Maccabi GB Challenge Israel Tour

I am privileged to manage and lead the Maccabi GB Challenge Israel Tour and have done so for the last 5 years. Last year we took 9 young people, aged 17-21 years old and a staff team of 7 to tour around Israel for 12 days.

The Maccabi GB Challenge Israel Tour at the top of Masada

These young people had the unique opportunity to explore Israel with their peers, whilst developing friendships, confidence, social skills and general life-skills. For many, they had never spent a night away from home and in turn their parents had never had any respite from the intense physical and emotional care they need to give to their children.

I witnessed life changing development for these young people. This ranged from making and eating a variety of healthy food options, learning to wash themselves and confidently sitting with their new friends making and contributing to conversations with ease and laughter.

Some personal highlights for me were taking them to Yad Vashem. When we processed together after visiting the museum, every single one of the participants was able to verbalise what they felt and why. This is no small task from a group of mainly autistic young people.

I never imagined these young people would develop so much. They came alive and seemed to thrive off being given the opportunity to explore and live “tour” like so many of their siblings have. Without Maccabi GB this simply could not have happened.

We visited the Special Needs Unit of the IDF

We were able to give a gift not only to the young people, but also to their families. Please find feedback from some of the parents.

“I don't even know where to begin. Thank you so very much for giving Daniel the trip of a lifetime. He has asked about a trip to Israel so many times and watched as his brother and sister went with school and on tour at 16... always asking when he could do it. The Maccabi GB Challenge tour has given him that chance. He did all that they did and more in an environment where he felt totally secure and valued. He made friends and socialised. He enhanced his Jewish learning but most of all he had so much fun.”

Daniel’s Parents

Riding camels in the desert

“Where to start and how to finish…That is pretty simple, one starts with a huge thank you and one finishes with a debt of gratitude.

What Natasha and her friends achieved and got out of the trip was immeasurable, The camaraderie, the independence, the proving to themselves that they could do anything they wanted to do and the maturity they showed while being out of their comfort zone and away from their parents was nothing short of miraculous.

Natasha went away with some trepidation but came back a very different young lady, full of confidence and full of wonderful memories.”

Parents of Natasha

One of our favourite experiences was at the Kotel

Planning has now begun for the Maccabi GB Challenge Israel Tour 2018. These tours take a year and a half of meticulous preparation as well as much needed funds to be raised. I cannot wait for next October and to give another group of young people this life changing experience.