High school seniors at Yemin Orde and in Village Way partner schools participate in rigorous challenge hikes designed to build and strengthen confidence, friendships and leadership skills.

At Yemin Orde Youth Village, high school seniors recently returned from a multi-day outdoor learning experience that provided opportunities for putting team-building and leadership skills to the test.

The success of the annual Challenge (called Etgar in Hebrew) Hike has inspired other Village Way Educational Initiatives partner high schools, such as Amal Energy Tech high school in Hadera, to participate in their own multi-day challenging outdoor experiences. Each challenge hike is suited to the needs and locations of individual Village Way schools.

Extra-curricular programs such as the challenge hike are funded through the generosity of donors.

A 100 km Challenge for Yemin Orde’s Youth

At Yemin Orde, youth embarked on a 100 kilometer trek from Mt. Arbel, near Lake Tiberius, to Mount Meron, through the lower Galilee and, finally, back to Yemin Orde. This year, a huge crowd of family and friends gathered at the Village to welcome the weary hikers back to the Village.

As always, a group of staff members accompany the teens to facilitate group discussions, team-building activities, provide understanding of the historical and environmental context and help prepare meals along the way.

Amal Energy Tech Challenges Youth with Hike Through Desert Terrain

At Amal Energy Tech high school, teens hiked 30 kilometers over rugged desert terrain during the course of three days. This program is meaningful and important to the school’s at-risk youth, as it offers opportunity to face and overcome physical and emotional challenges – individually and as a team.

Each evening, staff who accompanied the students on the trip, led group discussions on the day’s successes and its challenges. These discussions also focused on applying lessons learned in the field to other areas of their life. Family members and friends also greeted teens at the conclusion of the grueling three-day hike.

Rising to the Challenge Provides Meaningful Lessons

One of the students from Amal Energy Tech wrote to his teacher after the hike: “Even with all the difficulties, I learned a lesson for life. I know everyone who was on the trip felt the same. You even put up with me and all my pointless anger and outbursts. Another school would have kicked me off right away. You know how to deal with me and let me know where I went wrong. Thank you, I had such a great time.”

The program was also meaningful for the educators, who had an opportunity to see a different side of their students than what they see in the classroom.

“Everyone who started the journey completed it. They could not believe what they had accomplished. We have created a great new tradition, strong connections were made, and we learned new things about each other and ourselves,” said a student from Amal Energy Tech High School.

Amal Energy Tech High School is a relatively new high school, and this is its first class of 12th graders. Working together with the Village Way facilitator, the school is building a new program that prepares seniors for life after graduation. This program includes individual counselling, working with parents, presenting different gap-year program options to the teens, providing sessions on life skills, and preparing them to graduate in a healthy and positive way.

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