or advisors drop off swag packs at doors, or coordinate pick-ups from a central location.
Send snail mail or care packages with Kickoff supplies and treats in advance to prospects.
Pre-registration for in-person events will be a challenge: make sure to leave space for prospects! We should never turn a prospect away.
Have a celebrity invite prospects and members to Kickoff via Cameo (or surprise drop a message during the event itself).
Build excitement during registration with an Instagram Live—promise live incentives to meet goals.
When breaking down into groups, assign teens to smaller groups with individuals outside their best friend group.
Every prospect has a host to take them through the experience.
Offer a simultaneous “Taste of BBYO” micro-program for parents.
Because you’ll have an Instagram-worthy moment, make sure you have a common hashtag, so that people can post about it, especially if programs are running simultaneously or virtually.
Big virtual WOW programs can feel like IC plenaries—except without the fun of sitting with your friends. Find creative ways to foster 1:1 connections during programs AND create that Instagram-worthy moment.
If you’re running something virtually:
Always have a waiting room enabled, and let people in in batches so early arrivals don’t feel awkward.
Give everyone assigned roles (greeting people out loud, greeting people on the public chat, sending DMs).
One person should be in charge of tech to help with flow and minimize pauses.
Use breakout rooms and split people up strategically into smaller groups.
Have designated “break” times where people can turn their cameras off and step away. Know what you’ll do for the kid who’ll stick around.
Create playlists to have music during transition times and pauses. Have a theme, where everyone comes wearing something.
Prospects should never leave an event empty-handed: send them home with a gift bag, or creative gift that they can continue to add to at successive chapter programs (e.g. a necklace with a charm for each program).
Let the prospect know you’re thinking about them. Immediately add them to chapter group chats. Follow them on social media.
Mail or drop off handwritten letters, thank you notes, gift cards, or other goodies.
Do staff or advisor “doorgrams” where staff or advisors drop by to say hello, introduce themselves, share about BBYO, and drop off a region or chapter-specific gift.
As chapters get new members post-Kickoffs, drop off “A New BBYO Member Lives Here” lawn signs.
To maximize the impact of your Kickoff experiences, consider setting up one of the following sequence of events in your community. Read through the following examples to inspire ways to connect these welcome and welcome back experiences.
Chapter Kickoff → Community Kickoff → Movement Kickoff (9/13)
Get into teams at your chapter’s Pool Party Kickoff, who you’ll compete with as part of your community’s Scavenger Hunt Kickoff the following week. Your team gets extra bonus points for participating in the Movement Kickoff the next day!
Community Kickoff → Movement Kickoff (9/13) → Chapter Kickoff
At your drive-in movie Community Kickoff, your Morim hand delivers (with gloves!) invitations to next weekend’s Movement Kickoff and the individual chapter Kickoffs the following week. September’s tough with Jewish Holidays, so you decide to transform your typical weeknight chapter meeting into a field day as your chapter Kickoff.
Movement Kickoff (9/13) → Chapter Kickoff → Community Kickoff
Drop Chapter Kickoff invites (via your favorite Cameo celebrity) as soon as Movement Kickoff ends. Run an epic Chapter Kickoff with a chef-hosted cooking class, and join the pre-Yom Kippur Movement Havdalah afterwards. When you drop off ingredients for the cooking class, you also make sure to include an invitation to your Community Kickoff on 10/4 evening once Chag is over—it’s a virtual chapter showcase, and your prospects know your chapter’s program will be THE BEST.
Save the date! in addition to the awesome community and chapter Kickoffs that you’ll be planning, we’ll be hosting a centralized Movement Kickoff on September 13! Hosted by Alephs and BBGs from across the International Order and featuring some BIG names in entertainment, we’re launching the year off right on BBYO On Demand. Any and every Jewish teen is invited to join Movement Kickoff, it’s going to be a can’t-miss event. We hope that you use the Movement Kickoff as a way to build momentum and rally Jewish teens in your community to attend.
