Yachad campers can design part of their own experience by choosing their own Intensive Program Tracks (“Intensives”), allowing them to focus on a topic of their choice through in-depth exploration and learning throughout the session, paired with an immersive, out-of-camp experience that is sure to be a highlight of their summer!
Intensives allow teens to participate in programming during the session to delve more deeply into the topic areas listed below. Through informal activities, workshops, and sessions with experts in the field, our teens will expand their knowledge set, gain leadership skills, and challenge themselves to try new activities and explore new ideas.
Teens will have the opportunity to rank their Intensive preferences on a form that will be available in advance of the summer. We will do our best to assign teens to their first or second choice Intensive, but we cannot make any guarantees. Teens will be assigned to a specific Intensive approximately 3-4 weeks before the session begins, in order to prepare for the summer and ensure that they have the appropriate equipment required for their Intensive’s out-of-camp trip experience.
Read below to learn more about the different Intensives and corresponding trip experiences.**
In the Masa Intensive, teens will learn about living and surviving in nature and explore Jewish and environmental values that will leave them with a desire to live with a lighter footprint and impact on the world and an intensified love of the outdoors and a desire to share that with others.
- Gain an appreciation of the natural world
- Explore the power of community and mutual responsibility to achieve goals
- Learn and practice serious outdoor survival skills
- Understand and experience the concept of “leave no trace”
- Learn how to truly disconnect and appreciate the world around them
The out-of-camp experience: BACKPACKING
Participants will spend four days and three nights backpacking in Harriman State Park for an intense backcountry trip. Teens will learn new skills, practice survival techniques, take on leadership responsibilities, and challenge themselves in small-group, supportive team settings of 7-10 teens.
Each group will be led by an experienced Teva (nature) Guide who has received additional pre-summer training in wilderness safety and leadership, outdoor Jewish programming, and hold additional Wilderness First Aid and CPR certifications. Each group leader will be joined by an additional staff member, who will be trained and prepared by the Teva Guide prior to the trip in order to help guide the group on the trails.
The group will hike an average of 5-8 miles a day (approximately 6-8 hours a day) and collectively carry all tents, gear and food in their packs.
Sleeping accomodations: Camp is set up each night by the group with the guidance of staff at approved camp sites with lean-tos within the park. Participants will sleep in small tents of 2-3 people of the same gender. Participants should not expect to have access to indoor bathroom facilities for the duration of the trip.
Participants should be in good physical health and willing to commit to the physical and mental challenges of this trip.
In the Etgar Intensive, teens will push themselves to challenge their physical limits and explore ways to live more healthily, improve their fitness levels, and support action to liv e in healthier communities year-round.
- Experience the power of community to reach goals, both individually and as a group
- Learn different ways to improve their own lifestyles to encourage better health, including physical fitness, nutrition, and spiritual wellness
- Leave with a desire to live a healthier lifestyle year-round
The out-of-camp experience: BIKING
Participants will spend four days and three nights biking through, and camping out in, scenic upstate New York. The group will bike between 20-30 miles each day and approximately 110 miles in total by the end of the trip. Rides will be both on paved roads and backcountry, unpaved trails.
The trip will be led by an experienced biking guide who will also be joined by between 8-10 additional staff members, who will be trained prior to the trip, spread out amongst the group throughout the ride, and be able to ensure safe riding practices throughout the trip. At least one staff member, if not the trip guide, will hold Wilderness First Aid and CPR certifications.
TY owns and annually maintains a fleet of bikes to be used for this trip. Prior to the trip, each participant will be fitted to a specific bike and helmet that is assigned to him/her for the duration of the trip. Participants will also receive a trip orientation to learn and practice safe riding practices, review signals, and get comfortable with their bikes. All participants are assessed by the trip guide and, if any participant is deemed to be unable to be safe and able to complete the trip, s/he will be re-assigned. Safety is the number one priority.
Participants will not carry their gear during the rides. Only water bottles attached to the bikes or Camelbak-style water bladders that can be worn on the riders’ back will be with the riders during the day. All additional gear and food is transported along with the group’s support vehicles (one large truck and one 12-passenger van), which will be accessible when the group stops throughout the ride. If any rider is experiencing trouble during the ride and deemed unable to ride, s/he will ride in the 12-passenger van and store his/her bike in the truck until s/he is able to ride again.
Sleeping accomodations: Camp will be set up each night at official campgrounds along the route by teens with the guidance of staff. At most sites, the group will have access to bathroom facilities (toilets and sinks, but not showers) and designated space for the group to pitch tents and create outdoor programming space. Participants will sleep in medium-sized tents of 5-8 people of the same gender.
Participants must be able and comfortable riding a bicycle and should be in good physical health. Participants with existing leg or knee issues should consult their physician to determine if this level of riding will be doable.
In the Kayamut Intensive, teens will gain a greater sense of responsibility toward protecting the natural world through understanding human impact on the environment, considering their own lifestyles and impact, and consider ways to influence and encourage others to live more sustainably.
- Gain an appreciation of the natural world
- Learn about existing (and future) threats to the natural world and how to combat those threats
- Consider what parts of their own lives contribute to the destruction of the environment
- Discover different ways individuals can contribute to preserving the environment
- Determine how to take action to protect nature locally, globally, and in Israel
The out-of-camp experience: KAYAKING
Participants will spend four days and three nights kayaking down the scenic Delaware River in consecutive segments. The trip concludes with the group kayaking straight off the river and into camp.
