Trekkers had a very busy April with two 11th grade College/Career Exploration expeditions. A total of 25 students and eight leaders explored college and career path opportunities during their expeditions throughout New England. The students from Team Panther and Team Puma embarked on their 10-day College/Career Explorations on April 15. Prior to their expeditions, each student worked throughout the school year to narrow down their top selections. Principal Program Manager Alaina Ennamorati and Program Manager Brandon Caron then created itineraries from the students’ choices.
Team Puma’s 10-day expedition brought them to 13 different schools between Maine and New Jersey, including: Colby College, Husson University, University of Maine, Unity College, Plymouth State College, US Coast Guard Academy, Universal Technical Institute, Stonehill College, University of Connecticut, Temple University, Montserrat College of Art, University of New Hampshire and Bowdoin College. They also visited University of Southern Maine and University of New England during their pre-trek overnight. While in New Jersey, they volunteered with Urban Trekkers at the Food Bank of South Jersey to help with packaging of Senior packs bags (each bag is two week supply of food for Senior Citizens) KidzPacks (each bag is weekend supply of food for at-risk children to supplement a family’s weekend food) and Snackzone (15 boxes of 40 snacks for their after-school program).
Team Panther spent 10 days traveling around New England touring 15 different college and technical schools, including: Colby College, Bates College, Bowdoin College, University of Maine at Farmington, University of Southern Maine, University of New Hampshire, Springfield College, Universal Technical Institute, Northeastern University, Tufts University, Boston College, Emerson College, Lesley University, Mt. Holyoke College and the University of Connecticut. In addition to their college tours, Team Panther students were able to learn a bit more about college life through an alumni panel of six college grads that joined them in Connecticut. The students participated in a community service project by putting wood chips in a playground at the New Life in Christ Fellowship church.
In addition to touring the campuses, each evening the students shared conversations and impressions about the schools they visited, talking about financial aid, and where they could see themselves being most successful. The 11th grade expeditions are designed to help students focus on life beyond high school, giving them a greater understanding of how to make the transition from adolescence to adulthood, and from being fully dependent to completely independent.
Speaking about his experience, Program Manager Brandon Caron said, “It’s really inspiring to witness the shift that takes place in these students as they start to think about their future. Many of them came into this trip feeling overwhelmed and a little scared of all of the decisions they would need to make. However, as they see all of the different options and talk through the pros and cons with their peers, that fear turns into excitement for all of the opportunities ahead of them.”
Reflecting on the expedition, Ennamorati stated, “What’s so great about the 11th grade College/Career Exploration expedition is that students get to design the itinerary by choosing which schools and programs they would like to learn more about, and then oftentimes take as much away from the schools their teammates chose to visit, as they do for the one they wanted to see the most. There is opportunity to expand their vision of what life after high school could look like for themselves, and a chance for personal reflection as to where they want to be and all the possibilities of what they could be doing.”
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. Trekkers serves 7th through 12th grade students from the six communities of RSU #13: Cushing, Owls Head, Rockland, South Thomaston, St. George and Thomaston. For more information about Trekkers’ College/Career Exploration expeditions, please visit www.trekkers.org or call 207-594-5095.