“Don’t shoot me, Rabbi!” cried Zack, before cracking a smile…
It’s been another busy summer for CTeen Headquarters. With four travel programs and a new initiative assisting chapters to facilitate local road trips, CTeen has used the summer months to reach and engage over 200 teens by providing them with an immersive overnight experience. The summer trips, spearheaded by Rabbi Nachman Rivkin, have succeeded in instilling yet another generation of teens with an inspired connection to Yiddishkiet.
Heritage Quest, CTeen’s 22-day trip to Poland and Israel, attracted teens from throughout the United States, Europe, Canada. Both the boys’ and girls’ trips were filled with adventure, spirit and an engaging approach to Judaism. For Ashley Brauning from Vacaville, California, Heritage Quest represented so much more than just a summer trip. ”This trip helped me discover myself and helped me understand what kind of Jew I want to be.”
Harley Derrickson from Honolulu, Hawaii, shared a similar sentiment. “I feel as though there was no better way to spend my summer. The knowledge I gained from this trip and the sense of community I took away far outweighs how I could have spent my time at home. Waking up every morning and being able to put on tefillin and having learning class helped me become more connected to Judaism. So many questions I had about faith were answered by the wonderful staff.”
In addition to the Poland-Israel trip, CTeen Xtreme, a two-week traveling camp, launched its fourth and best year yet. The trip once again began in Denver, Colorado and ended in Los Angeles, California, and offered teens the opportunity to get out of their comfort zones with mountain biking, white water rafting, rappelling, and more. Besides for the fun excursions, the teens took part in multiple volunteer projects and experienced Shabbos with the Jewish communities in Aspen, Las Vegas and Los Angeles.
“I never knew that Judaism could be this much fun. Even though camp is over, I am going to continue saying blessings over my food every day, and saying Modeh Ani every morning,” shared Chloe Meyer from Southborough, Massachusetts.
“CTeen provided a perfect balance of fun and adventure with appreciation of nature and Judaism for our daughter,” shared Rachel Gordon, from Rochester, NY, whose daughter Sydney attended CTeen Xtreme. “The entire experience from start to finish is well planned. We would recommend that anyone whose child is looking for adventure, new friendships and a Jewish experience take advantage of this program.”
The latest summer initiative, CTeen Road Trip, launched in June and aims to empower CTeeners and their Shluchim to organize 3-6 day local road trips. With the help of Rabbi Avraham Posner, road trips have already taken place in Panama, Brazil, New York, and California, with more scheduled to take place in Illinois, Washington, Tennessee, and Colorado.
“Our summer programs have proved to be a major step in the continuous growth to CTeen,” shared Rabbi Mendy Kotlarsky, vice chairman of CTeen. “It is clear that summer camp is from the most impactful experiences for these teens. We are confident that their growth will be exponential because of these programs.”
CTeen is very grateful to all the trip staff members and their Shluchim: Heritage Quest Boys – Rabbi Moshe Rapoport of Chabad Mequon, WI. Heritage Quest Girls – Mrs. Sara Sherman of CTeen Las Vegas. CTeen Xtreme Boys – Rabbi Moshe Gourarie of Chabad Toms River, NJ. CTeen Xtreme Girls – Rabbi Gershon and Miri Klein of Chabad UCSB.