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USY on Wheels, West


Cruise down the sunny Pacific Coast Highway, stopping along the way to relax on the beaches of California, hike the natural beauty of the Southwest’s national parks, and journey from the dizzying heights of Colorado to the flat salt plains if Utah! Come experience the laid-back, feel-good vibes of the West Coast on this new, trip, exclusively for current 7th and 8th graders!

Highlights Include

Zion National Park. Disneyland. The Grand Canyon. Hoover Dam. Bryce Canyon National Park. Ghirardelli Square

*Subject to change


What is USY on Wheels?

Since 1960, USY (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 [email protected].

  • Not offered for summer 2018
  • $ 5,799
    • 28 DAYS
    • Grades 7-8*
    • *Current grade as of 2017-2018 school year
  • Register Here


Sample Itinerary

DayClassicClassicPacific NorthwestEastWest
TuesdayPittsburgh DCNY/NJLos Angeles
WednesdayClevelandDCSeattle BostonSanta Barbara
ThursdayChicagoRaleighSeattle BostonSan Jose
FridayChicagoCharlotteSeattle SyracuseSan Francisco
SaturdayChicagoCharlotteSeattle SyracuseSan Francisco
SundayMinneapolis Atlanta Alaska CruiseTorontoSacramento
MondaySioux Falls Atlanta Alaska CruiseTorontoCarson City
TuesdayRapid CityNew OrleansAlaska CruiseClevelandProvo
WednesdayYellowstoneNew OrleansAlaska CruiseLouisvilleProvo
ThursdayYellowstoneHoustonAlaska CruiseChatanoogaBoulder
FridayMissoula DallasAlaska CruiseAtlantaDenver
SaturdayMissoula DallasAlaska CruiseAtlantaDenver
SundaySpokane AmarilloVancouverAtlantaColorado Springs
MondaySeattleAlbuquerqueVancouverOrlandoSanta Fe
TuesdayPortland FlagstaffPortlandOrlandoSanta Fe
WednesdayCrater LakeFlagstaffPortlandOrlandoGrand Canyon
ThursdaySacramento PhoenixCrater LakeJacksonvilleGrand Canyon
FridaySan Francisco PhoenixSacramentoJacksonvilleScottsdale
SaturdaySan Francisco PhoenixSacramentoJacksonvilleScottsdale
SundaySan Francisco Los AngelesLos AngelesSavannahScottsdale
MondayLos AngelesLos AngelesLos AngelesCharlestonHoover Dam
TuesdayLos AngelesLos AngelesLos AngelesWilmingtonPalm Springs
WednesdayLos AngelesLos AngelesLos AngelesRichmondSan Diego
ThursdayLos AngelesSan FranciscoDepartDCSan Diego
FridayCosta MesaSan FranciscoDCLos Angeles
SaturdayCosta MesaSan FranciscoDCLos Angeles
SundayLas VegasCrater LakePhiladelphiaLos Angeles
FridayOklahoma CitySheridan
SaturdayOklahoma CitySheridan
SundayKansas CityRapid City
MondaySt. LouisSioux Falls
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