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Madrichim: Guiding Freshmen to Become Their Best Selves


The vast majority of the Emery/Weiner community joyfully recalls their freshman experience to Big Bend National Park and the madrichim who accompanied them. However, for the class of 2024, COVID-19 interrupted this quintessential Emery trip. 

Last year, as juniors, the current senior class finally had the chance to unite as a grade at Big Bend, inspiring many of them to take on the challenge of being a Madrichim the next year. The role of a Madrichim (Hebrew for “guides”) entails guiding the freshman through their impactful bonding adventures. Spending a week hiking through the rough terrain and spending treacherous nights invites the freshmen to create a special bond between themselves. However, this trip impacts not only the freshmen but also the Madrichim who accompany them. Senior Madrichim, Jeremy Weinstein-Sears, states, “[He] will never forget that feeling of accomplishment making it to the top of mountains, down rivers, or the ends of long bus rides” and the moments in which [they] motivated each other.”

Prior to the Big Bend trip, the Madrichim studied various leadership practices and reasonings behind human development at certain times in their lives, with the most prominent time they studied being the transition from middle school to high school. This is a difficult time to navigate, so having role models like the Madrichim to guide the freshmen throughout their trip is vital. However, Weinstein-Sears states, “The impacts of the trip will show up more over the next few months as they start to mature.” This is from the freshman’s emotional change during and after this trip, from creating new experiences and meeting new friends. 

With their eighth grade and freshman year being struck by COVID-19, the Class of 2024 will never know what their freshman Big Bend trip would’ve looked like, but the Madrichim provided long-lasting friendships and memories for the Class of 2027, which none of them will ever forget.

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