As Trekkers celebrates its 20th year of serving local youth, for the first time ever they had three educational expeditions going on at the same time. The ability of the organization to serve more students with multiple programs during the same time frame is the result of a six year expansion plan that is focused on relationship-building and quality of programming.
During the week of February vacation, Trekkers sent two different groups of 9th graders and their adult mentors to explore the history and cultures of Boston, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Washington, D.C. They were participating in Trekkers’ “Ride Through History” program that culminates in a 10-day journey of experiential education that focuses on the historical events that helping form our nation. At the same time, juniors in the 2-year Student Leadership Program spent the weekend at Camp Kieve in Nobleboro while participating in the second of three multi-day training sessions to hone their leadership skills.
Through tours, interactive multi-media, group discussions and hours of bus riding, the two groups on the “Ride Through History” tour learned firsthand the circumstances of our country’s founding. Surrounded by adult mentors, they also had the opportunity to connect with caring role models from their community and discover new aspects of themselves and their peers. Each group’s experience was a little different based on student input into the different itineraries but each trip included a cultural exchange and a community service component.
In Boston the students and mentors partook in a tour of the Freedom Trail, where they learned about the beginnings of the Revolutionary War. They also visited the U.S.S. Constitution, the oldest American warship, and the Bunker Hill Monument, the site of the first major battle of the American Revolution.
In Camden, New Jersey, the groups met up with Trekkers’ sister organization, Urban Trekkers, for a one-day cultural exchange. The Midcoast students toured Camden, learned its economic history and got to know the local students in Urban Trekkers. The experience granted the Maine Trekkers the chance to breakdown stereotypes and build newfound relationships with students in the poorest city in America.
During the expeditions, they also visited Philadelphia, where students saw the Liberty Bell and ran the infamous Rocky Steps. In Washington, D.C., they visited a variety of national monuments and landmarks, including the Holocaust and Air and Space Museums, Washington Monument, Arlington National Cemetery, the National Archives and U.S. Capital Building and did an evening tour of some of the most famous monuments, including the Lincoln, Korean War and Vietnam Veterans Memorials.
Meanwhile back in Maine, the Student Leadership Program got underway at Camp Kieve, led by Executive Director, Don Carpenter. This 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. Through group discussion, reflection, games, journaling and team-building activities, these juniors learned skills that will make them effective leaders as students and as adults in the future.
Trip logs and photographs will be posted soon!