Author Topic: Darckenu Israel - new wilderness program abroad  (Read 14065 times)

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Offline Ursus

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Our Program - Program at a glance
« Reply #75 on: February 24, 2011, 02:23:29 PM »
In the interim, here's some material from the "Our Program" section of Darckenu-Israel's website, emphases as per the original...

It's interesting that Darckenu Israel refers to their potential program clients as "teenaged girls and boys under duress" ... prior to having signed on, but as "young adults" once they've been sent to the program and are presumed to be actively participating.

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Program at a glance
Darckenu Israel is a unique Israeli program lasting 38 days. The program is specifically designed for teenaged girls and boys under duress, and for their parents. (Is the program suitable for us?)

Participating families are normally ones experiencing severe interpersonal challenges and communication gaps.

The program integrates significant physical and mental challenges in the form of walking and spending time in a desert setting, while keeping daily routines and completing various personal and team assignments. These assignments require certain survival capabilities (gained in the context of the program) and interpersonal capacity.
The young adults who walk the Darckenu Israel trail face a series of challenges throughout their journey, and are guided to success with our consistent instruction and presence.

We teach, comfort, and motivate them to explore their inner strength and develop sufficient confidence in their abilities. In the process, we gently steer them to discover their own abilities to make valuable choices and reinforce their self image.
Parents are categorically an integrated part of this process.
The program's targets, with regard to the parents, focus on providing them with insights and tools for significant parenting, through the use of effective communication with their children.

The program specifically guides parents to provide children with supporting messages while defining the necessary boundaries and rules. The combination of both these components will ultimately serve as 'anchor' and 'foundation' for the youth, and as infrastructure for better and rewarding relationships between parents and children.

Parents participate in various workshops at the end of the program. (see Parents' Program)

By definition, the program allows the youth and their parents to connect with their respective cultural roots, and with the 'Israeli spirit', and transform their experiences in the 'bosom of nature' – to a renewed experience in the 'bosom of their family'.

2010 © Darckenu Israel
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »
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Offline Ursus

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Is the program suitable for my family?
« Reply #76 on: February 24, 2011, 05:39:51 PM »
Expanding out one of the links in the above post; emphases as per the original...

No surprises here. Darckenu Israel will take basically any kid that can be safely stuck on a plane.

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Is the program suitable for my family?
You may be asking yourself whether Darckenu Israel is the right program for you, your child, and your family; whether the principles and philosophy that constitute our wilderness program will indeed prove helpful in addressing your particular challenge.
Let us answer your concerns by telling you who we see will benefit the most by participating in Darckenu Israel's program:
    Parents of children facing the type of difficulties mentioned below, and are ready to assume significant parental responsibility in the context of the Darckenu Israel program (as detailed in 'Parents' Program' section on this site), alongside their kids.

    Adolescents between the ages of 14-18 who are struggling with a variety of behavioral problems, learning disabilities, occasional substance abuse, problems in school, and difficulties with their key relationships.[/list]
    A detailed list of specific issues and challenges that may be relevant to you is included below, for your evaluation and assessment:
    Low self esteem
    In many cases low self esteem is the core reason for unacceptable behaviors.
    This may originate from circumstances including:
    • Consistent criticism and dissatisfaction expressed by relevant adults
    • Various learning disabilities and difficulties
    • Social rejection by their peers
    • Physical disabilities
    • Psychological or emotional problems
    • Consistent failures
    Conflicts in the family
    • Frequent arguments with parents
    • Refusal to follow parents' rules or values
    • Avoiding any communication with parents
    • Aggressive and rude communication

    Low Frustration Tolerance
    Difficulties related to coping with challenges of everyday life and facing disappointments. Frustration may be expressed in behavioral patterns such as:
    • Impulsive & aggressive conduct
    • Verbal & physical aggression
    • Vandalism (intentional and unintentional)
    • Dropping out of school (overt or covert)
    • Inability to manage relationship with peers
    • Overall lack of motivation
    • Occasional use of illegal substance or alcohol

