Indoorsy Guy Takes On Outdoors at Xtreme

4 years ago Leighest 0

By Benjamin Peretz

During the time leading up to CTeen Xtreme of 2015, I was apprehensive about the trip. I was, and still am, to a degree, wholly uninterested in most outdoor activities. My focus, then, in pursuing CTeen Xtreme, was purely on because of CTeen, with no acknowledgement of the Xtreme. I have been involved with CTeen for some time, and having had the opportunity to attend the international Shabbaton this past year, I was fully acquainted with the sheer intensity of the ruach which this organization can create.

The instant I met the rest of the group at Denver International Airport, I knew that I had made the correct decision. The staff were all fantastic as were all other members of the program, each with a unique background. I came to establish meaningful connections with many of the other teens by the end of the trip. For about four hours we waited for everyone to arrive at the terminal, engaging in various activities such as singing and push up contests. Everybody else stared at us – and it was great.

Towards the end of the first week, we travelled to Sand Hollow Reservoir in Utah, where we would camp overnight. Arguably the most “Xtreme” part of the trip, it was also the one which placed me the furthest from my comfort zone. Regardless, I was with my friends. As soon as we arrived, we immediately began to prepare our tents and sleeping bags. After some brief discussion and dinner, some people went to bed, myself included. However, I woke up some time later and stayed up with the rest of the group, who had opted not to sleep. The rest of the night consisted of soda, conversation, and looking out for coyotes—we didn’t find any. Then came the next day, which consisted of tubing and UTV riding. We were all exhausted by the end of the day, and happy to be back on the air conditioned bus, but we had a blast!
Although it is true that I didn’t particularly care for the physical aspect of our escapades in the desert, this was immensely overshadowed by the other amazing experiences included in the trip, and by the amazing CTeeners with whom I was able to share these experiences. Together we hiked through mountains, camped in the middle of nowhere, and even took over a restaurant. Twice. Because so much was going on, both spiritually and physically, each day felt like a week, and the entire two weeks a lifetime.

By the “Grand Farewell Banquet” at Chabad of Brentwood, we were essentially brothers. We filled our environment with ourselves, to the point at which it overflowed with emotion. After the meal, people were rushing to exchange contact information, discuss future plans, and hug every one of their newfound friends. That Sunday really brought the entire trip together, evoking immense sadness at the thought of leaving each other.

Just as swiftly as it began, CTeen Xtreme came to a close. People left one by one, until at last it was my turn to leave. It will never truly be over, however, as there are lasting effects upon my soul. The following day, my first thoughts upon waking up were to say Modeh Ani, to donn a kippah, to wrap tefillin. Ultimately, CTeen Xtreme has amounted to an amazing adventure which I would exchange for nothing, and I can’t wait to see everyone again next year!