On May 15th, the Valley Torah High School boys’ division embarked on its biennial Weekaton. The destination this year was Yosemite National Park. As one would suspect, taking almost 100 teenage boys on a four-day trip to a national park is a daunting task. However, under the leadership of Rabbi Stulberger, and the hard work and dedication of Rabbi Semmel and the rest of the rebbeim of Valley Torah, the trip achieved overwhelming success.
From hiking the famous Mist Trail to the top of Vernal Falls, to the water slides at the private outdoor water park, to whitewater rafting eleven miles down the Merced River, the destinations and activities were amazing. Students shared once-in-a-lifetime experiences that they are sure to carry with them for years. For the first time ever, the school arranged to stay in Camp Wowona, a private campsite with beautiful cabins situated alongside a rushing river. The accommodations fostered a feeling of achdus and bonding that was unique and uplifting.
Most importantly, the students accomplished something on a spiritual level that deserves tremendous recognition. Prior to the trip, there were school wide discussions about the importance of kiddush Hashem and positively representing the Jewish people. The students learned about the exceptional position we’re in, at this particular point in history, to make a positive impression on those around us. By the conclusion of the trip, it was clear that the students took those lessons to heart. At every stage of the trip, observers commented about the impressive conduct of such a large group of boys. Even in the peaceful setting of Yosemite, where visitors are expecting a sense of quiet and serenity, the boys were complimented on their respectful behavior. As a rebbe at Valley Torah, I’m proud to have been a part of such a wonderful experience and such an inspiring kiddush Hashem!