    Social Problems
    Adolescents who suffer from poor peer relationships, lack of friends or bad or negative influence by friends. Adolescents who experience difficulty reading social cues and who lack age appropriate social skills.
    Learning Difficulties
    Teenagers with various learning disabilities and challenges such as Dyslexia, ADHD, ADD, resulting in failure to achieve schooling targets and consequently reinforce the child's low self esteem.
    Children experiencing the conditions above may often be prone to:
    • Lack of motivation to engage school assignments and tasks
    • Impulsive behavior accompanied with verbal or physical aggression
    • Classroom interruptions
    • Demonstrating 'illnesses' so as to avoid school attendance
    • Avoiding consistent school attendance, overtly or covertly, leading to their expulsion from the educational system
    Life revolving around the computer and internet
    Young adults consumed by the exclusive 'virtual world' of PC games and internet interactions, avoiding actual contact with their peers and immediate environment.
    Difficulties associated with crisis
    Young adults who have experienced crisis situations such as relocation, family economic challenges, parental unemployment, divorce, accidents, physical disability or serious illness in the family, death of a loved one, etc.
    Occasional use of illegal substance & alcohol
    Young adults using drugs or alcohol on a random social basis, but not regarded as addicted.
    Sexual acting-out
    Age inappropriate relationship, sexual promiscuity.
    If you are struggling with the above symptoms, behaviors, and difficulties the Darckenu Israel program may very well be beneficial for your family.

    2010 © Darckenu Israel
    « Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »
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    Offline Ursus

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    For whom the program may not be suitable?
    « Reply #77 on: February 25, 2011, 11:04:30 PM »
    Amazingly enough, Darckenu Israel also has a page detailing the type of kid for whom their program may not be suitable for. Gotta give them credit for that!

    Nevertheless, despite obviously decreasing Darckenu's potential liability load by issuing disclaimers in advance, if your kid is not already locked up in juvie or in a lockdown RTC, and you can afford all those plane tickets to Israel, chances are he or she will still qualify!

    Emphases as per the original:

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    For whom the program may not be suitable?

    The Darckenu Israel program may not be suitable for young adults with complex problems and conditions that may put them at risk. Therefore, teenagers with the following problems and conditions will not be able to participate in our program:
    • Active suicide attempts
    • Psychotic symptoms
    • Acute/Chronic violence outside the home
    • History of sexual assaults
    • Alcohol and/or drugs and other substance addiction
    • Psychiatric hospitalization
    • Criminal record
    The program of routine wilderness missions is not suitable for young adults with medical conditions that may require special medical services such as:
    • Diabetes (Insulin-Dependent)
    • Allergies that may lead to anaphylactic shock
    • Significant obesity
    • Cardiac conditions or other organ dysfunctions that may lead to the need for emergency care
    • Serious eating disorders (Bulimia, Anorexia, etc.)
    Darckenu Israel cannot accept teenagers whose parents are unable to actively participate in the program as described in this site in Parents' Program.

    Please contact us with any question so that we can assess and explore the potential value of this program to your child and family.

    2010 © Darckenu Israel
    « Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »
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    Offline Ursus

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    Our Program - Program objectives
    « Reply #78 on: February 27, 2011, 02:53:07 PM »
    Some more from the 'Our Program' section; again: emphases as per the original...

    This would appear to be the only pic I've come across thus far, showing Shaul without his sunglasses on.

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    Program objectives
    The Darckenu Israel program enables the teenage participants to:

      -> Believe in themselves and their ability to overcome difficult challenges (mental and physical), far beyond their achievements to date.

      -> Reinforce their self image and confidence.
      -> Regard themselves as valuable members of a special group going through a very demanding & challenging set of experiences (in the context of the program they are part of in Israel).
      -> Possess 'tools' for making the kind of personal choices that will promote them and act on these choices effectively.
      -> Communicate effectively with their parents, family members, and other significant adults.
      -> Start anew with regard to relationships and activities with which they had previous difficulties, in Israel, in an unfamiliar environment, that is both challenging and supportive.
      -> Reinforce their connection to the state of Israel, its history, heritage and Jewish tradition.
      -> Explore opportunities for continuation programs in Israel following Darckenu Israel program's conclusion.[/list]

      The Darckenu Israel program enables participating parents to:

        -> Possess a new set of 'tools' for effective parenting.
        -> Define and deploy an alternative communication approach with their children, designed to promote positive family interaction and provide a supportive and close environment at home.
        -> Reclaim their role as 'anchors of stability' in their children's lives.[/list]

        2010 © Darckenu Israel
        « Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »
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        Offline Ursus

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        Our Program - Teenager's program
        « Reply #79 on: March 21, 2011, 12:24:50 AM »
        We must be in full-swing of the first Darckenu Israel "walk," presuming that it commenced on March 10th as planned, eh?

