We have recently completed our 20th year of working with local youth. During this program year, Trekkers provided grade-specific core programs and many peripheral programs to more than 200 students in grades 7 to 12 from the six communities of Regional School Unit #13. Among the many accomplishments in the 2013-14 year, we completed the fourth year of a stepwise expansion plan, and now serve expanded classes in four out of the six grades.
Over the past year, we provided 16 experiential learning programs. One of Trekkers’ newest initiatives was the introduction of an internship program for high school students. Recognizing a gap in the college/career preparation for its 11th and 12th graders, we had been seeking ways to provide real-life work experience options for students to help them spark career passions by connecting them with local businesses and career opportunities. Last spring, the organization successfully piloted a program called SEED (Success through Employment and Education Development) that combined a series of Professional Development workshops with a 40-hour internship at a local business/organization. The program was well received and will be continued this year as a natural adjunct for our 11th grade program.
We also expanded the Leadership Program to a two-year curriculum, adding three training sessions for 12th grade students who’d completed the first three training sessions last year as 11th graders. Twenty two students were part of the Leadership Program this year. Sixteen of them then served as student leaders on expeditions for younger students.
One other key achievement this year was our collaboration with the nationally recognized organization PEAR (Program in Education and Afterschool Resiliency). We began using PEAR Holistic Student Assessment tools to measure and monitor students’ progress and to provide the organization with feedback on ways to better tailor the programs to students’ needs and strengths. This process will be ongoing, with student evaluations conducted at the beginning of the program year and after the program-culminating expeditions.
Over the past year, Trekkers engaged 339 student and adult volunteers in serving 10,424 hours in support of the organization and its programs. This is a 40% increase in the number of volunteers, compared to the previous year’s statistics. As the new program year begins, the organization is preparing to serve expanded enrollment in 7th through 11th grade classes and to provide 19 expeditionary learning programs.
Trekkers is continuing to look for additional volunteers, mentors and tutors to support the growing organization. We can be reached at 207-594-5095.