The trip will be facilitated by a professional outdoor company, Northeast Wilderness Experience (NEWE), which provides four professional river guides to lead the group on the river each day. NEWE’s river guides go through extensive training as professionals and hold numerous certifications in lifeguarding, first aid, river safety, and other open-water certifications. An additional 7-10 staff members from Tel Yehudah also join the trip to provide additional leadership and supervision, including at least 2-3 lifeguard certified staff for added support. NEWE trains and orients each of the staff before the trip, including paddling techniques, river skills, and safety requirements.
Participants will paddle at an intense level for an average of 9-14 miles, depending on the daily itinerary and should expect to be on the river for 6-8 hours each day. River conditions will vary each day, between flat water to a maximum Entry Level II Rapids.
A NEWE river guide will provide an orientation for the teens prior to the trip to introduce paddling techniques, river skills, and safety procedures before the trip begins.
On the river, teens will also learn and practice river skills through clinics in topics such as, throw bag usage, ferrying, crab crawl, body surfing, and boat rescue. All clinics will be implemented and overseen by NEWE guides. Safety is always the top priority.
Sleeping accomodations: The group is housed at same outdoor campsite (owned and operated by NEWE) for all three nights of the trip, situated along the Delaware River. At the campsite, the group will have access to bathroom facilities, picnic areas, outdoor cooking equipment and designated outdoor group programming space. Participants will sleep in large group tents of 5-8 people of the same gender.
Participants should be in good physical health and not have any shoulder or arm injuries that could be exacerbated by extensive paddling.
NOTE: The Kayamut Intensive will require an additional $100 charge for teens who choose and are selected to participate in this Intensive.
In the Tzilum Intensive, teens will explore how art, and specifically photography, can be used to share and tell a story, as well as how art can influence and educate others toward a specific understanding and inspire action.
- Learn and practice techniques for taking ‘good’ photographs
- Consider how art can influence society
- Explore the impact of photos in social media and consider the stories they tell about their own lives in the public sphere
- Investigate how to find and reach an audience
- Learn how to use photos to spread influence
- Curate a meaningful final exhibit that shares their selected story at the end of the session to be shared with the rest of the TY community
The out-of-camp experience: PHOTOGRAPHY EXPEDITION IN NEW YORK CITY
With cameras in hand, our campers will embark on a four day journey throughout New York, using the city as the context for understanding one’s own identity and values and learning the language of photography along the way.
Participants will be introduced to the essential tools, methods, and skills they need to look intently at photographs and to take their own pictures. Workshops will include visits to the International Center of Photography, meetings with photographers/gallery curators and owners in New York, and editing sessions in computer labs during the trip. Teens will also enjoy evening outings and activities throughout the city.
The trip will culminate with a vibrant photography exhibition at camp and online of the participants’ work, celebrating their experiences behind the camera and revealing their collective “lens” and perspectives.
Sleeping accommodations: The group will stay at the Metrowest JCC along with the Tzedek trip participants, in spacious, carpeted group rooms that will be separated by gender. Participants bring sleeping bags and optional sleeping pads for their stay. Participants will also have access to locker rooms equipped with showers, toilets, and sinks for their use each night and morning.
Participants do not need previous experience or expertise with photography to participate. Participants also may use smart phones for taking photographs.
NOTE: The Tzilum Intensive will require an additional $100 charge for teens who choose and are selected to participate in this Intensive.
In the Tzedek Intensive, teens will consider personal and collective responsibility, examine current issues in modern society, and explore the Jewish context for making a difference in the world. Teens will gain a deeper understanding of their role in the betterment of their communities and become leaders who galvanize others to take action and inspire a desire to create a more just world.
- Gain a deeper understanding of community needs
- Explore the concept of privilege and how it affects the society in which we live
- Experience community service within a context of Jewish values
- Learn about and get first-hand experience with a number of social issues around which the Jewish communities of New York have taken a lead role in organizing
The out-of-camp experience: VOLUNTEERING IN NEW YORK CITY
Participants will spend four days and three nights in the greater New York City region learning about communal social responsibility and engaging in hands-on volunteering and community service opportunities. Participants will learn about and get first-hand experience with a number of social issues around which the Jewish communities of New York have taken a lead role in organizing.
For the 2015 trip, we are partnering with organizations such as Repair the World, New York Cares, Volunteers of America, Midnight Run, Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, and more still being finalized with a few additional partner agencies. The service opportunities will be impactful, diverse, and will all be paired with processing/learning sessions to provide contextualization for the entire experience.
Participants will earn at least 15 hours of volunteer credit for full participation in this trip that can be used to fulfill requirements of their schools or organizations at home. Tel Yehudah will provide documentation of service hours to all participants at the conclusion of the summer season.
Sleeping accomodations: The group will stay at the Metrowest JCC along with the Tzilum trip participants, in spacious, carpeted group rooms that will be separated by gender. Participants bring sleeping bags and optional sleeping pads for their stay. Participants will also have access to locker rooms equipped with showers, toilets, and sinks for their use each night and morning.
NOTE: The Tzedek Intensive will require an additional $100 charge for teens who choose and are selected to participate in this Intensive.
**Descriptions are tentative. Tel Yehudah may cancel or change Intensive programming, as well as the location, description, or required equipment for any of the corresponding trips. Final descriptions of trips will be provided to families prior to the summer along with the Intensives Request Form for campers. Some Intensives/trips may have additional costs. Not all trips will be offered both sessions. Final decisions will depend on enrollment and requests