        Here's a more detailed description of what participants may currently be experiencing:

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        Teenager's program
        The teens walk in the Israeli Negev desert from day 1 to day 32.
        On day 33 they move north to the Emek Yizrael region where they prepare for the reunion with their parents.
        On day 35 the teens are reunited with their parents and spend one night camping together.
        Days 36-38 are assigned for a shared "coming home" workshop with their parents in a kibbutz with a real shower...

        The program's agenda for the teenagers has four stages. Each stage addresses personal and group goals. The advancement from one stage to the next depends on each participant's individual progress


        Stage 1 - Tzabar

        The Tzabar (Sabres, or Cactus) fruit is often considered the symbolic representation of the typical Israeli: prickly on the outside, and sweet and nourishing on the inside.
        Trying to uncover the essence of the fruit behind the protective shield nature has given it might hurt. However, the effort is well rewarded, as the Tzabar fruit is incredibly sweet and refreshing.

        At stage 1, the Tzabar stage, each participant is assigned a personal guide. The teen will be facing considerable physical challenges during stage 1: hiking in a very demanding terrain, unfamiliar weather conditions, sleeping outdoors, giving up 'toxins' they may be dependent upon, relying on basic survival techniques, making fires, preparing food while cooking outdoors, maintaining personal hygiene in nature, preparing camping facilities for overnight camping and more.
        At this stage participants learn what is expected of them, the group agenda, rules and regulations for negotiating the desert they are walking in, accepted norms and boundaries.

        Stage 2 - Eshel

        The Eshel tree (Tamarisk) is typified by its ability to survive in severe desert conditions. It requires very little water. It can face strong winds, extreme heat as well as cold temperature, which are typical for this region. In some seasons this resistant specimen even displays a lovely pink flowery coat.

        During Stage 2 the young participants learn to negotiate their 'new world'. They practice the survival techniques they have been taught and develop individual creativity in cooking and handcraft using available components found in their immediate surroundings.
        They begin to function in the context of their group and as a team, share tasks and team rituals, in order to be exposed to the practical outcomes of the choices they
        All the while, as they are 'walking their choices' in the desert trail charted by their trail guides, they learn to listen to and communicate with their peers effectively and give and receive feedback. This stage is structured to provide participants with the practical means with which they should take responsibility. It also includes the important aspect of self emotional-management by participants.

        Stage 3 - Alon

        The Alon (Oak) tree is a typical and age-old Israeli species. Alon trees in Israel, estimated to be of several hundred years old, can be found throughout the country, but chiefly in the northern region.
        The Alon tree is extremely robust and provides shade area under its extensive vegetation. It blooms in the spring and its fruit is food for various birds and small animals.

        The Alon stage is defined by adjustment and 'normalization'. Living outdoors, walking, preparing food and going through a variety of daily routines have by now become easier, normal and quiet enjoyable.  
        The program's emphasis now shifts to upgrading and perfecting participants' communications skills:
        • Giving, receiving and processing feedback
        • Solving conflicts
        • Giving and receiving assistance from peers
        • Acceptance and containing others
        • Anger and frustration management
        With the trail guides' navigation, participants learn to bridge between the experiences they are having during the program with the conflicts and issues from 'back home'. Past decisions or choices that have proven to be wrong or counter-productive are discussed in light of the insights gained during the experiences in the desert.

