October 16, 2014
To Whom It May Concern, (Name), a student at (your high school), has asked that I write to you to provide context for an incredible opportunity that requires him/her to be absent from school from Thursday, February 12 through February 16, 2015. (Adjust the start date to Wednesday, February 11 if your (or your teen’s) absence includes a Pre-IC Summit). (Name) holds a leadership position in our community’s BBYO program – the area’s largest program for Jewish teens. BBYO is the world’s largest Jewish youth movement with tens of thousands of teens involved in countries around the world. Founded in 1924, BBYO inspires a strong sense of community responsibility, fosters Jewish identity and builds character in the lives of the teens that participate.
Each year, community teen leaders, alumni, advisors, professional staff and philanthropists from around the world convene on President’s Day weekend in February as the largest annual gathering of Jewish teens working to strengthen the Jewish future and improve the broader world. This year we’ll be meeting in Atlanta, Georgia and celebrating our Order’s 90th Anniversary. We realize that for some delegates, this means missing school, and we wish this could be avoided, however, as you can imagine, with participants coming from across North America, South America, Europe, the Middle East, Asia, Israel and elsewhere, this date works best for our many constituencies.
The meeting itself is truly an educational experience. The participants spend much of their time in business sessions, putting into practice all the best components of the democratic process. They engage in discussion and debate, studying issues for the impact they will have on our total organization as well as for the specific members they represent, and resolving those issues by majority vote. In addition, there will be special sessions for convention attendees on how to impact our communities in the areas of social justice, political advocacy and community service. Previous IC guests have included U.S. President Barack Obama, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice, COO for Facebook Sheryl Sandberg, Jewish Agency for Israel Chairman Natan Sharansky, Democratic National Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), Ohio State Treasurer Josh Mandel (R-OH), CEO of Invisible Children Ben Keesey, CEO of Change.org Ben Rattray, United States Trade Representative Michael Froman, MTV’s The Buried Life, U.S. Olympian Dana Vollmer, and musicians TimeFlies, Hoodie Allen, American Authors, Aloe Blacc, B.O.B. and 3LAU.
Of major importance is the informal "give and take" of shared experiences by peers from different parts of the world who are encountering many of the same types of opportunities and challenges. This informal learning has proven to be an extremely positive and rewarding component of the overall meetings, and builds skills that powerfully impact academic success and overall interpersonal abilities.
I hope that you will excuse (Name)’s absence from his/her classes from Thursday, February 12 through Monday, February 16, 2015 (Adjust the start date to Wednesday, February 11 if your (or your teen’s )absence includes a PreIC Summit) with the knowledge that he/she will have indeed participated in a positive educational activity. If you have any further questions about the opportunity, please do not hesitate to be in touch with us.
Director, AZA and BBG and BBYO International Convention