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USY on Wheels, Pacific Northwest

Overview

Take in the rich coffee-soaked culture of Seattle, the quirkiness of Portland, and the beauty of Vancouver, British Columbia on Pacific Northwest. Explore some of North America’s most spectacular sights from Mount Rainier in Washington State to Crater Lake in Oregon, and top it all off with a week-long Alaskan cruise on Norwegian cruise lines!

Note: This trip begins in Seattle and ends in Los Angeles. USYers are responsible for making their own travel arrangements to Seattle and from Los Angeles at the conclusion of the trip.

Highlights Include

Seattle Space Needle. Pike Place Market. Mt. Rainer. Crater Lake National Park. Alaskan Cruise. Disneyland. Capilano Suspension Bridge. Alpacas of Oregon

FAQ

What is USY on Wheels?

Since 1960, United Synagogue Youth has taken hundreds of teens across North America aboard USY on Wheels. On this cross-continent tour, Jewish teens explore the United States and Canada, discovering new sights and making lasting friendships through their travels. An intense identity-building experience, USY on Wheels allows teens to travel and live with their peers, providing abundant opportunities for developing independence and personal growth.

The trip also builds Jewish identity, immersing teens in meaningful experiences and discussions that strengthen their understanding of and commitment to Judaism. Participants celebrate Shabbat, find new and fun ways to pray (through yoga, crafts, and more!) keep kosher, and build their own Jewish communities on the road, teaching them that they can find a sense of “kehilla” (community) no matter where life’s travels take them.

What are the age requirements for this program?

USY on Wheels programs are open to teens currently in grades 7-12. Current seventh and eighth grades students are ONLY eligible for Wheels East and West.

What is the typical group size?

“Classic”, East, and West groups typically range from 40-48 teens per bus with each bus grouped by participant age. There are typically 24-36 teens on Pacific Northwest trips.

How is the program staffed?

Wheels buses are supervised by five staff members who have made working with Jewish youth a priority in their lives. Each bus is in daily contact with the central USY office and program director, who is on call 24 hours a day.

How do teens travel on Wheels?

Teens travel on a fully equipped motor coach, driven by a professional who remains with each bus for the duration of the trip.

What is the food like?

Three full meals and numerous snacks are provided each day. All the food is kosher and supplied by kosher caterers throughout North America.

Where do teens stay while traveling?

Teens stay in major hotels fully equipped with swimming pools and recreational facilities. The number of teens per room varies from three to four depending on the facility.

Teens also have the opportunity to participate in a Home Hospitality program. For approximately ten nights over the course of the trip, teens stay at local USCJ congregants’ homes in a number of communities throughout North America. Teens also spend time with local USYers in each community, participating in activities and seeing what Jewish life is like from Buffalo to Baltimore, Los Angeles to Washington, D.C.

Is there a community service component to your trips and what does it include?

Social action and community service projects are an important component of USY on Wheels. During the course of the summer, teens will participate in at least three hours of volunteer work. Past projects included:

  • Volunteering at The Ark, a soup kitchen and food distribution center in Chicago
  • Donating toiletries to the homeless through the Lava Mae organization in San Francisco
  • Singing songs at a the Jewish Home for the Elderly in New Orleans

What is a typical day like on USY on Wheels?

To get an idea of a typical day on Wheels, check out daily group updates from past summers.

What does the cost of this program include?

The cost includes travel, room and board, gratuities, and admission fees.

Are there scholarships available?

Scholarships are available through USY regions, local congregations and their affiliated groups. For further information contact your synagogue, regional USY directory, or visit our scholarship database and Ways to Save page.

Who do I contact with additional questions?

If you have any questions about this or other USY summer programs, e-mail us at summer@usy.org.

  • June 28-July 20, 2017
  • $ 6,199
    • 23 DAYS
    • Grades 9-12*
    • *Current grade as of 2016-2017 school year
  • Register Now

Questions?

Sample Itinerary

**Based on 2016 itinerary. All schedules and activities are subject to change.

TRIP DAYLOCATION ACTIVITIES
Day 1Seattle, WAArrive in Seattle and settle into the hotel; Relax and get to know each other in Golden Gardens Park
Day 2Seattle, WAExperience a 360 degree view of Seattle at the Space Needle Sky Deck; Make your own music videos and tracks at the Experience Music Museum; Satisfy your sweet tooth at Molly Moon Ice Cream; See the Seattle skyline at Kerry Park; Show off your athletic skills at Whirlyball
Day 3Seattle, WALearn about global awareness at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; People watch, eat, and shop at Pike Place Market; Prepare for Shabbat
Day 4Seattle, WACelebrate Shabbat
Day 5Alaskan CrusieBoard the Norwegian Pearl and start cruising to Alaska; Enjoy a comedy show aboard the ship
Day 6Alaskan CrusieExplore the cruise ships and its activities including rock climbing, karaoke, ping pong, dance classes, and bowling
Day 7Alaskan CrusieStop in Juneau to see the Mendehell Glacier and its waterfall; Reboard the ship for a night at the theater
Day 8Alaskan CrusieLearn about the Iditarod Race and meet its cutest participants, the sled dogs and their puppies; Shop and wander the main street in Skagway
Day 9Alaskan CrusieSail through Glacier Bay National Park
Day 10Alaskan CrusieEmbark on a land and sea adventure in Ketchikan with a Duck Tour
Day 11Alaskan CrusieCelebrate Shabbat
Day 12Vancouver, BC, CanadaBe a pro hockey player for the day with a VIP tour of the Rodgers Arena, home of the Canucks; Virtually explore all of Canada at FlyOver Canada
Day 13Vancouver, BC, CanadaTake a gondola ride up to Grouse Mountain; See the famous LumberJack Show; Take a walk on the wild side and cross the Capilano Suspension Bridge; Shop on Granville Island
Day 14Vancouver, BC, Canada & Portland, ORTake a nature walk at Mt. St. Helens; Get lost in the largest book store in the U.S.A – Powell’s Book Store; Fly through the water on a Willamette Jet Boat Tour; Enjoy an evening snack at Portland’s famous Voodoo Donuts
Day 15Portland, ORParticipate in a social action project; Take a walk through the Portland Rose Garden; Play and learn at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry; Enjoy America's pass time and take in a Hillsboro Hops baseball game
Day 16Portland, ORPick fruit at Smith Berry Farms; Visit Crater Lake National Park
Day 17San Francisco, CATour the Jelly Belly Factory; Prepare for Shabbat
Day 18San Francisco, CACelebrate Shabbat
Day 19San Francisco, CATake in the views of the iconic Golden Gate Bridge; Visit Lombard Street and Ghirardelli Square; Explore Pier 39 and Fisherman's Wharf
Day 20Los Angeles, CASpot celebrities as your shop at The Grove; Hike to the Hollywood sign; Explore Hollywood Boulevard and add your handprint to the Hollywood Walk of Fame at the Kodak Theater
Day 21Los Angeles, CASpend an entire day at Disneyland
Day 22Los Angeles, CADine at Pico Boulevard. Play football, shop, and eat at Santa Monica Pier; Take part in the end of trip banquet
Day 23Los Angeles, CAReturn home
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