Every year hundreds of women gather together for the most exciting women’s event of the year – a swim across the Kinneret in support of Sadnat Shiluv, a special education program in Gush Etzion. This empowering challenge is such an awesome experience that women keep coming back each year. Some women are planning to take this challenge on for the fifth time this year!

To find out what makes Swim4Sadna so special, I went “out into the field” and asked the participants themselves. Here are their five top reasons to participate in this one-of-a-kind swim:

1. Push yourself to the limit

Me? Swim across the entire Kinneret? It sounds daunting, but Swim4Sadna is set up so that even if you are a bit out of shape, you can cross the entire lake. There’s nothing like the feeling of accomplishment that comes with rising to a challenge. After an invigorating and challenging swim, you won’t be able to stop smiling. Laura Ben David of LBD Creative had a unique view of the swim from behind the lens of a camera. Here’s how she describes it: “The smiles, the camaraderie, the satisfaction and feeling of accomplishment – you could see it on everyone’s faces when they arrived, when they were swimming, and when they made their way out of the water at the finish line and joined up with all the other happy swimmers.”

2. Appreciate the beauty of Israel while you are doing it

There’s nothing more inspiring than floating on your back and enjoying this beautiful land that we are privileged to live in. From the Kinneret, you can see the beautiful mountains of northern Israel, the urban landscape of the city of Tiberias and the greenery of the lakeshore. As Miriam Fuld says, “Swimming in the Kinneret, sun beginning to rise above, Galil mountains on one side, Golan on the other – Mah Rabu Maasecha Hashem.”

3. Empower and be empowered

Being a part of a large group of women supporting each other is one of the most powerful and intense adventures you’ll experience. As you swim, you’ll be overwhelmed by the cheering and clapping. Even better, you’ll have the opportunity to empower other women and girls as they challenge themselves. And you are offering your support to special needs girls who want nothing more than to be a part of things.

Tali Tarlow, CEO of Israel ScaVentures, says that empowerment was a big part of what made the experience so special: “Perhaps the most meaningful moment of my first Swim4Sadna was watching the students from Sadnat Shiluv Be’Emunah come up on stage at the end of the swim to receive their certificate of completion. I was moved that I was one of hundreds of women who came to support and empower these beautiful and special young people in their Kinneret swim challenge and to help build them a wonderful and warm home in Gush Etzion. It is a true privilege to be one of many participants spanning different ages and backgrounds, of all shapes and sizes, all of us representing our friends and families in order support Sadnat Shiluv Be’Emunah. I can’t wait to participate in this Swim4Sadna this year – and I’ve saved the date for 5 June 2015!”

4. Take advantage of a rare opportunity to be a part of women-only sports

Come join other women for an event that’s dedicated exclusively to you and your fitness. You’ll love the freedom of letting down your hair and getting some intense exercise in a supportive and non-competitive environment. Miriam Lottner, Co-Founder and CEO of zee.works, points out that “Swim4Sadna is a one of a kind opportunity to support inclusive, women only sports activities, raise money for an incredible charity, and experience the land of Israel in a novel way.” She adds, “2015 will be my 5th year swimming and I wouldn’t miss it for anything. Ladies, get your suits on and meet us at the beach!”

5. Support an important cause

Swim4Sadna is a fundraiser for Sadnat Shiluv, a special education program in Gush Etzion for students who did not integrate well in other special ed schools. Unique tailored programs, animal therapy and vocational training are all part of what make this program so special. What could be better than raising money for special needs children while having a whale of a time? According to Noa Choritz, “The entire experience was really incredible – from the dinner the night before, to the swim itself, to the most delicious tuna sandwich I ever ate afterwards! I participate in lots of sporting events, but the coming together of women for the same great cause is something special.”

This year, the annual Swim4Sadna is taking place on June 5. Here’s how you can get involved:

  • Register now to swim and start looking for sponsors to donate to this important cause.
  • Sponsor a swimmer or donate directly to Sadnat Shiluv.
  • Come cheer on the swimmers and get caught up in the excitement even if you don’t swim.

Whichever route you choose, there’s no question that Swim4Sadna will be an unforgettable experience!