Over two weekends in May, 28 7th-grade students, along with 26 adult and student mentors, explored Acadia National Park as part of the Teen Trekkers program. Trekkers, a youth-mentoring organization based in Thomaston, designed this expedition as a way to introduce 7th graders to new and sometimes challenging experiences alongside a group of caring adults and student leaders from their community.
In addition to camping for three days in Acadia, the students and adults learned outdoor skills and participated in several games, discussions and team-building activities. They hiked Cadillac Mountain with hiking guides from Atlantic Climbing School, canoed near Thomas Bay, rock-climbed the breathtaking ledges of Otter Cliffs and prepared meals together. To close each day, they shared stories by the campfire, discussing the highlights, struggles and successes from that day’s experiences.
“I really liked the trip. It gave me a chance to step back and realize what things in my life are important to me,” commented one 7th grade participant. Another student described their favorite aspect of the three-day expedition, saying, “It was amazing! I’ve never felt so cared for by people who barely know me. It makes me feel great. ”
This group of 7th grade students is the 21st class to complete the Teen Trekkers expedition. Trekkers was created in 1994 when a group of community members noticed a lack of relationships between teenagers and local adults. They developed the early Trekkers program, using outdoors activities as a way to build relationships. The program has now evolved into a six-year mentoring program for students in grades 7 through 12. For 7th graders, the Teen Trekkers program serves as their entry point to the six-year Trekkers experience. Now that this year’s class has completed the Acadia expedition, they will progress to the Advanced Trekkers 8th grade program next fall. Each year thereafter, until they graduate from high school, they will plan, design and implement a grade-specific educational expedition that will foster life skills, broaden their horizons, and help them build supportive relationships with caring adult mentors from the community.
Trekkers is a non-profit, outdoor-based mentoring program that connects young people with caring adults through expeditionary learning, community service and adventure-based education. Trekkers serves over 200 7th through 12th grade students from the six communities of RSU #13: Cushing, Owls Head, Rockland, South Thomaston, St. George and Thomaston. For more information about Trekkers, please contact the Trekkers office at 207-594-5095 or go to www.trekkers.org. To view photographs of each expedition, visit www.trekkers.org or www.facebook.com/trekkersonline.