Each year, high school seniors embark on a four-day Challenge  Hike, also known as the Etgar Hike through the Carmel Forest region to put new leadership and team-building skills to the test. The hike also reinforces a connection to the Land of Israel and provides opportunity for strengthening outdoor skills.

The Challenge Hike is one of the most popular and eagerly anticipated programs at Yemin Orde. Our youth look forward to the chance to learn outside the classroom and challenge themselves with extreme outdoor activities. A small number of staff members accompany the group on its trek to facilitate group discussions, explore the area and help cook meals out in the open.

An important feature of the challenge hike is to establish an official name for next year’s ninth graders. It is customary to give a name that is meaningful and reflects an important event that happened in the past year in the Village or in Israel.

The 2015 graduating class was called “Ometz”, which means courage in Hebrew. The “Ometz” class was in ninth grade at the time of the wildfire at Yemin Orde, and courage was needed to return to the Village and rebuild despite its extensive damage and destruction.

etgar returnAdditionally, when the Etgar hikers return to the Village at the conclusion of their journey, they are greeted with great excitement and applause by everyone at the Village.

The Etgar hike is solely funded by donations to Friends of Yemin Orde. Each year, the Village is in need of new equipment to accommodate the youth who will participate in this adventurous trip. The cost to supply all needs for the hike is  $18,000. If you would like to provide this financial support, please email karen@yeminorde.org

Based on the hike’s success with boosting confidence and teamwork among the teens, Yemin Orde’s Village Way Educational Initiatives partner communities have also incorporated similar Etgar hikes into their programming. Indeed, it has become a signature program of the Village Way programs.