        Stage 4 - Rimon

        The Rimon tree (Pomegranate) is one of the Seven Sacred Species in Jewish tradition. Rimon symbolizes – in both Judaism as well as other faiths – multiplicity, wealth, fertility, beauty and wisdom. Due to its visual attractiveness the Rimon fruit has been chosen to beautify architectural structures, coins and fashion items, and is repeated in the names of many habitats and towns in Israel and elsewhere. The deep-red fruit contains hundreds of juicy pellets treasured for their therapeutic qualities.
        The Rimon stage takes the participants to the northern part of Israel, to a setting vastly different than the desert environment.  
        Participants now have the opportunity to view their wilderness experience in perspective and evaluate personal areas in which they have grown and challenges they may feel better equipped to deal with.
        The focus is for each participant to form a 'bird's eye view' of the issues troubling them, and to use the insights gained during the Tzabar, Eshel and Alon stages in their after-program life.
        Participants at this stage acquire and practice respective 'tools' to be used as they prepare to go back home. They discover practical means for putting into practice the knowledge gained to change former behavioral patterns.
        In this context, we review with them all relevant expectations, concerns, dreams and desires.
        The Rimon Stage includes preparation for reuniting the teens with their parents. Parents are scheduled to rejoin their children to spend 24 hours in the field at a camp site each teenager has prepared for his parents.
        Participating parents get to see and experience their children's new routines and behavior while sharing and enjoying their teen's personal achievements and new insights.


        Weekend camp

        During the program, the children arrive at a designated weekend camping site for a stay over during the 'Shabbat' (the Jewish rest day).
        The idea of the weekend camp incorporates several prioritized elements:

        • The traditional symbolism of 'sabbatical rest'.
        • A reward for a significant effort accomplished during the week.
        • An opportunity to observe individual and group achievements and respective insights gained over the week, and review each participant's conduct and performance.
        • Discussions of lessons learned and the application of those to 'normal life'.
        • An opportunity to provide participants with relevant feedback by the trail guides.
        • An opportunity to define group and personal goals for the coming week.
        • Rest and recreation.
        • General logistics like laundry and gear preparation for the coming week.
        • Discussion of traditional, historical and other topics led by the trail guides.
        • Writing letters to the parents back home.

        Living conditions at the weekend camp sites are designed to be a bit more comforting than those experienced by the participants during the week, so as to help them recoup and recharge, physically and mentally.

        2010 © Darckenu Israel
        « Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »
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        Offline Ursus

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        Our Program - Parents' program
        « Reply #80 on: March 21, 2011, 08:54:58 PM »
        And... here is what the parents will have in store for them, coming up just around the corner. This would appear to be structured very much along the lines of a week long LGAT:

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        Parents' program
        "The program sounds amazing, but what happens when the kids get back home? After all, they will be returning to the same house, same friends and education system! How do we preserve the success and achievements gained during the desert trail experience when they are back to their reality?"
        This is one of the frequently asked questions we get from parents, regarding the chance for long term success through the Darckenu Israel program.
        Our answer is categorically straight forward: the 'secret ingredient' in the program's long-term success is the fact that the parents have assumed a high level of commitment in, and involvement with, their children's lives.
        This parental commitment is manifested by traveling to Israel at the end of the program, participating in workshops, spending the night outdoors with the teens, remain in consistent and structured contact with us during the month your kids are on trail, write letters to your kids and 'do your homework', so to speak. But don't worry – there are no essays for submission on your part...:)

        Parents' program details

        The parent's program always starts on a Friday, the 30th day of the Darckenu Israel trail, at a comfortable country inn and concludes on the Saturday night eight days later.

        The Initiation Seminar opens the Friday evening session.
        This 3-day seminar discusses the following topics and issues:
        -> Understanding the uniqueness of adolescence, the difficulties and risks associated with this age and the challenges parents have to face.
        -> Receiving a 'parents tool kit' for meaningful parenting and effective communication with your kids.
        -> Formulating a relevant 'vocabulary' based on the same terminology and idioms your kids will be introduced to in their program. This 'vocabulary' is specifically designed to facilitate a new and better interaction with your kids when you are reunited.

        The Concluding Workshop is a 3–part program:  

          1. From Tuesday through Wednesday noon you focus on preparations for reuniting with your child, planning the return trip home and your strategies for your family's 'return to regular life' based on the new perspectives gained through
        Darckenu Israel.[/list]
          2. Midday of Wednesday you set out to the field to meet your child. You'll spend that night together in a camp-site especially prepared by your child for your joint stay.

