A Teen Leadership Program


An immersive rite-of-passage for teens to cultivate leadership, embody core Jewish values, and bond in community.


Shomrim (“Guardians”) is a year-long leadership program where teens immerse in wilderness, gain life skills, build peer community, and learn Jewish values that guide them through life. Teens practice important life skills that deepen their confidence in taking on new responsibilities to care for themselves and others.

With wholeness as the primary goal, Shomrim supports healthy teen development, which supports well-being and ability to navigate life challenges.

Program Includes:

At the beginning of the year-long program, we journey into a wilderness space somewhere within two hours of the Bay Area for an immersive weekend of orientation and group bonding Participants learn and/or practice essential backcountry skills, set intentions for the year, and get to experience their local bioregion in a new and intimate way. 

One Thursday evening per month, our teens have the opportunity to receive support from peers and adult mentors, explore teachings of the Jewish cycle of time, and work on a year-long nature-based crafting project. Through games, crafts, ancestral stories, group challenges, and council practice, participants cultivate a space of authentic trust and belonging that offers them a profound connection typically difficult to find in school or social settings. 

Our year culminates in a week-long backpacking trip in the High Sierra. In the preceding months, the teen participants will have planned the entirety of the backpacking trip, from location to itinerary to menu to packing list (with guidance from the adult mentors). The backpacking journey is an opportunity for the teens to experience the fruits of their leadership journey, and experience deep communion with themselves, their peers, and the land.  


Attend an Info Session to Learn More

Tuesday June 11 @ 5 pm

Key Program Dates

  • 3-day launch backpacking trip: September 20-22, 2024
  • Monthly gatherings on Thursdays at 5–8:00pm PT  
  • 7-day culminating backpacking trip in the High Sierras in June 2025 (exact dates TBD)
Thursdays:  5–8:00 pm PT Make-up Days (save, in case of weather)
October 9, 2024 February 13, 2025 February 20, 2025
November 7, 2024 March 20, 2025 May 29, 2025
November 21, 2024 April 24, 2025
December 19, 2024 May 15, 2025
January 23, 2025 June 5, 2025
A group photo of teenagers in front of a fire at our Bay Area Jewish teen leadership

Pillars of the Program

Mental Health & Wellbeing

  • Increase self-awareness and self esteem
  • Gain coping skills with failures, anxiety, and depression
  • Learn to receive support from peers

Jewish Connection

  • Discover and explore relationship to Jewish identity
  • Experience Jewish life through ritual, study, and Jewish peer community building
  • Learn about Hebrew calendar cycles and Torah stories


  • Experience challenges that facilitate growth and learning with guided mentorship 
  • Strengthen decision making, communication, and conflict resolution skills
  • Learn to build and lead peer community

Stewardship & Purpose

  • Gain greater sense of purpose and service
  • Deepen connection to nature and practice of environmental care
  • Take time to pause and reflect on personal life goals

Inclusive Community:

  • Embrace differing views to grow healthy, compassionate relationships.
  • Engage with other teens who identify as Jews, different religious affiliations, and/or those whose Jewish identity feels complicated.
  • Connect with a diverse cohort of teens that welcomes interfaith families, gender expansive youth, teens who identify as LGBTQ+, and people of color.

How To Apply

Program Fees & Deadlines:

  • Regular Fee: $3780
  • Refer-a-Friend: $3,650 ($100 discount)

Registration Timeline

  • Parents begin the Application form
  • Teens fill out the Teen portion of the form (we encourage them to fill this out on their own)
  • Parents will receive an email to confirm receipt of the application. Applications will then be reviewed.
  • 1-2 weeks after application is submitted, check your email for follow up communication and an invitation to complete the registration process.
  • Complete the registration form.
  • Submit payment

Payment is required with registration. 

Participants will receive more information about location and logistics upon registration. 

Limited scholarships are available. As part of the application process, you will have the chance to indicate your interest.


Ready To Apply?

Applications close on July 31, 2024



In recent years we’ve seen increasing danger of wildfires, partly due to climate change and a century of suppression of the natural fire ecology of California. We will be monitoring wildfires and smoke closely, changing the area we will be traveling through if needed, and rescheduling in the rare case that no area is safe for us to travel.

All food served by Wilderness Torah is kosher, except for a few small exceptions. In making its food choices, Wilderness Torah prepares food according to the highest ethical standards, including kosher, local, organic, seasonal, humane, and socially just. Wilderness Torah prioritizes sourcing fresh, unprocessed foods, and when choosing processed or packaged foods, aims to purchase certified kosher foods. Wilderness Torah may at times prioritize certain values, such as local or organic, over kosher-certified. When such a choice is warranted, we will share such decisions openly, and a kosher option will be available. Example: We purchased local, homemade, organic bagels that were not kosher but we had kosher bread choices available.

For other refund related questions, please see our cancellation policy.

Questions? Email

This program is supported by the Covenant Foundation