It was a Challenge Tour blast from the past on Sunday as participants and carers from all of Maccabi GB’s Israel Challenge Tours reunited in Totteridge Village Hall for the ‘Israel Challenge Tour Reunion Disco’, and a look back at the last 11 years. The Challenge Tour is part of Maccabi GB’s ‘Ability Not Disability’ Programme, aimed at providing more active pursuits for people in the Community with physical or learning disabilities. The Tour takes participants to Israel, many for the first time, in a two week trip where they get to see the historic sites and to literally challenge themselves.
The evening brought together the likes of Gary Jelen MBE, renowned weightlifter and one of the first ever Challenge Tour participants from 2002, with Michael Grant who went on his maiden Challenge Israel Tour in 2012.
In total, 35 participants and 14 carers came together for the party. For some of those in attendance it was a rare chance for them to take part in a social event, as they usually have very little opportunity to meet, mingle and socialise with other people their own age.
Speaking about what it meant for his son to attend the ‘Israel Challenge Tour Reunion Disco’, Geoffrey Grant said, “Tonight was so much fun and you could see that Michael really enjoyed himself. I am so glad he got to go on Maccabi GB’s Israel Challenge Tour last year as it was the first time he had ever been to Israel and he hasn’t stopped talking about it since! My wife and I are really pleased he has found something like this in his life and we want to thanks Maccabi GB for giving this opportunity to us and to Michael.”
Events Manager for Maccabi GB, Elizabeth Fishel, added, “It was fantastic seeing all these people come together for a night of fun and to reminisce about their Challenge Tour experiences. We have had people stay in touch for 11 years, which is such a great achievement and shows how much this means to them and to their families. People in the Community with physical or learning disabilities often don’t get to attend events such as this, specifically aimed at them, so Maccabi GB are delighted to help them do just that. We can’t wait for the next one!”
Stuart and Aviva Greenberg, who have organised the last 11 tours, were sadly unable to attend the event but had the following to say to those in attendance, "We have led 11 Challenge trips and we have thoroughly enjoyed each one. In particular, we enjoyed meeting and getting to know each and every participant and carer. For us, it was seeing the smiles on your faces that, in turn, lit up our lives - so really, it is us that should be thanking you all for giving us such a wonderful experience. You have all been an inspiration to us and all our family."
For further details on future Maccabi GB Challenge Tours call 0208 457 2333.