What are overnight trips and navigation week like in BINA Gap Year? Participant Naor Aron talks about all the experiences they had on the army-style navigation week and about the overnight trips that BINA Gap Year has done so far. Read on to find out more!
One of the coolest parts about BINA, in my opinion, is the trips that we take. As a Mechina (preparatory program), we aren’t just learning in classes all day and we aren’t just out in the city, we also take part in fun and formative trips. So far, we’ve gone on two overnight trips in the wilderness. The first overnight trip we took was with Israelis from all of the other BINA programs to get to know each other and bond. We slept outside on sleeping mats together and did a lot of fun activities as a group.
One morning I got the chance to wake everyone up with the music of my choice, and it was a beautiful moment hearing the music and taking in the view in the morning. We went hiking for a few hours each day, then at the campsite, we had a ton of free time until dinner. We all hung out in hammocks and got to know our peers participating in other BINA programs around Israel. We also did some self-led activities to bond. We could make the activities pretty much anything we wanted as long as they were centered around the group.
On our most recent trip, we had a week of navigation. We took classes beforehand to learn how to read a map, find coordinates, learn important terms, and other things related to navigating yourself. The whole trip was set up like the army. We split up into small groups and chose specific people to serve as the commanders of those groups. Each day we would get points that we needed to go find so as a group we would sit down, find the points on the map, search for a way to get to them, and then the next day we went out by ourselves and navigated ourselves there. It was so fun and cool to get to actually navigate ourselves without any help from the staff.
Since it was set up like the army, we also did a lot of random tasks like cleaning and other duties and all of it had a time limit. Each morning they would wake us up and tell us we have a certain amount of time (usually 4 minutes) to get into a ח(chet) (a shape of a Hebrew letter which is how soldiers in the IDF gather and stand as a group). It was challenging and difficult, but it gave us a taste of the army.
Even if you aren’t planning on going to the army, it gives you a sense of intense discipline and makes you do things you thought you could never do before. I had no idea I was capable of brushing my teeth, cleaning my tent, and getting changed for the day all in 10 minutes. I now feel like a much more capable person, and it was so fun in the process. You spend hours with just your group navigating through the woods. We sang, laughed, had an amazing lunch together that we made ourselves, and learned extremely useful wilderness and personal skills.
All in all, the trips we take on BINA are extremely fun and life-changing. Some of my fondest memories are now from these trips.
Naor Aaron, BINA Gap Year Participant