Outdoor Club flourishes during pandemic


Photo courtesy of Jacob Svoysky

Outdoor Club members hike along the Appalachian Trail,

Ari Blumenthal, Guest Writer

After a long week of Zoom classes, senior and co-president of the CESJDS Outdoors Club Jacob Svoysky stands on a cliff overlooking the beautiful farmland scenery at the end of the trail he hiked with his club.

The Outdoors Club was started around January of last year by Svoysky and senior Jack Weitzner. Although the club was started before the outbreak of COVID-19, it turned out to be the perfect club during the COVID-19 pandemic because the club only meets outdoors and its members are able to stay socially distant.

“We had this idea that, ‘Hey, we should start this club.’ It was sort of a sense that it would be great to be doing something like that right now instead of whatever other people do, going to another restaurant, seeing another movie [or] having another party, and so that’s where the idea came from,” Weitzner said.

Weitzner and Svoysky, who are both big hikers, initially started this club as a unique way for students to interact with one another while still being connected to JDS.

“I think for me is that [the Outdoors Club] allows me to see people outside of the computer and outside of FaceTime and interact, which is something we’ve obviously really been lacking just around now,” Weitzner said.

For many students, the club provides a great opportunity to take a break from schoolwork and stress.

“Being able to go on hikes on the weekend puts me in a better mood, and calms me down and helps me to distress which is really helpful while doing school work,” Svoysky said.

The club has already been on two trips this year that were widely enjoyed by its members.

“This past Sunday, we did a very nice hike to High Rock which is on the Pennsylvania-Maryland border which was about a three-hour hike,” club advisor and Jewish text teacher Paul Blank said.

Blank, who was the advisor of a similar nature club many years ago, said that the club is a great opportunity for members to learn hiking, planning, and logistics skills, but its primary focus is still enjoyment

“We don’t say that coming to the club will make you a person who knows how to take care of themselves outside. We say that we are the Outdoors Club; Come here, be outside and we’re going to take you on this journey together, and it’s going to be fun,” Weitzner said.