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BBYO international convention comes to Denver

Grand Aleph Godol Mason Quintero, left, and International N'siah Noga Hurwitz

Grand Aleph Godol Mason Quintero, left, and International N’siah Noga Hurwitz

At a moment in history when teens are revolutionizing how they are valued and seen as partners in building society and declaring that age isn’t the defining factor of those in leadership positions, more than 3,000 teens will converge upon Denver for the BBYO international convention over Presidents’ Day weekend, Feb. 14-18.

The convention, with the theme “Our Turn,” will offer opportunities for Jewish teens to connect with their peers and redefine how they are going to be valued and viewed.

In total, the convention will bring more than 5,500 people together, including the teen delegates, educators, thought and business leaders and philanthropists from around the world.

The conference will take place in downtown Denver, but is spread across the entire city.

Local partners include Imprint Group, JEWISHcolorado, Rose Community Foundation, Rodef Shalom, Shwayder Camp and Temple Emanuel.

In total, BBYO has partnered with more than 50 nonprofits in the Denver area.

Denver area residents are opening their homes to host BBYO “global ambassadors” — representatives from 36 countries participating in the convention.

Gov. Jared Polis will speak at Friday morning’s plenary session.

The event includes programming designed to take advantage of Denver area attractions, including Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum, US Air Force Academy, Denver Art Museum, Museum of Boulder, DU, CU-Boulder, Denver Zoo, Denver Botanic Gardens, Cook Street School of Culinary Arts, Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre, Coors Field, Mile High Stadium, Downtown Aquarium, Denver Museum of Nature and Science, the Denver Symphony, Colorado Adventure Park and the Olympic Training Center.

Such sightseeing trips are designed to complement specially-developed curriculums for convention attendees, who can pick their areas of interest.

Topics include animal therapy, civil rights and racial justice, coding, CPR and first aid, creative arts, culinary arts, dance therapy, disability awareness, entertainment and media production, entrepreneurship, fashion, gun violence and safe schools, photography, political engagement and sports leadership.

Local Denver speakers include Annie and David Chung, founders of the 50/50 Bookstore, dedicated to promoting literacy through greater access to books.

In its first year alone, 50/50 disseminated 20,000 books throughout the greater Denver area.

Other speakers include chefs and restaurateurs Daniel Asher and Alon Shaya, who will both be available as part of a culinary seminar series.

Shawna Schultz will speak to participants about media and entertainment.

Shultz is the co-founder and president of Mass FX Media, a Denver-based motion design and animation studio that works on branded content and feature films.

Alyson Wells will be available for students interested in the environment and sustainability. Wells manages the aquaponic greenhouse at The Growhaus, which grows and sells produce wholesale to local Denver restaurants.

For aspiring musicians and music producers, Rex Buchanan will give his inside take on the music industry.

Buchanan is a music producer, DJ, instructor and entrepreneur from Denver who has opened for artists like Pretty Lights, Empire of the Sun, Will.I.Am, Benny Benassi, Big Gigantic and Griz.

BBYO international convention will also serve as the launch point for an anniversary celebration as B’nai B’rith Girls (BBG) turns 75 this year.

Celebrations will recognize women who’ve made an impact in their communities and the world. There will be multiple content sessions focused on topics such as women’s empowerment, leadership training, gender equality and women’s rights.

BBYO will be livestreaming select sessions on Facebook Live. Livestreaming will be accessible on BBYO’s Facebook page, and videos will later be posted on BBYO’s YouTube channel.

Schedules for streaming will be posted on BBYO’s international convention event page and BBYO’s Facebook page.

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