Picture of stone formations in the Israel desert
SUMMER EXPERIENCES

WESTERN USA ADVENTURE

Hit the road for a three-week teen travel adventure in California and Arizona. See a totally new side of America – from bustling cities to the breathtaking national parks!

Discover the American Southwest’s many treasures on a transformative journey with a focus on exhilarating adventures in nature, road-tripping through National Parks, and creating meaningful connections along the way. 

Whatever region of the United States you are from, the destinations and beauty of the American West will be sure to surprise you with its stunning terrain and abundance of outdoor activities. Your adventure begins in the vibrant desert town of Sedona, known for its red rocks and arts community, to hiking in Grand Canyon National Park, to spending time on an Indian Reservation before heading to California. In southern California you will relax on the beach in Malibu, ride the waves in San Diego, and become starstruck in Los Angeles. On the journey to northern California you will experience the lush surroundings of Sequoia National Park, walk along the Golden Gate Bridge, and spend time at Fisherman’s Wharf. You’ll quench your thirst for adventure before departing for home with all of your new memories and lifelong friendships.

More than just a trip, this is an opportunity to become one with nature, tour bustling cities, and experience beautiful sunsets across the American West. Exploring the rich history of Arizona and the vast landscape of California is sure to be a memory you will hold onto forever. On this trek, you will participate in service projects, be a part of unique Shabbat experiences, and connect with Jewish teens from across the nation.

Elements of the Experience

The Must-Sees and the Hidden Gems

Western USA Adventure covers all of the must see highlights of the American West – Alcatraz, the Golden Gate Bridge, Hollywood, and Malibu Beach. We also make time for more off-the-beaten path experiences like walking through a redwood forest and kayaking on Lake Tahoe .

Once-in-a-Lifetime Outdoor Adventures

The American West is about wide open spaces and stunning national park land. Live the great outdoors by hiking to the base of Half Dome in Yosemite, exploring Sedona and Slippery Rock Park, and descend deep into the Grand Canyon. See a side of nature that you have only dreamed about, and challenge yourself along the way.

Living Jewish Values

As a BBYO Passport experience, Western USA Adventure is also an opportunity to explore your Jewish identity in a new context. Delve into the meaning of being “eco-kosher”, fulfill the Jewish value of Tikkun Olam (repairing the world), and celebrate Shabbat in new and different ways with local Jewish communities.

A Taste of University Life

Interested in what living on a college campus is like? Many of the places you’ll stay at on the road are college campus dorms. Western USA Adventure opens a window on university life by experiencing schools as diverse as the University of California – Berkeley and California State University of Northridge.

IS IT RIGHT FOR ME?

While Western USA Adventure is designed for active teens, the program is appropriate for most. Do not worry about needing to be super outdoorsy to enjoy yourself. The outdoor activities on Western USA Adventure are only meant to complement the overall touring (most of which is still bus-based). The ultimate aim of Western USA Adventure is to provide teens with a more active way to experience the country through the beauty of its terrain. See you on the trails!

Program Highlights

For a more detailed view of the program, check out the Program Itinerary

Explore Sedona and enjoy Slippery Rock Park

View the shear majesty of the Grand Canyon

Experience a taste of college life staying on the campus of UC Berkeley

Volunteer at Best Friends Animal Society rehabilitation center or at a LA Food Bank

Explore Santa Monica, Venice Beach, Malibu and Hollywood in Los Angeles

Participate in a native species restoration project in the Marin Headlands

Hike to the base of Half Dome in Yosemite and kayak on Lake Tahoe

Tour Alcatraz, walk the Golden Gate Bridge, and explore Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco

One Happy Camperone happy camper

This BBYO Passport summer experience is eligible for up to a $1,000 grant from One Happy Camper. The grant is available in select communities to teens participating in their first Jewish overnight summer experience. Learn more and see if you qualify for One Happy Camper.

We have provided the following sample itinerary to give you a better feel for this experience. The actual program may vary slightly. An updated itinerary including confirmed accommodations is distributed 3-4 weeks prior to the start of the program.

DAY #1/Wednesday, June 29/Arrival to Phoenix

  • Arrival to Phoenix

Overnight:  Phoenix, AZ

DAY #2 / Wednesday, June 30/ Backcountry Arizona & Sedona

  • Explore the canyons of Arizona on a Water Hike
  • Sedona, a vibrant desert town is a spiritual destination for hiking, meditation and arts and culture
  • Slide Rock State Park is a natural water slide for swimming and home to local wildlife

Overnight:  Phoenix, AZ

DAY #3 / Thursday, July 1/ Grand Canyon

  • Full Day Tour and Hike in Grand Canyon
  • Hike the rim of the Grand Canyon and discover some of the most beautiful and hidden places and views of the Canyon while overlooking the Colorado River

Overnight:  Phoenix, AZ

DAY #4 / Friday, July 2 / Visit Indian Reservation

  • Visit an Indian Reservation to experience the culture of the indigenous tribes of Arizona
  • Community Service Project

Overnight:  Phoenix, AZ

DAY #5 / Saturday, July 3/ Shabbat in Phoenix at leisure

  • Shabbat in Phoenix

Overnight:  Phoenix, AZ

DAY #6 / Sunday, July 4/ San Diego

  • Travel to San Diego via the Desert
  • Spend time in Kofa National Wildlife Refuge, a nature preserve featuring mountains and desert with a wide variety of plant life and attraction for birds
  • Visit the famous Yuma Territorial Prison State Historic Park, a museum of original artifacts and a historic site depicting the Old West
  • The Imperial Sand Dunes in southeast California are one of the most fascinating natural land formations—a must see and do!

Overnight:  San Diego, CA

DAY #7 / Monday, July 5/ Beach and Surf Day

  • Visit the Mexican Border just 20 minutes from San Diego and gain entry into Belmont Park, a historic amusement park in Mission Beach
  • Relax on the beach, or spend a day riding the waves along the Pacific Coast!