          The following day will be dedicated in its entirety to family-oriented activities. You will find this to be a wonderful opportunity to enjoy the skills and capabilities your child has discovered in him-herself during the
        Darckenu Israel journey. You will hear of their experiences and share yours with them, as well.[/list]
          3. On Thursday you and the children will return to the country-side community accommodations in the Yizrael Valley for a joint
        Concluding Workshop.

        During their trail, the children were guided to consolidate their own set of wishes and resolutions, as well as any respective concerns regarding the issue of returning home. This workshop provides a platform for parents and children to define the life after the program's experience.[/list]
        This workshop concludes with a program's final party Saturday afternoon.
        Flights home will begin either that night or during the following day.

        During the 30 days your kids will be "walking their choices" in the desert, we will maintain weekly communication with you: update you on your kid's progress, send pictures from the trail, discuss any particular difficulties that may have arisen and answer any and all your questions.

        We will ask you to send letters to your child and will forward letters written to you. These letters are usually very important for the process both you and your kids will be going through in the context of the program.
        In addition we will send you guiding materials to help you prepare assignments you will use during the Concluding Workshop as described above.

        2010 © Darckenu Israel
        « Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »
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        Offline Dethgurl

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        Re: Darckenu Israel - new wilderness program abroad
        « Reply #81 on: April 19, 2011, 09:24:55 AM »
        When my brothers and I got out of hand my Mother would threaten to send us to live on a Kibbutz. http://
        It looks like "somebody" saw a funding stream asset (The American Teenager) and started a program. :trophy:
        « Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »
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        The majority has eternally, and without one exception, usurped over the rights of the minority." ~John Adams

        Offline T.O.

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        Re: Darckenu Israel - new wilderness program abroad
        « Reply #82 on: April 28, 2012, 10:24:49 PM »
        Wonder if the staff are former IDF...
        « Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »

        Offline T.O.

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        Re: Darckenu Israel - new wilderness program abroad
        « Reply #83 on: April 28, 2012, 10:52:24 PM »
        Quote from: "Abir"
        Hi Ursus,
        Sorry for the late response, as to your questions:
        1. Lotan (their full name is "Derech Lotan") is a very serious and legitimate Israeli non profit organization. The main difference between them and us is that they normally run short wilderness programs (a week or so) for israeli school kids not necessarily teens at risk.
        As you know our program is much longer (38 days) and offered to teenagers at risk mainly in the US and Canada.
        2. As to the cost mentioned in an earlier post and the suggestion to "leave the money in the US" I can say that I am sure that in the US there are also good programs. Our program is very good and different and I am sure that parents and kids can tell the difference and hopefully choose us.
        Have a good weekend,

        Dear Abir, a couple of questions: I will not assume that your program is guilty of the kinds of behaviors or failures that others on this site are (I have yet to see student testimonials). I will say that, if your program is actually NOT like the others here, it makes me very happy: I was forced to attend a program where the staff were so ignorant of Passover that they thought I had an eating disorder and put me under food watch. And so that you understand that my questions are not intended to be hostile, I should say that I have a background in 19th and 20th century Jewish thought: I take it very seriously the relationship between Judaism, Jewish heritage, and political Zionism.  So:

        What do you think is the relationship between a program of this type and the early 20th century Zionist convictions that the various troubles of the Jews could only be resolved through the establishment of and connection to a Land? [i.e., that the Jews of Europe had been 'emasculated,' and that the only thing that could regenerate their manhood was a sovereign land]. (I'd be interested to know if you have any students who are NOT Jewish, not because it means anything in particular, but just as a point of interest).

        --In a related point, you say that you have a 'Shabbos camp,' which, in all honesty, makes me very happy. My question is this: to what extent does your program include an actual religious component? Do you light candles and do havdalah? Is their a religious education component, or is the focus on Jewishness as a unifying cultural/ethnic bond rather than a religious one?

         ??? ??? ??? ?????? ?????? ???. ???? ???? ?? ????? ??????.
        « Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »