A group of students from Adivi Ashkelon Ort Technology High School recently returned from a two-day camping and hiking trip. The school is a partner educational community of Village Way Educational Initiatives (VWEI).

The “Israeli Journey,” modeled after Yemin Orde’s annual Challenge (Etgar) Hike, tests the students physical and emotional endurance, strengthens connections to other students and staff, and gives opportunity to experience camping outdoors.

Life is a Journey

For many  of the school’s students, it is their first camping and hiking experience. Along with accompanying staff members, Adivi Ashkelon’s students participated in important discussions about their cultural identity, their connection to community, Land of Israel and the Jewish people.

Adivi Ashkelon is in its third year of VWEI’s Village Way partner integration process. It is already meeting the challenges of helping its at-risk youth population succeed and achieve their educational potential.

“We would never have dreamed, three years ago, of taking these very challenging youth on an overnight outdoor strip. The risks seemed too great,” said a school educator. “But after two years of working with the Village Way, understanding the values of Tikkun Ha’Lev and hearing from other educational communitions about the impact of such trips, we decided that our kids deserved a chance at this trip, as well. The results are all very positive.”

Camping and Hiking Builds Character

The students all enjoyed experiencing the rugged beauty of Israel’s outdoor environment as well as testing their own abilities and endurance.

“My friends asked me how it was and I didn’t even know what to say. It’s the kind of experience that only someone who has been through it can really understand,” said a participating students.

Click here to see a complete list of VWEI’s 30 partner educational communities. Read about the Challenge Hike at Yemin Orde Youth Village.

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