By Rebecca Wycoff, Bus 8 Participant
For four days, a couple of my friends and I spent time on an IDF army base. The chavaya (or ‘choose your own experience’) that we chose was Gadna, an army experience designed for Israeli high schoolers. Gadna allows you get a sneak peak into what Israelis do in the army. Going into Gadna I had no idea about what was to come. I was very nervous, but excited at the same time. Gadna started as soon as we stepped off of the bus. We were told to put our stuff down immediately and get into lines. The first day was a little stressful considering that people were barking orders at us, not to mention that they were given mostly in Hebrew. The next morning, my group had kitchen duty and surprisingly it was a lot of fun. During the second day I started to get the hang of the different things we were told to do and say. By the third day of Gadna, I was really enjoying myself. In the morning, we went to a shooting range and everyone got to carefully shoot an M-16, after our many lessons from the days before. Being able to try this for myself, showed me the responsibility of a soldier, and how much power you actually have when you hold a gun. Later that day, we went into the field and had training, which was a lot of fun. We put mud on our faces as camouflage, and played a big game of hide and go seek. We also learned different ways of walking and crawling in the field. That night we slept outside, and woke up early in the morning for a hike which was in honor of a fallen soldier. That day we had our closing ceremony, and soon it was time to leave and join the rest of the group again. Overall, this experience was extremely important to me. The running and pushups might have been annoying, but it was all worth it in the end. Now I understand how much the IDF does, and I was only there for four days. I am so happy I did Gadna, even with the craziness that came with it.