USY on Wheels – Classic is USY Summer Experience’s flagship program. Teens from across North America will gather in New Jersey for the journey of a lifetime – traveling from coast-to-coast for six and a half weeks, learning about what it means to live Jewishly across the United States, building community, and making friends and memories that will last forever. From riding a roller coaster in Disneyland, to discovering the beauty of Yellowstone National Park, to creating artistic masterpieces at Cadillac Ranch – USY on Wheels is an incredibly unique, meaningful, and fun way for you to spend your summer.
🚕 Airport Pick-up and Drop-off
🚌 Land Transportation on the USY Bus
🍦 Kosher Meals & Snacks
🎫 Programming & Entry Fees
🧺 Laundry Services
USY on Wheels: Classic Summer Experience’s flagships program. Teens from across North America will gather in New Jersey for the journey of a lifetime- traveling from cost to coast (and back again!) for six and a half weeks, learning about what it means to live Jewishly across the United States, building community, and making friends ad memories that will last forever. From riding a roller coaster at Disneyland, to discovering the beauty of Yellowstone National Park, to creating artistic masterpieces at Cadillac Ranch- USY on wheels is an incredibly unique, meaningful, and fun way for you to spend your summer.
USY on Wheels: Classic is for Jewish teens from grades 9-11 who want to deepen their Jewish experience and identity. 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.
Each participant will be gifted a travel-size siddur on the first day of the program. Every day, participants gather for morning prayer services in the Conservative Judaism movement tradition. Optional minyans are offered for Mincha (afternoon) and Maariv (evening) services daily. Friday night Kabbalat Shabbat is a ruach (spirit) filled affair with singing and dancing! Each Shabbat morning, the teens co-lead Torah services as a group, building confidence for a lifetime of leading services.
Everyone knows the best parts of the raod trips are on the raod between destinations! Not just a mode of transportation, activities on the Wheels bus include Tefillah Goals (ritual skills), dance parties, educational programming, Tikkun Olam projects like writing postcards to senior citizens or packing care bags for veterans, games, singing, and so much more.
Please note, this is subject to change due to extenuating circumstances.
Gather with 35-40 of your new best friends to head out on our road trip adventure!
Have you ever heard a cow sing? You will during our visit to Hershey’s Chocolate World!
Calling all music lovers! Walk the steps of rock giants at Cleveland’s famous pyramid-shaped Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. No trip to Cleveland is complete without a trip to Mitchell’s kosher ice cream parlor!
Pop the hood on history with a tour of the iconic Ford Rouge Factory, where the age of automotives began. Top off the day with a taste of Detroit’s famous “water ice,” a fruity frozen treat.
Fulfill every baseball fan’s dream of touring Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs. Have fun in the sun at Navy Pier – and then stop by Millenium Park for a can’t-miss photo with The Bean. Then, spend your first Shabbat of the summer in the Windy City, with teen-led Torah services and spiritual conversations led by staff facilitators.
Eat, play, and shop til you drop at Mall of America! Containing an indoor theme park complete with roller coasters as well as 500+ stores, this is the largest entertainment complex in America. Then decompress with nature at Minnehaha Falls, a gorgeous waterfall park nestled between city neighborhoods.
After a restful overnight in Aberdeen, head to Badlands National Park and conquer your climbing goals! Don’t miss iconic Native American historic points along our route.
Come face-to-face with history with a visit to the iconic Mount Rushmore National Memorial.
Soak up breathtaking views and visit a real rodeo.
Explore Buffalo Bill’s Dam and Mammoth Hot Springs to see gorgeous volcanic-formed nature.
Drive the iconic Golden Gate Bridge and explore the famous Pier 39 – will you spot the seals under the pier?
Sweets lovers, rejoice! Visit the Jelly Belly Factory and the Ghiradelli Square.
Go to the happiest place on earth: DISNEYLAND! We’ll start out with Disney-themed davening with Ziegler rabbinic students before spending the day at the theme park. During our days in Los Angeles, we’ll also visit the Hollywood sign, go on the Warner Brothers Studio Tour, walk on Santa Monica Pier, do some tikkun olam projects, and play on the beach.
Sing a new tune at Musical Instrument Museum, the world’s largest music-related museum.
Create memories that will stay with you for a lifetime when you daven sunrise Shacharit and Torah services at the rim of the Grand Canyon.
Star in your own GIFs at Electric Playhouse, a virtual, interactive experience with games and photo-op backgrounds.
Channel your inner graffiti artist at Cadillac Ranch, an interactive art installation.
Take a quick detour into a new state and visit the Oklahoma City National Museum and Memorial.
Experience several tikkun olam projects and take a private tour of the Dallas Cowboys Stadium.
Practice reading Torah from the Space Torah, the first Torah to go to space.
Watch out for gators with a Cajun Pride Swamp Tour! Then check out the unique Mardi Gras World to get an inside look at how parade floats are made.
Walk in the steps of MLK Jr. and Heschel with an inside tour of the Civil Rights Experience, a brand-new project by Temple Beth El.
Pay your respects to Martin Luther King, Jr.’s final resting place. Then experience pure happiness with a tour of Coca-Cola World and sample flavors from around the globe.
Do you have what it takes to be on a NASCAR pit crew? Find out at the NASCAR Hall of Fame!
Deepen your Jewish education with a private tour of the National Holocaust Memorial Museum. Experience cuteness overload with the Smithsonian National Zoo. Sneak your way through the International Spy Museum. And visit a collection of our nation’s foremost monuments.
Run the Rocky steps, get an up close look at the Liberty Bell, and spend one last day touring with your new best friends!
Filled with memories that will last a lifetime, depart to go home.
Since 1960, USY has taken thousands 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.
USY on Wheels Classic buses typically have about 35-45 participants.
USY on Wheels Classic/East buses are supervised by 5 staff members. All staff members are qualified university student leaders, advisors, youth directors, teachers, and rabbinical students.
Each bus is in daily contact with the Central USY office and the Director of Teen Travel and International Engagement, who is on call 24 hours a day. All USY Summer Experience staff participate in an intensive training seminar prior to the trips, including becoming certified in CPR/First Aid and Youth Mental Health First Aid.
Teens travel on a fully equipped motor coach, driven by a professional who remains with each bus for the duration of the trip.
Three full meals and numerous snacks are provided each day. All the food is kosher and supplied by kosher caterers throughout North America.
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.
Previously, teens had the opportunity to participate in a Home Hospitality program, during which teens would stay at local USCJ congregants’ homes in a number of communities throughout North America. While we will still visit various congregations across North America, our Home Hospitality program is currently suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Social action and community service projects are an important component of USY on Wheels. During the course of the summer, teens participate in at least six hours of volunteer work. Past projects have included:
Of course! This is probably our most commonly-asked question. Our staff are fully aware that while some participants sign up for our programs with friends, many register not knowing any other teens. It is a top priority of our staff to create an environment in which all teens can thrive, no matter if they are coming into the summer alone or with others. We would also be happy to try to connect you with other registered participants in your area if you would like to meet people beforehand.
We believe every teen deserves the opportunity to participate in USY summer travel regardless of financial restrictions. Please visit our Ways to Save page to learn about various venues for scholarship, including through USY.
If your child will be participating in USY on Wheels as their first-ever immersive Jewish overnight summer experience, they may be eligible to receive up to a $1,000 One Happy Camper grant. Refer to the program website for more information regarding eligibility requirements and grant availability.