Discover your inner wizard with Harry Potter at Universal Studios. Try unique soda flavors at The World of Coca-Cola. Fall in love with America’s favorite pastime at Fenway Park. Experience the magnitude of Niagara Falls and the Great Smoky Mountains. Relax beneath the breezy Savannah trees. Sled down the sands of Jockey’s Ridge.
🚕 Airport Pick-up and Drop-off
🚌 Land Transportation on the USY Bus
🍦 Kosher Meals & Snacks
🎫 Programming & Entry Fees
🧺 Laundry Services
USY on Wheels: East is USY Summer Experience’s premiere program for middle schoolers. Teens from across North America will gather in New Jersey for the summer of a lifetime, traveling up and down the Eastern Seaboard for 4 weeks. Learn what it means to be Jewish in diverse communities, build community, and make friends and memories that will last forever. USY on Wheels is an incredibly unique, meaningful, and fun way for you to spend your summer.
USY on Wheels: East is for Jewish teens in grades 7-8 who want to deepen their Jewish experience and identity. Participants celebrate Shabbat, find new an 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 road trips are on the road 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.
* Our plans for the summer are continuing and adapting to the new reality of Israel. All of our plans are subject to the authorization of security authorities in the US, Europe, and Israel. We have an impeccable safety record and work in close collaboration with international security authorities to ensure the safety of our participants. During the trip, our team will be in touch with the Jewish Agency on an hourly basis to assess risk and ensure safety.
It’s official – you’re a Wheelnik! Meet your 25 new best friends and depart for a road trip you’ll never forget.
Start the day at the beach before we head to the Pez Museum to see the world’s largest Pez Dispenser.
Daven shacharit in the oldest synagogue in the United States. Can you say Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg? After visiting this lake with the longest name in the world, you will be able to!
Take a ride on the freedom trail with a tour of Boston’s Revolutionary War historical sites.
Ride go-cart machines on old train tracks through the gorgeous natural beauty of upstate New York.
Have endless fun at the highly interactive Strong National Museum of Play! Then visit the description-defying Niagara Falls and take a ride on the Maid of the Mist boat tour.
Sweet tooth lovers rejoice: visit the largest candy store in America on the drive into Cleveland! Then we’ll visit the Cleveland Zoo, which contains one of the largest indoor rainforest exhibits in the world.
Experience pure happiness with a tour of the World of Coca-Cola and sample soft drink flavors from around the world. We’ll visit the BeltLine neighborhood, a beacon of environmental sustainability and urban revitalization.
Sample delicious Florida peaches at a historic orchard and visit a funny park full of tiny bridge replicas.
Visit the magical Disney Springs entertainment neighborhood, stretch out with baby goat yoga, and refresh with icy-cold butterbeers at Universal Studios theme park.
One of the most popular destinations on our itinerary, Tybee Island Beach is a must-visit!
Cool off with an exhilarating trip to Whirlin’ Waters Waterpark. We’ll stop by the oldest continuously-used synagogue in the United States and explore their museum of the history of Jews in the American South.
Jump around! Burn off some energy at Rockin’ Jump trampoline park. Then participate in tikkun olam at Backpack Beginnings nonprofit.
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.
There will typically be 30-45 participants on USY on Wheels East. We only run one bus for East – participation is first-come-first-served, so we recommend registering ASAP so that you don’t get closed out!
USY on Wheels East is 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 three hours of volunteer work. Past projects on Wheels buses 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.
We would be happy to answer any and all of your questions! Please send us an email at [email protected] and we will get back to you shortly.
USY on Wheels programs are open to teens in grades 7-11 at the time of registration. Students in 7th and 8th grades (at time of registration) are ONLY eligible for Wheels East.