Overnight:   San Diego, CA

DAY #8 / Tuesday, July 6/ Visit Mexican Border

  • Begin your day of adventure with a hike along the coast of San Diego
  • Continue your surfing lessons or spend time in the sand and relaxing on the beach
  • BBQ Dinner

Overnight:  San Diego, CA

DAY #9 / Wednesday, July 7/

  • Journey to Los Angeles, the sprawling city of film and entertainment for an exciting few days of adventure!
  • Visit San Juan Capistrano, a historic mission town located outside of Los Angeles
  • Participate in service activities and ‘Tikkun Olam’ (repairing the world) at Long Beach Rescue Mission, a non-profit center for homelessness in the Los Angeles area

Overnight:   Los Angeles, CA

DAY #10 / Thursday, July 8 / LA

  • Spend time in the Museum of Tolerance, a multimedia museum that examines racism and prejudice with a strong focus on the history of the Holocaust
  • A favorite destination for locals and tourists, visit the Farmer’s Market, that includes a range of trendy shops, restaurants and gourmet groceries
  • Become the ultimate tourist with a Tour of Home of the Stars—who knows what celebrities you may see along the way?
  • Walk around the Venice Beach Boardwalk and stroll through the unique Outdoor Markets

Overnight:  Los Angeles, CA

DAY #11 / Friday, July 9/ Malibu

  • Take part in a service project in Malibu and relax on the beach in Santa Monica before welcoming Shabbat
  • Return to campus for Kabbalat Shabbat and dinner

Overnight:  Los Angeles, CA

DAY #12 / Saturday, July 10/ Shabbat in Los Angeles

  • Shabbat programming, lunch, and free time for sports and relaxation
  • Group night out at Universal City Walk, located near Universal Studios, a high energy area of shopping and dining in LA

Overnight:  Los Angeles, CA

DAY #13 / Sunday, July 11/

  • Hike Hollywood Hills, with a view of the famous Hollywood sign and a panoramic view of Los Angeles
  • Tour the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum to view exhibits covering the 40th President’s life, Air Force One memorabilia and even a section of masonry from the Berlin Wall!

Overnight:  Fresno or Bakersfield, CA

DAY #14 / Monday, July 12/ Sequoia

  • Day trip to Sequoia National Park, and marvel at the largest trees on Earth, unique flora and fauna and wildlife sightings of bears and deer!

Overnight:  Fresno or Bakersfield, CA

DAY #15 / Tuesday, July 13/ Yosemite

  • Spend a full day touring Yosemite National Park with jaw dropping views of El Capitan—an impressive vertical rock formation, peaceful walks through the forest, and hike to waterfalls

Overnight:  Fresno or Bakersfield, CA

DAY #16 / Wednesday, July 14/

  • Drive to Northern California via Monterrey and Carmel

Overnight:  San Jose or San Francisco, CA

DAY #17 / Thursday, July 15/ Sierra Nevada Mountains

  • Journey to the State Capitol of Sacramento and walk through the Old Town and picnic in River Walk Park
  • Participate in a self-guided tour of the Jelly belly factory and see how your favorite candy is manufactured!
  • End the evening with a night tour of San Francisco and settle into the Bay area.

Overnight:  San Jose or San Francisco, CA

DAY #18 / Friday, July 16/ Marin County

  • Stroll Haight district, Divisadero Street, Alamo Square, and relax at Buena Vista Park for a picnic lunch.
  • Nature walk through the Red Wood trees or the Botanical Gardens in Golden Gate Park

Overnight:  San Jose or San Francisco, CA

DAY #19 / Saturday, July 17/ Shabbat

  • Shabbat

Overnight:  San Jose or San Francisco, CA

DAY #20 / Sunday, July 18/ San Francisco

  • Walk Across the Golden Gate Bridge, a national landmark, and experience the best of San Francisco through riding cable cars, free time on Fisherman’s Wharf, and tour the historic Alcatraz prison
  • Enjoy a closing Pizza Dinner and spend time with your new friends on the last night of your American West adventure!

Overnight:  San Jose or San Francisco, CA

 DAY #21 / Monday, July 19/ San Francisco

  • Depart for the airport

You have questions? We’ve got answers! Our most frequently asked questions for this program are answered below. Additional program-wide FAQs are also available. Contact us to learn more.

How will my teen travel to the program?
Families are responsible for making their own flight arrangements to our arrival and departure cities based on guidance that we provide in the spring. A designated supervised flight may be offered, which means you will be able to purchase your own individual ticket on a flight that is supervised by our staff. Learn more about our supervised flights.

What if my teen is considered an unaccompanied minor?
Each airline has its own rules for mandatory “unaccompanied minors” and additional fees do apply. If your teen is 15 years or younger, then please refer to your chosen airline for information and contact us well in advance (2-3 weeks), if special arrangements need to be made with our staff.

Where will my teen be sleeping?
The group stays in several different types of accommodations, including 3-star hotels, college dormitories, and ranch-style lodging. When booking our accommodations, we request for each teen to have their own sleeping accommodations in a shared living space.

How is the program staffed?
Each group is accompanied by a team of madrichim (counselors), a local tour leader, and a bus driver. Staff names are sent out approximately 3-4 weeks prior to your departure as part of the pre-trip preparation email series. Staff are asked to make welcome calls to families before departure. Learn more about our staff team.

What’s the summer weather like?
Temperatures range from hot to hotter during a summer in the American West. Daytime temperatures range from the 80s to 100s. The clothing that teens pack should be lightweight and comfortable in hot temperatures. When the group is outside for an extended period of time, participants will be required to have a hat, a shirt with sleeves, sunscreen, and water. These rules are strictly enforced because overexposure to the sun can cause heatstroke, dehydration, and sunburns. The good news is that the heat is mostly dry – there is very little humidity. So the higher temperatures may feel more comfortable than what you are used to at home.

How do you approach security?
The safety of the teens under our care is our guiding consideration. Learn more about our organization’s approach to safety & security.

What are the typical group dynamics?
Although it varies from year to year, our average group size on Western USA Adventure is 30 teens. Some teens choose to sign up together with a friend or two, and most teens choose to come on their own. Either way, our participants will have the opportunity to meet a diverse group of peers from various locations across North America which makes exploring a new place together even more exciting. On some programs, we might have multiple parties from the same area register together. In this case, we are unable to inform families when this occurs and though we are always willing to share the group dynamics of the current registrations, we typically have a good idea of the general group make up after our cancellation deadline.

Note: There will be a way for teens to communicate with each other before the program in late spring.

What’s the food like?
As a travel-based program, our meals take a variety of forms and may include hotel buffets, restaurants, specially catered meals and allowance funds for participants to purchase a meal on their own. Some meals that we provide outside of Israel may be certified kosher, but most meals are not. When a meal is served in a public buffet format (e.g. hotel breakfast), we will always ensure that there are vegetarian or pescatarian options available, but we will also not restrict teens from eating the food of their choice. Some meals may be provided via an allowance system whereby teens will be given cash to purchase the food of their choice. Such meals are typically arranged in an area where there are multiple restaurant options, and teens can choose the food of their liking. In situations where time is of the essence, staff may choose to facilitate meal orders on behalf of teens using their allowance funds, including non-kosher orders. When the group eats at non-kosher restaurants with a pre-ordered menu, the options will only consist of vegetarian or pescatarian dishes. Participants with special dietary situations (i.e. lactose intolerance, gluten-free, kosher, etc.) should contact us in advance to be sure we can accommodate your needs during the program.

What are the payment and cancellation terms?
All of these details are available here, Registration Terms.

For more information, check out our general FAQs.

No connections or extensions are available for this program. View all connected program options here.

