Stu Rich, President
Tenants Harbor – Alumni parent, Community Member & PenBay Solutions
As a long time Trekker parent and volunteer, I have witnessed the change that the Trekkers program can make in people’s lives, both as students and as leaders. As a teenager, I was profoundly affected by participating in a similar program in my high school, and I am glad to have the opportunity now to give back as a member of the Trekkers Board. Professionally, I am the CTO of PenBay Solutions. Personally, I am the father of three awesome (now grown) kids in Tenants Harbor and the husband of a very patient and marvelous woman.
Ken Oelberger, Treasurer
St. George – Community Member/Retired Engineer
In addition to being a member of the Board, Ken is also a Trekkers volunteer. He completed his first expedition with the 7th graders at Acadia National Park in May 2011. A former design engineer/program manager with Raytheon, Ken spent the better part of his career developing and installing Air Traffic Control Systems. He and his wife, Dianne, are now retired and enjoying life from their home in St. George. Ken likes kayaking, sailing, hiking and cross country skiing. He is a member of the St. George Budget Committee and Conservation Commission.
Jan Letourneau, Secretary
Tenants Harbor – Alumni parent & Administrative Assistant, St. George School
I joined the Trekkers Board in 2002. I was raised in New York, and have a BA in Psychology from the University of New Hampshire. I worked with troubled adolescents before moving to Maine with my husband Alan in 1984. The “office lady” at St. George School since 1994, I enjoy connecting with St. George families, working on my family’s old Maine farmhouse, going on 7th grade Trekkers trips and spending time with family. My “dream” is to go on a longer Trekkers trip. My daughters, Kate and Carrie, participated in Trekkers, which gave me firsthand knowledge of how young lives benefit from the relationships and experiences provided by their programs. I am a firm believer in giving young people the opportunity to discover new physical and emotional landscapes in the company of caring peers and mentors.
Rockland – Executive Director, Youth Forum Maine, Inc. & Co-Founder of Trekkers
I was on the founding Trekkers Board of three members at its infancy in 1999-2000, serving as President, and have continued to be a member to the present. It’s been a great ride as we’ve watched this project blossom! In 1994, I was lucky enough to be one of four male volunteers that took five boys on the first Trekkers trip for five days of canoeing on the Moose River Bow. With the exception of 2002 when I was on leave with a study grant, I haven’t missed a 7th grade trip.
While Trekkers was still under Youth Forum Maine (the organization I direct), my name, along with one other person from YFM board, was on the loan that bought Bessie, the famous Trekkers bus! That was an exciting adventure. What a privilege I’ve had in sharing that bus with students on dozens of expeditions over the years. I cherish the relationships built over the years. Married to Judith, we have a biracial family with four grown children and six grandchildren. I have a bachelor’s degree in sociology and a masters degree in theology.
Tenants Harbor – Community Member
Joe Higdon retired in St. George in 2006 following a long career as an investment analyst with particular interest in the global beverage industry and microfinance in the Republic of the Philippines. During his 32-year tenure with Capital Research and Management Company, Higdon established the firm’s Washington, DC office as well as its undergraduate hiring program. He continues in his international business and philanthropic interests as a Director of The Coca-Cola Company in the Philippines; as a Director of International Container Terminal Services; and as Chair of the Grameen Foundation USA Philippine Advisory Committee. Locally, he is a trustee of The Island Institute based in Rockland, Maine. In addition, he is President of Rocking Moon Foundation, the Higdon-Sudow family foundation focused on youth education, economically disadvantaged and at-risk youth, and the needs of gay, lesbian and transgender youth. The family maintains a part-time residence in Washington, DC.
Douglas M. Erickson
Thomaston – Community Member, Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate/The Masiello Group
I‘ve had the rare opportunity of spending the first ten years of my life on Great Inagua Island in the Bahamas. My life on Great Inagua Island was similar, in many respects, to that of Mark Twain’s stories of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn. Looking back over time, I found my life on the island has had a profound and positive impact on me today, particularly with self-confidence, creative thinking, and problem solving to name a few. In some respects, Trekkers offers some of these opportunities I experienced as a young child. It is these experiences and opportunities that attracted me to Trekkers. It is my hope that my grandchildren will one day participate in the Trekkers program so they too have the opportunity to learn about themselves and coping with life in general. I recognize that scholastic education is very important, however, it is also my belief that learning about life and learning to cope with whatever it dishes out will provide teenagers with a more rounded education and do a better job of preparing them for life in the long run.
My past volunteer endeavors have included being the past President of the Rockland Kiwanis Club, past President of the Penobscot Bay Regional Chamber of Commerce, past Treasurer for the Maine Association of Realtors, Committee Member on the Professional Standards Committee for The National Association of Realtors and past Chair for the Thomaston 4th of July. Currently, I serve on the Thomaston Board of Appeals. Dragon C.A.P. Committee, Director for the Maine Commercial Association of Realtors, Thomaston Budget Committee and the Regional Micro Loan Committee. The National Association of Realtors awarded me designation of “Realtor Emeritus” in recognition for the volunteer work I have provided the local, state and national Realtor Associations and for the years I have been a member of each.
It is with great anticipation that I look forward to becoming involved with Trekkers.
