From December 12–14, nine juniors and three adult leaders participated in a three-day leadership training through Trekkers, a non-profit, outdoor-based mentoring program that connects young people with caring adults. Held at the Kieve-Wavus Leadership School in Nobleboro, the training weekend was the starting point for Trekkers’ two-year Leadership Program. This program provides experiential learning, teaches lessons in leadership and offers older Trekkers the opportunity to mentor younger Trekkers students.
Trekkers’ Leadership Program now offers two training weekends to 11th grade students, followed by two additional training weekends after the students progress to the 12th grade. Each subsequent session in the two-year progression builds upon the topics and skills from the previous training. The weekend retreats focus on a particular theme that is addressed through group discussion, reflection, games, journaling and team-building activities.
The goals of the December weekend were to introduce the qualities of an effective leader, different group dynamics, leadership styles, and to understand more about what it means to be a leader on a Trekkers expedition. The weekend was filled with a variety of leadership initiatives, group discussions, consensus decision making, and journaling/reflection. The highlight of the program was when the group took part in a low-ropes course on Saturday afternoon. They were faced with many obstacles and had to find a way to bring the entire group safely through the course without touching the ground.
Trekkers’ Leadership Program is led by Executive Director, Don Carpenter, who says, “As these 11th graders completed the first session of the Leadership Program, it was exciting to see them begin to understand the complexities of facilitating group activities and dealing with various group dynamics. Through this program, the students will be able to build a foundation of skills that will carry them into their future roles as community leaders.”
Students participating in this program will put their new skills to use when they volunteer as student leaders during Trekkers expeditions next year. The educational expeditions range from three to 14 days in length, and provide many ways for student leaders to act as role models, mediators and peer mentors for younger Trekkers. The second Leadership Training session for this 11th grade group will take place in March.
The expanded Leadership Program is part of the growing organization’s plan to build leadership skills and increase the number of student leaders in the years to come. Historically, 46% of Trekkers students participate in the Leadership Program and become peer mentors for the younger students. For more about Trekkers or the expanded Leadership Program, contact the Trekkers office at 594-5095.