 

PROGRAM REVIEWS

We know you'll love a BBYO Passport experience. But don't just take our word. Check out these real reviews from our past travelers and families.

 

Discover the American Southwest’s many treasures on a transformative journey with a focus on exhilarating adventures in nature, road-tripping through National Parks, and creating meaningful connections along the way. 

Whatever region of the United States you are from, the destinations and beauty of the American West will be sure to surprise you with its stunning terrain and abundance of outdoor activities. Your adventure begins in the vibrant desert town of Sedona, known for its red rocks and arts community, to hiking in Grand Canyon National Park, to spending time on an Indian Reservation before heading to California. In southern California you will relax on the beach in Malibu, ride the waves in San Diego, and become starstruck in Los Angeles. On the journey to northern California you will experience the lush surroundings of Sequoia National Park, walk along the Golden Gate Bridge, and spend time at Fisherman’s Wharf. You’ll quench your thirst for adventure before departing for home with all of your new memories and lifelong friendships.

More than just a trip, this is an opportunity to become one with nature, tour bustling cities, and experience beautiful sunsets across the American West. Exploring the rich history of Arizona and the vast landscape of California is sure to be a memory you will hold onto forever. On this trek, you will participate in service projects, be a part of unique Shabbat experiences, and connect with Jewish teens from across the nation.

Elements of the Experience

The Must-Sees and the Hidden Gems

Western USA Adventure covers all of the must see highlights of the American West – Alcatraz, the Golden Gate Bridge, Hollywood, and Malibu Beach. We also make time for more off-the-beaten path experiences like walking through a redwood forest and kayaking on Lake Tahoe .

Once-in-a-Lifetime Outdoor Adventures

The American West is about wide open spaces and stunning national park land. Live the great outdoors by hiking to the base of Half Dome in Yosemite, exploring Sedona and Slippery Rock Park, and descend deep into the Grand Canyon. See a side of nature that you have only dreamed about, and challenge yourself along the way.

Living Jewish Values

As a BBYO Passport experience, Western USA Adventure is also an opportunity to explore your Jewish identity in a new context. Delve into the meaning of being “eco-kosher”, fulfill the Jewish value of Tikkun Olam (repairing the world), and celebrate Shabbat in new and different ways with local Jewish communities.

A Taste of University Life

Interested in what living on a college campus is like? Many of the places you’ll stay at on the road are college campus dorms. Western USA Adventure opens a window on university life by experiencing schools as diverse as the University of California – Berkeley and California State University of Northridge.

IS IT RIGHT FOR ME?

While Western USA Adventure is designed for active teens, the program is appropriate for most. Do not worry about needing to be super outdoorsy to enjoy yourself. The outdoor activities on Western USA Adventure are only meant to complement the overall touring (most of which is still bus-based). The ultimate aim of Western USA Adventure is to provide teens with a more active way to experience the country through the beauty of its terrain. See you on the trails!

Program Highlights

For a more detailed view of the program, check out the Program Itinerary

Explore Sedona and enjoy Slippery Rock Park

View the shear majesty of the Grand Canyon

Experience a taste of college life staying on the campus of UC Berkeley

Volunteer at Best Friends Animal Society rehabilitation center or at a LA Food Bank

Explore Santa Monica, Venice Beach, Malibu and Hollywood in Los Angeles

Participate in a native species restoration project in the Marin Headlands

Hike to the base of Half Dome in Yosemite and kayak on Lake Tahoe

Tour Alcatraz, walk the Golden Gate Bridge, and explore Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco

One Happy Camperone happy camper

This BBYO Passport summer experience is eligible for up to a $1,000 grant from One Happy Camper. The grant is available in select communities to teens participating in their first Jewish overnight summer experience. Learn more and see if you qualify for One Happy Camper.

We have provided the following sample itinerary to give you a better feel for this experience. The actual program may vary slightly. An updated itinerary including confirmed accommodations is distributed 3-4 weeks prior to the start of the program.

DAY #1/Wednesday, June 29/Arrival to Phoenix

  • Arrival to Phoenix

Overnight:  Phoenix, AZ

DAY #2 / Wednesday, June 30/ Backcountry Arizona & Sedona

  • Explore the canyons of Arizona on a Water Hike
  • Sedona, a vibrant desert town is a spiritual destination for hiking, meditation and arts and culture
  • Slide Rock State Park is a natural water slide for swimming and home to local wildlife

Overnight:  Phoenix, AZ

DAY #3 / Thursday, July 1/ Grand Canyon

  • Full Day Tour and Hike in Grand Canyon
  • Hike the rim of the Grand Canyon and discover some of the most beautiful and hidden places and views of the Canyon while overlooking the Colorado River

Overnight:  Phoenix, AZ

DAY #4 / Friday, July 2 / Visit Indian Reservation

  • Visit an Indian Reservation to experience the culture of the indigenous tribes of Arizona
  • Community Service Project

Overnight:  Phoenix, AZ

DAY #5 / Saturday, July 3/ Shabbat in Phoenix at leisure

  • Shabbat in Phoenix

Overnight:  Phoenix, AZ

DAY #6 / Sunday, July 4/ San Diego

  • Travel to San Diego via the Desert
  • Spend time in Kofa National Wildlife Refuge, a nature preserve featuring mountains and desert with a wide variety of plant life and attraction for birds
  • Visit the famous Yuma Territorial Prison State Historic Park, a museum of original artifacts and a historic site depicting the Old West
  • The Imperial Sand Dunes in southeast California are one of the most fascinating natural land formations—a must see and do!

Overnight:  San Diego, CA

DAY #7 / Monday, July 5/ Beach and Surf Day

  • Visit the Mexican Border just 20 minutes from San Diego and gain entry into Belmont Park, a historic amusement park in Mission Beach
  • Relax on the beach, or spend a day riding the waves along the Pacific Coast!

