As Trekkers celebrates its 23rd year of serving local youth, the Thomaston-based mentoring organization completed two educational expeditions for its 9th grade classes during the week of February vacation. Trekkers’ Program Staff Hannah Tannebring and Brandon Caron led Team Everest and Team K2 students and their adult mentors on 10-day “Ride Through History” journeys, with experiential education that focused on the historical events that helped shape our nation. Their collective exploration took them through the cultures and history of Boston, Massachusetts; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Camden, New Jersey; and Washington, D.C.
Through a combination of tours, interactive multi-media, group discussions and hours of bus riding, these two groups learned firsthand about the circumstances of our country’s founding. Accompanied by adult mentors and student leaders, they also had the opportunity to connect with caring role models from their community while discovering new aspects of themselves and their peers.
While in Philadelphia, both teams toured the Liberty Bell Center, Independence Hall, the National Constitution Center and ran the infamous Rocky Steps.
In Camden, New Jersey, Team Everest met up with students from Trekkers’ sister organization, Urban Trekkers, and Trekkers Team K2 for a cultural exchange. The three groups spent an entire day in small groups exploring and getting an educational tour of Camden, New Jersey. On this tour, Urban Trekkers students shared the history, culture and lifestyle that they experience every day in their community. The Trekker teams assisted in a community service project by helping organize, paint and set up the Urban Promise thrift store. The thrift store provides jobs to young people as well as funds for their organization. The experience granted the Maine Trekkers the chance to build meaningful relationships and it encouraged cross-cultural understanding and dialogue with the urban youth.
In Washington, D.C., the students visited a variety of national landmarks, including the National Museum of Natural History, Holocaust Museum, Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, Arlington National Cemetery and the U.S. Capitol Building. The students also toured of some of the most famous monuments and memorials, including the Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, World War II Memorial, Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, Korean War Veterans Memorial and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
Team Everest spent an afternoon at the Smithsonian National Zoo, which was a highlight for many of the students. In Boston, Team Everest and Team K2 students and mentors completed a tour of the Freedom Trail, where they learned about the beginnings of the Revolutionary War. While in Boston, the students quickly realized that they would be learning about our nation’s history through experiences far different from sitting in a classroom. They also spent time exploring, shopping and dining in Quincy Market.
As the students reflected on their experiences, one student shared that “I learned that I have a sense of optimism, humor, and kindness”. Another student wrote, “ “This trip taught me that outside of our little Maine bubble there are many exciting, new things to discover and explore.”
To learn more about Trekkers’ recent “Ride Through History” expeditions, including the trip logs and photographs, visit www.trekkers.org. If you would like more information about Trekkers or its expeditionary learning programs, please call (207) 594-5095.
Trekkers is a non-profit outdoor-based six-year 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.