Dotan Shabtay, the center’s director, earned his bachelor’s degree in Ancient Israel Studies.
He is a certified T.E.A.M and PIVOT practitioner and a facilitator for groups of youth at-risk.
A tour guide and an expedition’s instructor, Dotan also holds certification from the Ministry of Education and the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel.

Miri Golan is the center’s head of training; a group facilitator and a sex educator for children and youth, Miri holds an MSW (Master of Social Work).

Shvilim activities are carried out through two chapters:

The Gilboa Chapter

Established in 2013, the Gilboa chapter is active among 9 schools, and 30 towns and settlements.

Shachar Merzel, the regional manager, holds an undergraduate degree in Geography and Israel Studies, and he is also a certified tour guide.
Shachar brings extensive experience in instructing children and youth, also in pre-military academies.

The Mate Asher Chapter

Established in 2015, the Mate Asher chapter is active among two schools, and 20 towns and settlements.

Liat Shcefferman, the regional manager, is a group facilitator and a therapist in the expressive arts. Liat is also a couples and family therapist and holds a teaching certificate with many years’ experience from the Ministry of Education.

Common questions

What we offer?
  1. Non-formal education activities for groups of children and youth in communities, towns, and villages.
  2. Experiential and empowering group and individual sessions for children, youth, and adults in nature.
  3. Professional work with teachers and educational staff in schools.
  4. Host for workshops on various educational, spiritual, and philosophical topics
  5. Wilderness expeditions - going out to nature; triggering change in the inner space
Who is it for?
The Shvilim Center programs develop skills and abilities on two levels: The group level Learning social skills, and belonging to a group enhances self-awareness to behavior. Shvilim Center’s activities cultivate confidence, positive self-perception, and empower growth groups that meet weekly or biweekly. In the meetings, the group addresses a challenge; the instructor will give the group a task (can be physical, mental, or emotional), or tell a story. In the second part of the session, the group discusses and shares feelings, emotions, and thoughts. Every task or story teaches about dynamics in the group whereas dealing with and overcoming challenges foster leadership, support group decision-making processes, as well as team and trust building. Radiating understanding and empathy, helping participants process the experience instructors reflect and provide positive reinforcement at the right time and amount. Both parts of the session are carefully and attentively mediated allowing for choice and creation. The personal level Children with social and emotional difficulties often live with a sense of failure that hampers their self-esteem. These children tend to be more sensitive than others and are likely to reject outright any idea of taking on a challenge or trying something out. First and foremost, these children need a place in which they can express themselves, experience, and strengthen without fear of what people will think or say. Shvilim Center tailors a personal nature-based therapy and coaching plan for each child. During a series of sessions, we get to know each other and build trust. Slowly but surely, step-by-step, children get the opportunity to lead as they understand, time and again, that success is possible. Results are surprisingly fast; inspiring the children and filling them with pride. Experiencing success infuses courage and motivates them to dare also in social settings that involve other children.
We believe
We believe in an educational process that is instructional and impactful; a process that not only directs and builds but also provides the space required for personal growth. Our role is to reflect and mediate situations and circumstances; to shed light on certain aspects, to expand the experience and nurture the creation of insight and understanding towards oneself and peers. To offer alternatives for organizing young adults’ emotions and thoughts in a way that supports awareness and choice of behavior. As educators, our role isn’t necessarily to provide answers or solutions but rather let the children grapple with the problem or question as they try to find solutions and answers themselves. Dealing with challenges, children develop problem-solving skills, qualities like restraint, flexibility, and attentiveness, as well as communication and negotiations competencies, and the ability to reach common understanding and agreement.

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