Overnight:   San Diego, CA

DAY #8 / Tuesday, July 6/ Visit Mexican Border

  • Begin your day of adventure with a hike along the coast of San Diego
  • Continue your surfing lessons or spend time in the sand and relaxing on the beach
  • BBQ Dinner

Overnight:  San Diego, CA

DAY #9 / Wednesday, July 7/

  • Journey to Los Angeles, the sprawling city of film and entertainment for an exciting few days of adventure!
  • Visit San Juan Capistrano, a historic mission town located outside of Los Angeles
  • Participate in service activities and ‘Tikkun Olam’ (repairing the world) at Long Beach Rescue Mission, a non-profit center for homelessness in the Los Angeles area

Overnight:   Los Angeles, CA

DAY #10 / Thursday, July 8 / LA

  • Spend time in the Museum of Tolerance, a multimedia museum that examines racism and prejudice with a strong focus on the history of the Holocaust
  • A favorite destination for locals and tourists, visit the Farmer’s Market, that includes a range of trendy shops, restaurants and gourmet groceries
  • Become the ultimate tourist with a Tour of Home of the Stars—who knows what celebrities you may see along the way?
  • Walk around the Venice Beach Boardwalk and stroll through the unique Outdoor Markets

Overnight:  Los Angeles, CA

DAY #11 / Friday, July 9/ Malibu

  • Take part in a service project in Malibu and relax on the beach in Santa Monica before welcoming Shabbat
  • Return to campus for Kabbalat Shabbat and dinner

Overnight:  Los Angeles, CA

DAY #12 / Saturday, July 10/ Shabbat in Los Angeles

  • Shabbat programming, lunch, and free time for sports and relaxation
  • Group night out at Universal City Walk, located near Universal Studios, a high energy area of shopping and dining in LA

Overnight:  Los Angeles, CA

DAY #13 / Sunday, July 11/

  • Hike Hollywood Hills, with a view of the famous Hollywood sign and a panoramic view of Los Angeles
  • Tour the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum to view exhibits covering the 40th President’s life, Air Force One memorabilia and even a section of masonry from the Berlin Wall!

Overnight:  Fresno or Bakersfield, CA

DAY #14 / Monday, July 12/ Sequoia

  • Day trip to Sequoia National Park, and marvel at the largest trees on Earth, unique flora and fauna and wildlife sightings of bears and deer!

Overnight:  Fresno or Bakersfield, CA

DAY #15 / Tuesday, July 13/ Yosemite

  • Spend a full day touring Yosemite National Park with jaw dropping views of El Capitan—an impressive vertical rock formation, peaceful walks through the forest, and hike to waterfalls

Overnight:  Fresno or Bakersfield, CA

DAY #16 / Wednesday, July 14/

  • Drive to Northern California via Monterrey and Carmel

Overnight:  San Jose or San Francisco, CA

DAY #17 / Thursday, July 15/ Sierra Nevada Mountains

  • Journey to the State Capitol of Sacramento and walk through the Old Town and picnic in River Walk Park
  • Participate in a self-guided tour of the Jelly belly factory and see how your favorite candy is manufactured!
  • End the evening with a night tour of San Francisco and settle into the Bay area.

Overnight:  San Jose or San Francisco, CA

DAY #18 / Friday, July 16/ Marin County

  • Stroll Haight district, Divisadero Street, Alamo Square, and relax at Buena Vista Park for a picnic lunch.
  • Nature walk through the Red Wood trees or the Botanical Gardens in Golden Gate Park

Overnight:  San Jose or San Francisco, CA

DAY #19 / Saturday, July 17/ Shabbat

  • Shabbat

Overnight:  San Jose or San Francisco, CA

DAY #20 / Sunday, July 18/ San Francisco

  • Walk Across the Golden Gate Bridge, a national landmark, and experience the best of San Francisco through riding cable cars, free time on Fisherman’s Wharf, and tour the historic Alcatraz prison
  • Enjoy a closing Pizza Dinner and spend time with your new friends on the last night of your American West adventure!

Overnight:  San Jose or San Francisco, CA

 DAY #21 / Monday, July 19/ San Francisco

  • Depart for the airport

You have questions? We’ve got answers! Our most frequently asked questions for this program are answered below. Additional program-wide FAQs are also available. Contact us to learn more.

How will my teen travel to the program?
Families are responsible for making their own flight arrangements to our arrival and departure cities based on guidance that we provide in the spring. A designated supervised flight may be offered, which means you will be able to purchase your own individual ticket on a flight that is supervised by our staff. Learn more about our supervised flights.

What if my teen is considered an unaccompanied minor?
Each airline has its own rules for mandatory “unaccompanied minors” and additional fees do apply. If your teen is 15 years or younger, then please refer to your chosen airline for information and contact us well in advance (2-3 weeks), if special arrangements need to be made with our staff.

Where will my teen be sleeping?
The group stays in several different types of accommodations, including 3-star hotels, college dormitories, and ranch-style lodging. When booking our accommodations, we request for each teen to have their own sleeping accommodations in a shared living space.

How is the program staffed?
Each group is accompanied by a team of madrichim (counselors), a local tour leader, and a bus driver. Staff names are sent out approximately 3-4 weeks prior to your departure as part of the pre-trip preparation email series. Staff are asked to make welcome calls to families before departure. Learn more about our staff team.

What’s the summer weather like?
Temperatures range from hot to hotter during a summer in the American West. Daytime temperatures range from the 80s to 100s. The clothing that teens pack should be lightweight and comfortable in hot temperatures. When the group is outside for an extended period of time, participants will be required to have a hat, a shirt with sleeves, sunscreen, and water. These rules are strictly enforced because overexposure to the sun can cause heatstroke, dehydration, and sunburns. The good news is that the heat is mostly dry – there is very little humidity. So the higher temperatures may feel more comfortable than what you are used to at home.

How do you approach security?
The safety of the teens under our care is our guiding consideration. Learn more about our organization’s approach to safety & security.

What are the typical group dynamics?
Although it varies from year to year, our average group size on Western USA Adventure is 30 teens. Some teens choose to sign up together with a friend or two, and most teens choose to come on their own. Either way, our participants will have the opportunity to meet a diverse group of peers from various locations across North America which makes exploring a new place together even more exciting. On some programs, we might have multiple parties from the same area register together. In this case, we are unable to inform families when this occurs and though we are always willing to share the group dynamics of the current registrations, we typically have a good idea of the general group make up after our cancellation deadline.

Note: There will be a way for teens to communicate with each other before the program in late spring.

What’s the food like?
As a travel-based program, our meals take a variety of forms and may include hotel buffets, restaurants, specially catered meals and allowance funds for participants to purchase a meal on their own. Some meals that we provide outside of Israel may be certified kosher, but most meals are not. When a meal is served in a public buffet format (e.g. hotel breakfast), we will always ensure that there are vegetarian or pescatarian options available, but we will also not restrict teens from eating the food of their choice. Some meals may be provided via an allowance system whereby teens will be given cash to purchase the food of their choice. Such meals are typically arranged in an area where there are multiple restaurant options, and teens can choose the food of their liking. In situations where time is of the essence, staff may choose to facilitate meal orders on behalf of teens using their allowance funds, including non-kosher orders. When the group eats at non-kosher restaurants with a pre-ordered menu, the options will only consist of vegetarian or pescatarian dishes. Participants with special dietary situations (i.e. lactose intolerance, gluten-free, kosher, etc.) should contact us in advance to be sure we can accommodate your needs during the program.

What are the payment and cancellation terms?
All of these details are available here, Registration Terms.

For more information, check out our general FAQs.

No connections or extensions are available for this program. View all connected program options here.

