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Enjoy the following essay by a past participant of Derech Hateva's Israel Trail Teen Adventure (ITTA):
By Daniella Zettel, ITTA '06

I signed up for Derech Hateva knowing practically nothing about the program. I knew someone who went on this program 2 years ago and she said that it really changed her as a person. I also knew someone that would be with me on the trip. But for all practical purposes, such as what I would actually be doing during the camp, I knew very little. I was aware I was going to hike for a month and that I would walk camels in the desert but that was about it. I never knew how many new people I would meet and how much fun I would have and also how much I would really love living in the outdoors. I think it took everyone a week or two to get used to waking up at 6.00 am, hiking 13 km a day and at night having to make dinner before we were able to go to sleep. I think we started to appreciate what we usually took for granted.

I think my most enjoyable part of the trip was in the desert. I learned the most there like, for example, how to make 3 types of pita, which plants you can eat from and which ones you can make into soap. Also, I learned that camels do not spit! The best part was going to sleep underneath the stars. I liked Friday night because it was a major bonding experience for all of us. We all sang Kabalat Shabbat together and cried together.

I learned in camp how to use an MSR cooking kit and how to make the most out of what you've got. I believe that I actually became very good at cooking and usually I do not even go into my kitchen at home! I really learned to appreciate the simple things in life such as a cold drink or a Popsicle. For example, when we passed a Makolet (mini-mart), we all started to jump for joy, just to be able to go and buy something. Oh, how we all missed being able to go into a shop without a problem!

Nothing could have prepared me for the incredible experience I had. I learned how to appreciate how we can survive in nature, how you can work together as a group and how much you can grow as a person in a month!


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