From September 26–27, seventeen juniors and three adult leaders participated in a 2-day leadership training through Trekkers, an outdoor-based mentoring program that connects young people with caring adults. Held at Herring Gut Learning Center in Port Clyde, this weekend retreat was the starting point for the students’ two-year Leadership Program. The newly expanded, collaborative program provides experiential learning, lessons in leadership and the opportunity for students to mentor younger Trekkers. This year’s junior leadership class is the largest in the history of Trekkers’ Leadership Program.
The students in the 11th grade Leadership Program will complete three training weekends this year. Two additional training weekends will follow after the students progress to the 12th grade. Each weekend retreat focuses on a particular theme that is addressed through group discussion, reflection, games, journaling and team-building activities. The 11th grade Leadership Program began with lessons in team dynamics, stereotypes and consensus decision-making.
The September training helped the students focus on leadership qualities and attributes, and why each of them wanted to become a Trekkers leader. During the weekend retreat, they completed many team building activities, such as the human spider web, where the entire group worked together to transfer each of the team members from one side of the web to the other without touching the web itself. The group also engaged in meaningful discussions about leadership, and used a consensus decision-making process to determine their group’s policy for attendance, behavior and grades.
Each subsequent session in their two-year leadership progression will build upon the topics and skills from the previous training. The group’s second training weekend in December will be in combination with the senior student leaders, and take place at the Kieve-Wavus Leadership School in Nobleboro. The third Leadership Training session for the combined group of student leaders will take place in January. Each of the students will then put their new skills to use when they volunteer as student leaders during Trekkers expeditions later this year. Trekkers’ educational expeditions range from three to 10 days in length, and provide many ways for student leaders to act as role models, mediators and peer mentors for younger students.
The expanded Leadership Program is part of the growing organization’s plan to build leadership skills and increase the number of student leaders. Historically, 46% of Trekkers students participate in the Leadership Program and become peer mentors for the younger students. More than 50% of this year’s 11th grade Trekkers are participating in the Leadership Program. For more about Trekkers or the expanded Leadership Program, contact the Trekkers office at 207-594-5095 or visit www.trekkers.org.
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. As a preventative, community-based program, Trekkers brings students and adult mentors together to build meaningful relationships over a period of six years. This model, in turn, creates a safety net for local youth who are civically engaged and oftentimes return to Trekkers as adult volunteers themselves. Trekkers serves the communities of Cushing, Owls Head, Rockland, South Thomaston, St. George and Thomaston.