 

PROGRAM REVIEWS

WESTERN USA ADVENTURE

Hit the road for a three-week teen travel adventure in California and Arizona. See a totally new side of America – from bustling cities to the breathtaking national parks!

WESTERN USA ADVENTURE

Hit the road for a three-week teen travel adventure in California and Arizona. See a totally new side of America – from bustling cities to the breathtaking national parks!

Discover the American Southwest’s many treasures on a transformative journey with a focus on exhilarating adventures in nature, road-tripping through National Parks, and creating meaningful connections along the way. 

Whatever region of the United States you are from, the destinations and beauty of the American West will be sure to surprise you with its stunning terrain and abundance of outdoor activities. Your adventure begins in the vibrant desert town of Sedona, known for its red rocks and arts community, to hiking in Grand Canyon National Park, to spending time on an Indian Reservation before heading to California. In southern California you will relax on the beach in Malibu, ride the waves in San Diego, and become starstruck in Los Angeles. On the journey to northern California you will experience the lush surroundings of Sequoia National Park, walk along the Golden Gate Bridge, and spend time at Fisherman’s Wharf. You’ll quench your thirst for adventure before departing for home with all of your new memories and lifelong friendships.

More than just a trip, this is an opportunity to become one with nature, tour bustling cities, and experience beautiful sunsets across the American West. Exploring the rich history of Arizona and the vast landscape of California is sure to be a memory you will hold onto forever. On this trek, you will participate in service projects, be a part of unique Shabbat experiences, and connect with Jewish teens from across the nation.

Elements of the Experience

The Must-Sees and the Hidden Gems

Western USA Adventure covers all of the must see highlights of the American West – Alcatraz, the Golden Gate Bridge, Hollywood, and Malibu Beach. We also make time for more off-the-beaten path experiences like walking through a redwood forest and kayaking on Lake Tahoe .

Once-in-a-Lifetime Outdoor Adventures

The American West is about wide open spaces and stunning national park land. Live the great outdoors by hiking to the base of Half Dome in Yosemite, exploring Sedona and Slippery Rock Park, and descend deep into the Grand Canyon. See a side of nature that you have only dreamed about, and challenge yourself along the way.

Living Jewish Values

As a BBYO Passport experience, Western USA Adventure is also an opportunity to explore your Jewish identity in a new context. Delve into the meaning of being “eco-kosher”, fulfill the Jewish value of Tikkun Olam (repairing the world), and celebrate Shabbat in new and different ways with local Jewish communities.

A Taste of University Life

Interested in what living on a college campus is like? Many of the places you’ll stay at on the road are college campus dorms. Western USA Adventure opens a window on university life by experiencing schools as diverse as the University of California – Berkeley and California State University of Northridge.

IS IT RIGHT FOR ME?

While Western USA Adventure is designed for active teens, the program is appropriate for most. Do not worry about needing to be super outdoorsy to enjoy yourself. The outdoor activities on Western USA Adventure are only meant to complement the overall touring (most of which is still bus-based). The ultimate aim of Western USA Adventure is to provide teens with a more active way to experience the country through the beauty of its terrain. See you on the trails!

Program Highlights

For a more detailed view of the program, check out the Program Itinerary

Explore Sedona and enjoy Slippery Rock Park

View the shear majesty of the Grand Canyon

Experience a taste of college life staying on the campus of UC Berkeley

Volunteer at Best Friends Animal Society rehabilitation center or at a LA Food Bank

Explore Santa Monica, Venice Beach, Malibu and Hollywood in Los Angeles

Participate in a native species restoration project in the Marin Headlands

Hike to the base of Half Dome in Yosemite and kayak on Lake Tahoe

Tour Alcatraz, walk the Golden Gate Bridge, and explore Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco

One Happy Camperone happy camper

This BBYO Passport summer experience is eligible for up to a $1,000 grant from One Happy Camper. The grant is available in select communities to teens participating in their first Jewish overnight summer experience. Learn more and see if you qualify for One Happy Camper.

We have provided the following sample itinerary to give you a better feel for this experience. The actual program may vary slightly. An updated itinerary including confirmed accommodations is distributed 3-4 weeks prior to the start of the program.

DAY #1/Wednesday, June 29/Arrival to Phoenix

  • Arrival to Phoenix

Overnight:  Phoenix, AZ

DAY #2 / Wednesday, June 30/ Backcountry Arizona & Sedona

  • Explore the canyons of Arizona on a Water Hike
  • Sedona, a vibrant desert town is a spiritual destination for hiking, meditation and arts and culture
  • Slide Rock State Park is a natural water slide for swimming and home to local wildlife

Overnight:  Phoenix, AZ

DAY #3 / Thursday, July 1/ Grand Canyon

  • Full Day Tour and Hike in Grand Canyon
  • Hike the rim of the Grand Canyon and discover some of the most beautiful and hidden places and views of the Canyon while overlooking the Colorado River

Overnight:  Phoenix, AZ

DAY #4 / Friday, July 2 / Visit Indian Reservation

  • Visit an Indian Reservation to experience the culture of the indigenous tribes of Arizona
  • Community Service Project

Overnight:  Phoenix, AZ

DAY #5 / Saturday, July 3/ Shabbat in Phoenix at leisure

  • Shabbat in Phoenix

Overnight:  Phoenix, AZ

DAY #6 / Sunday, July 4/ San Diego

  • Travel to San Diego via the Desert
  • Spend time in Kofa National Wildlife Refuge, a nature preserve featuring mountains and desert with a wide variety of plant life and attraction for birds
  • Visit the famous Yuma Territorial Prison State Historic Park, a museum of original artifacts and a historic site depicting the Old West
  • The Imperial Sand Dunes in southeast California are one of the most fascinating natural land formations—a must see and do!

Overnight:  San Diego, CA

DAY #7 / Monday, July 5/ Beach and Surf Day

  • Visit the Mexican Border just 20 minutes from San Diego and gain entry into Belmont Park, a historic amusement park in Mission Beach
  • Relax on the beach, or spend a day riding the waves along the Pacific Coast!

