Way back when, it took me a few tries until I found the right Yeshiva for me (but I did). The selection available today to young people today just wasn't around back then.
What I did learn is that not everyone fits into the "misgeret" of the standard yeshiva or yeshiva program. I certainly didn't (and I wasn't a troublemaker - just doing my own thing).
In recent years the concept of the Mechina program has really taken off.
Mechina is essentially an “academy” where post-high school yeshiva guys can sit and learn for a year, while simultaneously preparing themselves to be officers and leaders in the IDF, particularly in special units.
Besides Torah studies, the year includes physical training, leadership training, advanced academic studies, army/outdoors skills, and more.
And it’s a fact, guys who graduate from these academies tend to go on to be officers in the army in special units.
A few years ago, some graduates of this system got together and created a yeshiva based on the Mechina model specifically for post-high school Americans (and other English speakers).
They called it the “Leadership Yeshiva Acadamy” or LYA.
Located up North in Hispin (in fact, Torah studies are partially integrated with the Israelis in the Hispin Hesder Yeshiva), it is a one of a kind program.
Their goal is to help young men develop their Jewish leadership (and personal) potential.
Students are not expected to go join the army (though some do). Rather they are completing the program with the life skills to be leaders in their communities (wherever they end up choosing to live).
Unlike most yeshivas which only have a few trips or hikes over the year, a significant portion of the students time at LYA involves hiking, bike trips, learning about Israel by visiting on-site, navigation courses, a "gibush", a "masa alunkot", volunteering, and so on.
LYA offers college transferable credits for courses in Political Science and Israeli Archeology.
If you or your son loves Israel, wants to learn Torah, but also needs (or wants) a more active, physical, interactive environment, and wants to develop skills not normally associated with the standard sit-in-the–beis-medrash all day program, then Leadership Yeshiva Academy should be on your short list.
They have a very comprehensive and interesting website (I like the talking rabbi) with a number of interesting videos.
LYA is accepting application right now - so go apply right now.
Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael טובה הארץ מאד מאד