Program definition: to excel, to go beyond: to exceed my own expectations of what I can be and do.

Our Excel program brings back carefully selected youth to the HOP summer experience for a second time, in a new and enhanced role. They are chosen for their commitment to the program and understanding of its principles, as well as their capacity and potential to model positive change.

Through their commitment to excel, XLs work as a team to set a positive example. They provide peer support, inspiration, and kinship to the Hands (new participants), while organizing daily activities and facilitating discussion groups.

While Hands are in daily dialogue groups, the XLs have their own intense dialogues. Under the tutelage of experienced facilitators, they embark on exploration of their motivation, thinking, and learning processes, and potential as future persons of influence and achievement. They discuss and discover how they may positively impact the challenges of their home environments. They often leave the program with new motivation, understanding, and commitment to become involved in building understanding and relationships across boundaries. In short, they learn to excel!

HOP is a true life changing experience. People that you wouldn’t even think would understand you or even listen to you will do the unexpected. HOP is not a program—it’s the ideal world for two weeks. – Rawy, Palestinian Citizen of Israel XL

HOP is an amazing program that gives you a lifetime opportunity to talk to people that you have never thought you would get to talk to. HOP also gives you the opportunity to disconnect yourself from the hard reality of the conflict and talk about it in a safe environment. – Noam, Jewish Israeli XL

HOP gave me the feeling that people really care. What I’ve learned is that when I talk I should not try to convince people, I should try to say what I feel, and I should try to understand. – Mohanad, Palestinian XL

HOP really changed my perspective on the conflict in the Middle East and taught me to believe that peace is possible. Staying involved in the alumni club continues to open my eyes (and my heart) to the work that needs to be done.  – Seth, American XL