Overnight:   San Diego, CA

DAY #8 / Tuesday, July 6/ Visit Mexican Border

  • Begin your day of adventure with a hike along the coast of San Diego
  • Continue your surfing lessons or spend time in the sand and relaxing on the beach
  • BBQ Dinner

Overnight:  San Diego, CA

DAY #9 / Wednesday, July 7/

  • Journey to Los Angeles, the sprawling city of film and entertainment for an exciting few days of adventure!
  • Visit San Juan Capistrano, a historic mission town located outside of Los Angeles
  • Participate in service activities and ‘Tikkun Olam’ (repairing the world) at Long Beach Rescue Mission, a non-profit center for homelessness in the Los Angeles area

Overnight:   Los Angeles, CA

DAY #10 / Thursday, July 8 / LA

  • Spend time in the Museum of Tolerance, a multimedia museum that examines racism and prejudice with a strong focus on the history of the Holocaust
  • A favorite destination for locals and tourists, visit the Farmer’s Market, that includes a range of trendy shops, restaurants and gourmet groceries
  • Become the ultimate tourist with a Tour of Home of the Stars—who knows what celebrities you may see along the way?
  • Walk around the Venice Beach Boardwalk and stroll through the unique Outdoor Markets

Overnight:  Los Angeles, CA

DAY #11 / Friday, July 9/ Malibu

  • Take part in a service project in Malibu and relax on the beach in Santa Monica before welcoming Shabbat
  • Return to campus for Kabbalat Shabbat and dinner

Overnight:  Los Angeles, CA

DAY #12 / Saturday, July 10/ Shabbat in Los Angeles

  • Shabbat programming, lunch, and free time for sports and relaxation
  • Group night out at Universal City Walk, located near Universal Studios, a high energy area of shopping and dining in LA

Overnight:  Los Angeles, CA

DAY #13 / Sunday, July 11/

  • Hike Hollywood Hills, with a view of the famous Hollywood sign and a panoramic view of Los Angeles
  • Tour the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum to view exhibits covering the 40th President’s life, Air Force One memorabilia and even a section of masonry from the Berlin Wall!

Overnight:  Fresno or Bakersfield, CA

DAY #14 / Monday, July 12/ Sequoia

  • Day trip to Sequoia National Park, and marvel at the largest trees on Earth, unique flora and fauna and wildlife sightings of bears and deer!

Overnight:  Fresno or Bakersfield, CA

DAY #15 / Tuesday, July 13/ Yosemite

  • Spend a full day touring Yosemite National Park with jaw dropping views of El Capitan—an impressive vertical rock formation, peaceful walks through the forest, and hike to waterfalls

Overnight:  Fresno or Bakersfield, CA

DAY #16 / Wednesday, July 14/

  • Drive to Northern California via Monterrey and Carmel

Overnight:  San Jose or San Francisco, CA

DAY #17 / Thursday, July 15/ Sierra Nevada Mountains

  • Journey to the State Capitol of Sacramento and walk through the Old Town and picnic in River Walk Park
  • Participate in a self-guided tour of the Jelly belly factory and see how your favorite candy is manufactured!
  • End the evening with a night tour of San Francisco and settle into the Bay area.

Overnight:  San Jose or San Francisco, CA

DAY #18 / Friday, July 16/ Marin County

  • Stroll Haight district, Divisadero Street, Alamo Square, and relax at Buena Vista Park for a picnic lunch.
  • Nature walk through the Red Wood trees or the Botanical Gardens in Golden Gate Park

Overnight:  San Jose or San Francisco, CA

DAY #19 / Saturday, July 17/ Shabbat

  • Shabbat

Overnight:  San Jose or San Francisco, CA

DAY #20 / Sunday, July 18/ San Francisco

  • Walk Across the Golden Gate Bridge, a national landmark, and experience the best of San Francisco through riding cable cars, free time on Fisherman’s Wharf, and tour the historic Alcatraz prison
  • Enjoy a closing Pizza Dinner and spend time with your new friends on the last night of your American West adventure!

Overnight:  San Jose or San Francisco, CA

 DAY #21 / Monday, July 19/ San Francisco

  • Depart for the airport

You have questions? We’ve got answers! Our most frequently asked questions for this program are answered below. Additional program-wide FAQs are also available. Contact us to learn more.

How will my teen travel to the program?
Families are responsible for making their own flight arrangements to our arrival and departure cities based on guidance that we provide in the spring. A designated supervised flight may be offered, which means you will be able to purchase your own individual ticket on a flight that is supervised by our staff. Learn more about our supervised flights.

What if my teen is considered an unaccompanied minor?
Each airline has its own rules for mandatory “unaccompanied minors” and additional fees do apply. If your teen is 15 years or younger, then please refer to your chosen airline for information and contact us well in advance (2-3 weeks), if special arrangements need to be made with our staff.

Where will my teen be sleeping?
The group stays in several different types of accommodations, including 3-star hotels, college dormitories, and ranch-style lodging. When booking our accommodations, we request for each teen to have their own sleeping accommodations in a shared living space.

How is the program staffed?
Each group is accompanied by a team of madrichim (counselors), a local tour leader, and a bus driver. Staff names are sent out approximately 3-4 weeks prior to your departure as part of the pre-trip preparation email series. Staff are asked to make welcome calls to families before departure. Learn more about our staff team.

What’s the summer weather like?
Temperatures range from hot to hotter during a summer in the American West. Daytime temperatures range from the 80s to 100s. The clothing that teens pack should be lightweight and comfortable in hot temperatures. When the group is outside for an extended period of time, participants will be required to have a hat, a shirt with sleeves, sunscreen, and water. These rules are strictly enforced because overexposure to the sun can cause heatstroke, dehydration, and sunburns. The good news is that the heat is mostly dry – there is very little humidity. So the higher temperatures may feel more comfortable than what you are used to at home.

How do you approach security?
The safety of the teens under our care is our guiding consideration. Learn more about our organization’s approach to safety & security.

What are the typical group dynamics?
Although it varies from year to year, our average group size on Western USA Adventure is 30 teens. Some teens choose to sign up together with a friend or two, and most teens choose to come on their own. Either way, our participants will have the opportunity to meet a diverse group of peers from various locations across North America which makes exploring a new place together even more exciting. On some programs, we might have multiple parties from the same area register together. In this case, we are unable to inform families when this occurs and though we are always willing to share the group dynamics of the current registrations, we typically have a good idea of the general group make up after our cancellation deadline.

Note: There will be a way for teens to communicate with each other before the program in late spring.

What’s the food like?
As a travel-based program, our meals take a variety of forms and may include hotel buffets, restaurants, specially catered meals and allowance funds for participants to purchase a meal on their own. Some meals that we provide outside of Israel may be certified kosher, but most meals are not. When a meal is served in a public buffet format (e.g. hotel breakfast), we will always ensure that there are vegetarian or pescatarian options available, but we will also not restrict teens from eating the food of their choice. Some meals may be provided via an allowance system whereby teens will be given cash to purchase the food of their choice. Such meals are typically arranged in an area where there are multiple restaurant options, and teens can choose the food of their liking. In situations where time is of the essence, staff may choose to facilitate meal orders on behalf of teens using their allowance funds, including non-kosher orders. When the group eats at non-kosher restaurants with a pre-ordered menu, the options will only consist of vegetarian or pescatarian dishes. Participants with special dietary situations (i.e. lactose intolerance, gluten-free, kosher, etc.) should contact us in advance to be sure we can accommodate your needs during the program.

What are the payment and cancellation terms?
All of these details are available here, Registration Terms.

For more information, check out our general FAQs.

