Trekkers’ SEED program (Success through Employment and Educational Development) has now entered the internship phase. Seven high school juniors have been placed in 40-hour paid internships in the local business community. These internships are coordinated by Trekkers Principal Program Manager Emily Carver. The goal of the internships is to help students connect their developing interests and passions to real-world employment experiences. The participating organizations include Harbor Road Veterinary Hospital, Pen Bay Healthcare, Pope Memorial Humane Society of Knox County, RHEAL Day Spa, The Steel House and Tilbury House Publishers. Trekkers’ SEED Program is made possible, in part, by a gift from the Leon Lowenstein Foundation, Inc.
Jenny Carter, Trekkers’ Student Board Member and 11th grader at Oceanside High School, is currently an intern at the Steel House in Rockland. The Steel House is a collective of artists, designers, writers, educators and technologists working to foster innovative ideas, create great things and inspire others to do the same. Their shared space and resources cultivate a collaborative environment that allows them to develop small creative business, provide educational programs and engage the community.
Speaking of the value of Trekkers’ SEED internship program, Carter stated, “I’ve been passionate about art since before I can remember. However, I’ve always had trouble imagining what a successful and meaningful career in art would look like. Thanks to the SEED Program and the Steel House, I’m much more clear-minded about where I want to take my passion for the arts, and infinitely times more comfortable with the thought of pursuing a career in art in college. Being an intern at the Steel House has given me a lens to view my community – from that, it lets me be optimistic about all the artistic opportunities waiting in my community. I’m so excited about my work at the Steel House, and grateful to see a clearer pathway towards an adulthood where combining two of my passions—art and community service—is possible.”
Speaking of his involvement with the SEED program, Steel House co-founder Tom Weis said, “ Jenny Carter has been coming each week to help us design and build a polargraph drawing machine. A polargraph is a machine with two stepper motors that drives a pen between two chains to translate a digital image into a large scale, physical drawing. We’ve never built one before, so it’s been a lot of fun to work with Jenny through the trials and errors of our learning process,” said Weis. “We appreciate Jenny’s willingness to be experimental as we make progress each week. We hope to find ways to keep Jenny and other local teens involved in our design and technology projects in the future (next on the agenda is a 3d printer that prints chocolate!).”
Trekkers’ Principal Program Manager, Emily Carver remarked, “The idea behind SEED was to give students a platform to express their growing interests in a professional setting, gaining both work experience and inspiration to further their own educational journeys. Seeing the aspirations of our youth manifest through the organizations and professionals in our community has been truly inspiring. An amazing benefit to the SEED program, other than empowering youth to get clear on their professional goals before they are asked to declare them to the world, has been connecting to the generosity, patience and energy of the local business community. The response from every new contact was unfailingly enthusiastic and supportive. Our hope is the through the SEED program, the gap between the needs of the local business community for professional employees and the needs of the local youth for opportunity to learn will be slightly smaller—that the bridges we build now will lessen that gap and allow for movement in both directions.”
In April, the seven SEED students, along with their fellow 11th grade Trekkers, will be participating in a 10-day College/Career Exploration expedition. In that program, each student researches careers of interest and selects up to two institutions of higher learning that they want to visit during the expedition. At the end of the expedition, the students are equipped with a list of insights and personal preferences to help guide their post-secondary pursuits. At a time when they are focused on their future, the SEED internship program is a logical first step for informing the students’ college/career program in the spring.
For more information about these 11th grade programs, go to www.trekkers.org or contact the Trekkers office (207) 594-5095. 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. This year, Trekkers will serve more than 200 7th through 12th grade students from the communities of Cushing, Owls Head, Rockland, South Thomaston, St. George and Thomaston.