Thirteen 10th graders and six adult leaders completed a 12-day Cross-America Trekkers expedition on August 7th. As part of Team Patagonia with Trekkers, a youth-mentoring organization that connects young people and caring adults through expeditionary learning, the group traveled throughout Utah and Colorado, exploring the region’s environmental and cultural uniqueness.
To qualify for this expedition, the students were first required to complete a four-week prerequisite Life Skills Course in the spring. Led by Program Manager Hannah Tannebring, the students learned about resume-writing, interview etiquette, appropriate interview attire, and how to present themselves professionally to others. Each student created a resume to share with their interviewers. They dressed professionally and traveled to an area business where they participated in a 20-minute mock interview as if they were applying for employment there. This year, professionals from Camden National Bank, The First, Glen Cove Dental Associates, Trekkers, and Lonza Rockland hosted mock interviews for the Trekkers 10th grade students at their workplaces.
In addition to completing the Life Skills Course, the students also met collectively throughout the school year to plan their expedition around five educational components: community service, cultural awareness, environmental stewardship, wilderness exploration and adventure-based education. To incorporate these components, Team Patagonia took part in a work trade for a family building a community Earth Ship; went ziplining on nine different zips at Royal Gorge in Colorado; took part in a cultural exchange with Native Americans at the Cortez Cultural Center, where they hosted Native American dance, music and commentary; explored the Balcony House Cliff Dwellings at Mesa Verde, learning about life of the Anasazi; hiked to Independence Pass at the Continental Divide at dawn; and visited Leadville, a historical mining town. Their community service project was volunteering at Canyonlands Care Center, spending time talking and playing games with elderly men and women who live in the facility.
The Cross-America program is designed to give students the opportunity to explore firsthand the cultural and environmental uniqueness of a particular U.S. bio-region. To experience the area’s uniqueness, Team Patagonia students and their mentors hiked and explored Arches National Park, Mesa Verde National Park, and Great Sand Dunes National Park.
As one student shared, “[My favorite part of the expedition] was circling after each day and opening up to the whole loving group, and reflecting on our adventures.” Another student reflected by saying, “[The most educational part of the expedition] was during the circles, I realized that everybody has obstacles in their lives.”
To see more pictures or read the trip log from the expedition, please visit www.trekkers.org and following the links to the 10th Grade Cross America Trekkers page. You can also view more photos by visiting Trekkers’ Facebook page: www.facebook.com/trekkersonline. If you’d like to learn more about Trekkers, please call (207) 594-5095.