No connections or extensions are available for this program. View all connected program options here.

 

PROGRAM REVIEWS

We know you'll love a BBYO Passport experience. But don't just take our word. Check out these real reviews from our past travelers and families.

 

Discover the American Southwest’s many treasures on a transformative journey with a focus on exhilarating adventures in nature, road-tripping through National Parks, and creating meaningful connections along the way. 

Whatever region of the United States you are from, the destinations and beauty of the American West will be sure to surprise you with its stunning terrain and abundance of outdoor activities. Your adventure begins in the vibrant desert town of Sedona, known for its red rocks and arts community, to hiking in Grand Canyon National Park, to spending time on an Indian Reservation before heading to California. In southern California you will relax on the beach in Malibu, ride the waves in San Diego, and become starstruck in Los Angeles. On the journey to northern California you will experience the lush surroundings of Sequoia National Park, walk along the Golden Gate Bridge, and spend time at Fisherman’s Wharf. You’ll quench your thirst for adventure before departing for home with all of your new memories and lifelong friendships.

More than just a trip, this is an opportunity to become one with nature, tour bustling cities, and experience beautiful sunsets across the American West. Exploring the rich history of Arizona and the vast landscape of California is sure to be a memory you will hold onto forever. On this trek, you will participate in service projects, be a part of unique Shabbat experiences, and connect with Jewish teens from across the nation.

Elements of the Experience

The Must-Sees and the Hidden Gems

Western USA Adventure covers all of the must see highlights of the American West – Alcatraz, the Golden Gate Bridge, Hollywood, and Malibu Beach. We also make time for more off-the-beaten path experiences like walking through a redwood forest and kayaking on Lake Tahoe .

Once-in-a-Lifetime Outdoor Adventures

The American West is about wide open spaces and stunning national park land. Live the great outdoors by hiking to the base of Half Dome in Yosemite, exploring Sedona and Slippery Rock Park, and descend deep into the Grand Canyon. See a side of nature that you have only dreamed about, and challenge yourself along the way.

Living Jewish Values

As a BBYO Passport experience, Western USA Adventure is also an opportunity to explore your Jewish identity in a new context. Delve into the meaning of being “eco-kosher”, fulfill the Jewish value of Tikkun Olam (repairing the world), and celebrate Shabbat in new and different ways with local Jewish communities.

A Taste of University Life

Interested in what living on a college campus is like? Many of the places you’ll stay at on the road are college campus dorms. Western USA Adventure opens a window on university life by experiencing schools as diverse as the University of California – Berkeley and California State University of Northridge.

IS IT RIGHT FOR ME?

While Western USA Adventure is designed for active teens, the program is appropriate for most. Do not worry about needing to be super outdoorsy to enjoy yourself. The outdoor activities on Western USA Adventure are only meant to complement the overall touring (most of which is still bus-based). The ultimate aim of Western USA Adventure is to provide teens with a more active way to experience the country through the beauty of its terrain. See you on the trails!

Program Highlights

For a more detailed view of the program, check out the Program Itinerary

Explore Sedona and enjoy Slippery Rock Park

View the shear majesty of the Grand Canyon

Experience a taste of college life staying on the campus of UC Berkeley

Volunteer at Best Friends Animal Society rehabilitation center or at a LA Food Bank

Explore Santa Monica, Venice Beach, Malibu and Hollywood in Los Angeles

Participate in a native species restoration project in the Marin Headlands

Hike to the base of Half Dome in Yosemite and kayak on Lake Tahoe

Tour Alcatraz, walk the Golden Gate Bridge, and explore Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco

One Happy Camperone happy camper

This BBYO Passport summer experience is eligible for up to a $1,000 grant from One Happy Camper. The grant is available in select communities to teens participating in their first Jewish overnight summer experience. Learn more and see if you qualify for One Happy Camper.

We have provided the following sample itinerary to give you a better feel for this experience. The actual program may vary slightly. An updated itinerary including confirmed accommodations is distributed 3-4 weeks prior to the start of the program.

DAY #1/Wednesday, June 29/Arrival to Phoenix

  • Arrival to Phoenix

Overnight:  Phoenix, AZ

DAY #2 / Wednesday, June 30/ Backcountry Arizona & Sedona

  • Explore the canyons of Arizona on a Water Hike
  • Sedona, a vibrant desert town is a spiritual destination for hiking, meditation and arts and culture
  • Slide Rock State Park is a natural water slide for swimming and home to local wildlife

Overnight:  Phoenix, AZ

DAY #3 / Thursday, July 1/ Grand Canyon

  • Full Day Tour and Hike in Grand Canyon
  • Hike the rim of the Grand Canyon and discover some of the most beautiful and hidden places and views of the Canyon while overlooking the Colorado River

Overnight:  Phoenix, AZ

DAY #4 / Friday, July 2 / Visit Indian Reservation

  • Visit an Indian Reservation to experience the culture of the indigenous tribes of Arizona
  • Community Service Project

Overnight:  Phoenix, AZ

DAY #5 / Saturday, July 3/ Shabbat in Phoenix at leisure

  • Shabbat in Phoenix

Overnight:  Phoenix, AZ

DAY #6 / Sunday, July 4/ San Diego

  • Travel to San Diego via the Desert
  • Spend time in Kofa National Wildlife Refuge, a nature preserve featuring mountains and desert with a wide variety of plant life and attraction for birds
  • Visit the famous Yuma Territorial Prison State Historic Park, a museum of original artifacts and a historic site depicting the Old West
  • The Imperial Sand Dunes in southeast California are one of the most fascinating natural land formations—a must see and do!

Overnight:  San Diego, CA

DAY #7 / Monday, July 5/ Beach and Surf Day

  • Visit the Mexican Border just 20 minutes from San Diego and gain entry into Belmont Park, a historic amusement park in Mission Beach
  • Relax on the beach, or spend a day riding the waves along the Pacific Coast!