September 11th-12th we will be hosting a movement wide virtual Shabbat and Havdalah (with Music Directors Happie and Eric). This is a great moment to invite people to virtually put their arms around each other and feel the incredible community BBYO can build around the Havdalah candle!
Kickoff season happens around Sukkot—a holiday all about welcoming people (and celebrating outside!). It’s a natural, organic way to put a Jewish lens on what you’re already doing.
With September and October full of Jewish holidays, be careful not to program on the Jewish holidays, unless your program celebrates the holiday (ex. an outdoor dance party for Simchat Torah).
Zoom fatigue is real, but how you use Zoom can make or break the experience. Interactivity, movement, taking it outside are some ways to breathe some life back into Zoom.
Explore share squares, digital flyers, and Instagram story templates to let everyone in your community know about your Kickoff event. Add your event information and photos of your community or chapters and go crazy posting and sharing. Below are a few samples of what's in the set.Start Designing
Print these lawn signs (12"w x 18"h) for your new AITs and MITs (new members)!Access
Give Bid Cards to a prospective member to help you make the ‘ask’ to join AZA or BBG.
Membership cards can be ordered through Chroma. Ask your Regional Staff if you're interested in placing an order.
Put your event sign-in information on this graphic to easily track attendance. Available in four color variations.Access
Suggested vendor: Rush Order Tees
Instructions: Call 800-620-1233 or submit design here. Feel free to select different tank tops or imprint colors. Recommended to print on dark shirt.
Ballpark price: $7/item
Suggested vendor: 4imprint
Instructions: Select a waterbottle you like with a tall imprint area and upload the artwork to the site. Feel free to select different water bottle or imprint colors.
Order fraternity and sorority flags for members to put up in their rooms and to put up at chapter meetings and events. Flags are designed a 3'x5' but customize to the size you need!
Give this Bid Card to a prospective member to help you make the ‘ask’ to join AZA or attend Inductions.
Learn the basics about the Aleph Zadik Aleph and B'nai B'rith Girls.
Give this Bid Card to a prospective member to help you make the ‘ask’ to join BBG or attend Inductions.
Use these templates to plan your calendar and get the word out about your events.
Explore ideas to elevate your next chapter or community event.
Use this visual aid to be inspired on how to elevate common BBYO environments.
Explore great ways to add the 'WOW' factor to elevate your engagement events.
Know what to do before, during, and after your event to successfully capture it with photos.
Print one of these Feather Flag designs for your next event. Recommended Vendor: bestflag.com (Razor Flag)
Apply for a Gamechanger Grant to give your chapter the opportunity to receive $50-$1,000 directed for programs and initiatives that will make a bigger difference in your community, expand programming, pilot new recruitment/rush techniques and elevate your local chapter experience.
Let us know the details of a program you ran funded by a Gamechanger Grant.
Learn how to cultivate the right energy when building great programs.
Here's a list of icebreakers and opening mixers that will help kick off your event with some relationship building.
Utilize these design templates to elevate your Kickoff promotion and hype.
Learn the steps of Meet, Record, Invite, Host, and Ask to bring teens closer to BBYO.
Understand why we run Movement Initiatives and how it ties to our year-round MRIHA strategy.
Print these signs (12"w x 18"h) for your new AITs and MITs (new members).
Social media can be an amazing tool when it comes to driving program awareness and attendance. These tips will help you promote your awesome events to social media audiences. They’ll work for a variety of platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat.
Make a copy of this record spreadsheet to recruit new members to your chapter.
Print this Step and Repeat to put up at all of your events for the perfect branded photo area.
Put your event sign-in information on this graphic to easily track attendance.
Use these tips to write a strong press release to build more brand awareness and engage with your community.
Let us know new tools you'd like to see in the Toolbox and share your own to be added to the library.
Use this index of ideas to plan great virtual, blended, socially distanced, and in-person experiences to plan fun and engaging programming during COVID-19.
Share all of your Kickoff posts with the hashtag #BBYOKickoff to showcase all of the incredible events happening around the world. Maybe if you're lucky you'll get a shout out from @BBYOInsider.