What can we possibly say about our final week at Gavz Boyz? It was filled with emotion, excitement and growth, starting off with an incredible Shabbos in Almost Heaven, West Virginia on a pristine private farm that was far from civilization, our nearest neighbor a mile away. We ushered in Tisha B’Av on Motzei Shabbos with a touching Eicha and Kinus by the campfire, with everyone joining in relevant discussions that went well into the night. The next morning it was a special vasikin davening and everyone went out of their way to support each during their fasts and throughout the day. We broke our fasts on a veritable feast, cleaning up the house together after our meal so that we could get an early start in the morning.
Monday was an action-packed day as we did some serious whitewater rafting at Ace Adventures in Oak Hill on the Lower New River in class IV and V waters. While the views were stunning and the rapids were thrilling, it was the teamwork and camaraderie that made our adventures truly special and will serve us well throughout our lives. After a fabulous lunch of homemade quesadillas, we headed to the Ace Aqua Park where we conquered the massive waterslides, inflatable climbing mountain and the zip line and more.
Tuesday had us heading north into Pittsburgh where the rainy weather was no match for our signature Gavz Boyz enthusiasm. Trampolining, a ninja course and the rock wall – our boyz nailed them all and everyone had a truly awesome day. From there we continued our trek north and east, fearlessly facing down some serious mountains on Wednesday as we ziplined our way down Camelback Mountain. We set up camp at Tobyhanna State Park for our final night of camping which turned out to be a powerful and emotional bonding experience. Sitting around the bonfire, everyone spoke about the personal milestones they have achieved and how our four week long road trip cemented the bonds between us. There was so much to say as the flames burned on and it was already 7 AM by the time we were ready to grab some much needed rest before we hit the road again.
We made it back to our home base in Monsey by 4 PM on Thursday afternoon where were thrilled to find our new Gavz Boyz sweatshirts waiting for us, a tangible reminder of our incredible adventures and the amazing growth that has shaped our lives. Ironically, after four weeks without phones, no one was in a rush to get their devices back – instead we all lingered, enjoying sushi, fresh hot pizza, Mincha and Maariv, hanging out well into the night.
Now that Gavz Boyz 2019 is in the record books, it seems worth taking the time to reflect on all that we accomplished together and what our program is all about. While on the surface it seems as if our days were spent engaged in extreme sports and crazy trips, those experiences were part of a much bigger picture – one that saw our boyz looking deep within himself to realize to face their fears and anxieties, going beyond their comfort zones to maximize their vast potential. Our diverse group of individuals grew into a close-knit family as our guys developed healthy coping skills, learned how to trust themselves and each other and forged meaningful relationships. While our road trip may have ended, the personal journeys have only just begun and we know in our heart of hearts that we are Gavz Boyz for life.
The Gavz Boyz