Trekkers recently completed its 10th year of Big Trek/Little Trek peer mentoring programming. The six-week program connects high school mentors from Oceanside High School with 3rd and 4th grade elementary school students from St. George School in Tenants Harbor and Lura Libby School in Thomaston for weekly afterschool activities.
The Big Trek/Little Trek afterschool program builds supportive, positive relationships and friendships between high school students and elementary school students, outside their regular school environment. It fosters personal growth and builds communication and leadership skills through interpersonal relationships. The program works in collaboration with the elementary schools’ guidance departments and creates a healthy, safe environment for afterschool play through group activities, teambuilding exercises, sports, playground games, arts and crafts and one-on-one mentoring time.
Over 151 volunteer hours were dedicated to this program in the past year by the high school “Big Treks.” The spring and fall sessions of the program had 11 and 12 Big/Little matches respectively between the two elementary schools. The “Bigs” were a mix of Trekkers and non-Trekkers students from the 9th through 12th grade.
Speaking about this year’s sessions, Trekkers’ Program Manager Hannah Tannebring said, “My favorite part each week was seeing the ‘Littles’ faces light up as they quickly shuffled over to sit in the open seat next to their ‘Big,’ and feeling the enthusiasm from everyone in the room. I have felt so lucky to spend such quality time with the ‘Bigs’ as they become more confident in their role as a mentor, and watched as they connected more and more each week with a young person they have developed so much care for.”
“It is so rewarding knowing that there is somebody that looks forward to spending time with you every week, and that makes me look forward to each session. I think the ‘Littles’ get someone to look up to, and it feels good being that person. They have fun with everyone, and get a role model,” said Trevor Grant, a sophomore at Oceanside High School, who was a first time ‘Big’ participant in this year’s program.
To learn more about this program, or to find out more about becoming a mentor for future Big Trek/Little Trek sessions, visit www.trekkers.org or call Hannah Tannebring at the Trekkers office at 594-5095.