Michael Hersom, DMD
Rockland – Trekkers parent & Dentist, Glen Cove Dental Associates
Michael was born and raised in Sanford, Maine. He earned his undergraduate degree from Boston College, where the ethic of service to others was a key element of his Jesuit education. Since returning to Maine in 1996, Michael has strived to be active in his profession and engaged in his community. He has served on the Executive Board of the Maine Dental Association, the Knox County Health Clinic/Mid-Coast Health Net, Rockland Rotary Club, and was a member of the St. Bernard’s Parish Council. He proudly admits his favorite volunteer activity was coaching his two daughters’ Little League softball team for 5 years. Though somewhat familiar with Trekkers when it was limited to SAD 50, Michael became more knowledgeable of Trekkers and its mission when the program was expanded to RSU 13. He became personally invested when his son joined Trekkers as a 7th grader.
Michael enjoys health-related physical fitness, music, and motorcycles. He lives in Rockland with his wife, Hope, and they have 3 children, Hannah, Abby, and Nathan.
Thomaston – Alumni parent & Director, Child Development Services
Larry Schooley has spent his whole career as a life-long educator and the last 30 years as a school administrator. He served as the Executive Director of the Bancroft School, a private school for students with developmental disabilities. Larry served as the Principal of the Merchantville School in New Jersey where he developed a comprehensive environmental education program which included expeditionary learning. After moving to Maine, Larry served as the Principal of the St. George School. While at St. George, he developed an affiliation with the national network of expeditionary learning schools and developed nationally recognized programs at the school. Recently, he served as the Principal of Oceanside High School, the recently consolidated high school. In July, Larry retired from public education and became director of Child Development Services (CDS). CDS serves children from birth to five years of age with developmental disabilities in Lincoln, Knox, and Waldo counties. Rebecca Schooley is a Trekkers alumni, so Larry is familiar with the life-changing work that happens at Trekkers. Larry is excited and privileged to be able to serve on the board of Trekkers as we continue to plan for the future.
Rackliff Island – Community Member/Retired Reinsurance Company Executive
In 1973 I started my business career in New York City as an insurance underwriter in the International Department at Chubb. 2 years afterwards, I joined Guy Carpenter, a reinsurance company, which is a subsidiary of Marsh & McLennan. Marsh is a global professional services company. I spent 32 years at the firm and eventually became their Vice Chairman. During that time, I served on the Board of Trustees of St. John’s University School of Risk Management and was also a director on the Board of the Reinsurance Association of America. I “semi” retired in 2007 and accepted a directorship at Platinum Underwriters, a reinsurance company headquartered in Bermuda. The company was sold in 2015. I decided that it was time to officially leave the business after having worked in it for 42 years.
Near the end of my career, my wife, Phoebe and I decided it was time to reconnect with Maine. That led us to find our place on Rackliff Island. We kept our residence in New Canaan, Ct. since we have ties there with family and old friends. During my teens, I attended camp in Maine and like so many others, I thoroughly enjoyed the time I spent there. Canoeing up the Allagash and hiking on Mt. Katahdin with my peers was such a valuable learning experience. I’m pleased that I discovered the Trekkers organization. It has the wonderful combination of bringing back cherished memories and of bringing forward the exceptional programs that have been developed for young people in the local community and beyond.
Spruce Head – Wayfinder Schools-Admissions Coordinator
Britta was born and raised in Thomaston, Maine. Aside from being a Trekker alumni, she has also volunteered for many years going on upwards of 25 expeditions. Upon graduating from high school, she attended the University of Maine where she earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Social Science. In 2012, she graduated with a Master’s of Science Degree in Leadership with a concentration in Nonprofit Management from Northeastern University. She recently relocated back to the Midcoast area where she is working as the Admissions Coordinator at Wayfinder Schools. Prior to moving she worked at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute alongside some of the most prestigious individuals as part of the Bone Marrow Transplant team. Outside of work she can be found in many different situations; surrounded by lots of people enjoying each other’s company, relaxing on the beach alone, or taking spontaneous road trips. She loves to travel, drink coffee and allow life to lead her to the next cool thing! She is an avid basketball player and looks forward to coaching area teams in the near future. After many years away, she feels extremely fortunate to be living back in the community where she was raised. She hopes to provide the current and future Trekker students with the same sense of community, rapport, and devotion she was given as they find their true capabilities and gifts.
South Thomaston – Student
Ben Willey is a Student Board Member. He is currently an 12th grader at Oceanside High School. In addition to numerous Trekkers’ activities, Ben is passionately involved with sports and theatre in high school. He is a leader in the Trekkers’ Student Leadership program, and has served as a mentor for the past three years in the organization’s Big Trek Little Trek afterschool mentoring program. From the very beginning of his Trekkers’ journey, Ben’s life has been impacted in immeasurable ways through his personal experiences in the program, especially with relationship building and being able to serve in leadership and mentor roles. Ben feels that the board member position will give him an opportunity to serve in a meaningful and direct way, as well as being able to offer his passion, insight and ideas to the organization as it continues to evolve. He is very excited to be on the Board as a student member and is looking forward to making contributions in the coming year.
Thomaston – Student
I am a Student Board Member. Currently, I am a junior at Oceanside High School. As well as being a Student Board Member, I am very involved with the Trekkers organization as a whole. I started this six-year program in the 7th grade, initially being very hesitant and shy, but looking back, I am so glad I continued with the program. I am currently in the Trekkers Student Leadership program, a member of the Community Service Corps, and I participated in the Big Trek Little Trek program three times. Aside from Trekkers, I run cross country, as well as indoor and outdoor track. I love to read, hike, and be with family and friends. Trekkers has given me so much opportunity to grow, as a leader and a person, and also shed some light on what I want to do when I am older. I am very excited to step into the role of a student board member and serve my community. I am looking forward to sharing my voice and offering my ideas through this position.