Overnight:   San Diego, CA

DAY #8 / Tuesday, July 6/ Visit Mexican Border

  • Begin your day of adventure with a hike along the coast of San Diego
  • Continue your surfing lessons or spend time in the sand and relaxing on the beach
  • BBQ Dinner

Overnight:  San Diego, CA

DAY #9 / Wednesday, July 7/

  • Journey to Los Angeles, the sprawling city of film and entertainment for an exciting few days of adventure!
  • Visit San Juan Capistrano, a historic mission town located outside of Los Angeles
  • Participate in service activities and ‘Tikkun Olam’ (repairing the world) at Long Beach Rescue Mission, a non-profit center for homelessness in the Los Angeles area

Overnight:   Los Angeles, CA

DAY #10 / Thursday, July 8 / LA

  • Spend time in the Museum of Tolerance, a multimedia museum that examines racism and prejudice with a strong focus on the history of the Holocaust
  • A favorite destination for locals and tourists, visit the Farmer’s Market, that includes a range of trendy shops, restaurants and gourmet groceries
  • Become the ultimate tourist with a Tour of Home of the Stars—who knows what celebrities you may see along the way?
  • Walk around the Venice Beach Boardwalk and stroll through the unique Outdoor Markets

Overnight:  Los Angeles, CA

DAY #11 / Friday, July 9/ Malibu

  • Take part in a service project in Malibu and relax on the beach in Santa Monica before welcoming Shabbat
  • Return to campus for Kabbalat Shabbat and dinner

Overnight:  Los Angeles, CA

DAY #12 / Saturday, July 10/ Shabbat in Los Angeles

  • Shabbat programming, lunch, and free time for sports and relaxation
  • Group night out at Universal City Walk, located near Universal Studios, a high energy area of shopping and dining in LA

Overnight:  Los Angeles, CA

DAY #13 / Sunday, July 11/

  • Hike Hollywood Hills, with a view of the famous Hollywood sign and a panoramic view of Los Angeles
  • Tour the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum to view exhibits covering the 40th President’s life, Air Force One memorabilia and even a section of masonry from the Berlin Wall!

Overnight:  Fresno or Bakersfield, CA

DAY #14 / Monday, July 12/ Sequoia

  • Day trip to Sequoia National Park, and marvel at the largest trees on Earth, unique flora and fauna and wildlife sightings of bears and deer!

Overnight:  Fresno or Bakersfield, CA

DAY #15 / Tuesday, July 13/ Yosemite

  • Spend a full day touring Yosemite National Park with jaw dropping views of El Capitan—an impressive vertical rock formation, peaceful walks through the forest, and hike to waterfalls

Overnight:  Fresno or Bakersfield, CA

DAY #16 / Wednesday, July 14/

  • Drive to Northern California via Monterrey and Carmel

Overnight:  San Jose or San Francisco, CA

DAY #17 / Thursday, July 15/ Sierra Nevada Mountains

  • Journey to the State Capitol of Sacramento and walk through the Old Town and picnic in River Walk Park
  • Participate in a self-guided tour of the Jelly belly factory and see how your favorite candy is manufactured!
  • End the evening with a night tour of San Francisco and settle into the Bay area.

Overnight:  San Jose or San Francisco, CA

DAY #18 / Friday, July 16/ Marin County

  • Stroll Haight district, Divisadero Street, Alamo Square, and relax at Buena Vista Park for a picnic lunch.
  • Nature walk through the Red Wood trees or the Botanical Gardens in Golden Gate Park

Overnight:  San Jose or San Francisco, CA

DAY #19 / Saturday, July 17/ Shabbat

  • Shabbat

Overnight:  San Jose or San Francisco, CA

DAY #20 / Sunday, July 18/ San Francisco

  • Walk Across the Golden Gate Bridge, a national landmark, and experience the best of San Francisco through riding cable cars, free time on Fisherman’s Wharf, and tour the historic Alcatraz prison
  • Enjoy a closing Pizza Dinner and spend time with your new friends on the last night of your American West adventure!

Overnight:  San Jose or San Francisco, CA

 DAY #21 / Monday, July 19/ San Francisco

  • Depart for the airport

You have questions? We’ve got answers! Our most frequently asked questions for this program are answered below. Additional program-wide FAQs are also available. Contact us to learn more.

How will my teen travel to the program?
Families are responsible for making their own flight arrangements to our arrival and departure cities based on guidance that we provide in the spring. A designated supervised flight may be offered, which means you will be able to purchase your own individual ticket on a flight that is supervised by our staff. Learn more about our supervised flights.

What if my teen is considered an unaccompanied minor?
Each airline has its own rules for mandatory “unaccompanied minors” and additional fees do apply. If your teen is 15 years or younger, then please refer to your chosen airline for information and contact us well in advance (2-3 weeks), if special arrangements need to be made with our staff.

Where will my teen be sleeping?
The group stays in several different types of accommodations, including 3-star hotels, college dormitories, and ranch-style lodging. When booking our accommodations, we request for each teen to have their own sleeping accommodations in a shared living space.

How is the program staffed?
Each group is accompanied by a team of madrichim (counselors), a local tour leader, and a bus driver. Staff names are sent out approximately 3-4 weeks prior to your departure as part of the pre-trip preparation email series. Staff are asked to make welcome calls to families before departure. Learn more about our staff team.

What’s the summer weather like?
Temperatures range from hot to hotter during a summer in the American West. Daytime temperatures range from the 80s to 100s. The clothing that teens pack should be lightweight and comfortable in hot temperatures. When the group is outside for an extended period of time, participants will be required to have a hat, a shirt with sleeves, sunscreen, and water. These rules are strictly enforced because overexposure to the sun can cause heatstroke, dehydration, and sunburns. The good news is that the heat is mostly dry – there is very little humidity. So the higher temperatures may feel more comfortable than what you are used to at home.

How do you approach security?
The safety of the teens under our care is our guiding consideration. Learn more about our organization’s approach to safety & security.

What are the typical group dynamics?
Although it varies from year to year, our average group size on Western USA Adventure is 30 teens. Some teens choose to sign up together with a friend or two, and most teens choose to come on their own. Either way, our participants will have the opportunity to meet a diverse group of peers from various locations across North America which makes exploring a new place together even more exciting. On some programs, we might have multiple parties from the same area register together. In this case, we are unable to inform families when this occurs and though we are always willing to share the group dynamics of the current registrations, we typically have a good idea of the general group make up after our cancellation deadline.

Note: There will be a way for teens to communicate with each other before the program in late spring.

What’s the food like?
As a travel-based program, our meals take a variety of forms and may include hotel buffets, restaurants, specially catered meals and allowance funds for participants to purchase a meal on their own. Some meals that we provide outside of Israel may be certified kosher, but most meals are not. When a meal is served in a public buffet format (e.g. hotel breakfast), we will always ensure that there are vegetarian or pescatarian options available, but we will also not restrict teens from eating the food of their choice. Some meals may be provided via an allowance system whereby teens will be given cash to purchase the food of their choice. Such meals are typically arranged in an area where there are multiple restaurant options, and teens can choose the food of their liking. In situations where time is of the essence, staff may choose to facilitate meal orders on behalf of teens using their allowance funds, including non-kosher orders. When the group eats at non-kosher restaurants with a pre-ordered menu, the options will only consist of vegetarian or pescatarian dishes. Participants with special dietary situations (i.e. lactose intolerance, gluten-free, kosher, etc.) should contact us in advance to be sure we can accommodate your needs during the program.

What are the payment and cancellation terms?
All of these details are available here, Registration Terms.

For more information, check out our general FAQs.

No connections or extensions are available for this program. View all connected program options here.

 

PROGRAM REVIEWS

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