Summer Program Typical Schedule
Note that the order and content of the activities may change depending on many factors such as our assessment of the group’s needs combined with the individual process, weather, and other less foreseeable factors such as COVID-19 restrictions
Welcome and Adjust
Arriving on Monday, it is time to settle in, get to know each other, and become more and more familiarized with our environment and expectations. Within this week, we typically venture out for a short “welcome hike” of 2-3 days in the Kibbutz’s surroundings. This is also a great opportunity to discover new strength and strike new relationships. Learning some navigation skills is a great way to think about where I am heading, how I want to get there, and how I can also enjoy the journey itself. On Friday following the hike our participants typically receive their phones to reconnect with family, check in, and share their experience. The weekend is a good time to relax and get to know each other more informally.
Routine at the Kibbutz
The second part of adjustment is devoted to our Kibbutz routine. Waking up to days filled with tasks, work, cooking, and being more intentional about daily habits and routines. Relationships take work and time to evolve and now, after the welcome hike, it is time to get to know each other more closely, even if it means not always getting along and coming out of the “honeymoon” stage. Ultimately, we all want to be accepted for who we really are and not a pretend, hidden version of ourselves. We will also spend a day out of the Kibbutz, visiting one of the many interesting sights in Israel, as way of stepping outside of the routine for a short break.
Time to get serious
To facilitate the group and individual process, there is nothing better than a significant time together in nature. Typically, this is where we venture out to our “Yam el Yam” hike. This is a more demanding 4-5 day hike up north in Israel. During this week we split into smaller groups where people can really show their strengths, take care of others, and cope with one’s own challenges and breakdowns. A powerful experience, this is also where survival can turn into a thriving, as a person and as a group. Rising to the challenge fosters trust in oneself and in others. We learn how strong we truly are alone and together, through moments of difficulty, crisis, and mutual support. The connection made with staff is also very meaningful and trust-based. Following this intense week, we typically take a break with host families throughout Israel, having a chance to relax and disengage for a bit, as well as experience a true “Israeli weekend”.
Back to our routine
Re-establishing our routine feels different now, that the group is closer together and we are able to support each other and get a lot done. It is time to eat the fruits of our labor and enjoy our time together. A quick sail from Haifa to Acko is a great way to do that and prepare for the following week. Here more individual work can be done with trust established – from emotion regulation to challenging old patterns and habits that serve us no longer.
An adventure within an adventure
Strengths, and needs, and are quite comfortable with each other. It is truly time to enjoy these lessons, have some fun, and examine our boundaries. The Cyprus sail is a great opportunity for that. Working things out on the yacht while operating it smoothly is not an easy task, but by now challenges don’t phase us. Fishing is a bonus. On the island we allow ourselves some serious fun while examining the boundaries of what it may mean. Trust is a major player in the process, as well as self-regulation, peer relationships, and curiosity. The adult-teen relationship is redefined in the most Israeli way – combining responsibility, structure, and independence, while holding in anxiety and hope.
Family time and Old Israel
Coming back from Cyprus, we invite parents over for an intensive family process. Participants may spend some time with parents and opt for a unique process together with us. Other participants travel to Jerusalem and Masada, discovering and discussing inspiring stories of heroism, grit, tragedy, and meaning. Understanding perspectives, conflict, and peace is not an easy task and we depend on each other for support and explanations. At the same time, the group supports the individual process calmly and with patience, as our ending is near.
Gearing down for goodbye
It is time for our final hike – typically heading up north to the Golan, combined with fun activities such as rafting and paintballing. It is more about spending meaningful time together, revisiting old habits and examining the personal and group process. It is also time to start thinking about our goodbyes. How do we do that? What do I go back with and what do I want to send my peers away with? These are important existential questions. This is where the attachment is tested and worked through.
Preparing for the graduation ceremony can be anxiety-provoking but also very therapeutic. Again, we intentionally spend quality time together. We think carefully about our parting words and celebrate our time together – foremost, just by being there, but also by celebrating the process we experienced. The graduation ceremony is an incredible experience of true meaning, closure, and gratitude. It is time to say goodbye.
Important to note – coming the return from Cyprus we shift gears and start looking ahead pass Free Spirit. Whether you, as parents, are able to come for an intensive process, or not, this is the time to re-examine goals and plans for transition. Talk with us about it – let’s catch up, plan ahead, and challenge ourselves.