In April, Trekkers Team North Face and Team Patagonia completed their 11th grade College/Career Exploration expeditions. A total of 21 students and six leaders explored college and career path opportunities during their expeditions throughout New England. The students embarked on their respective trips on April 14. Prior to their expeditions, each student worked throughout the school year to narrow down their top selections. Senior Manager of Programs Alaina Ennamorati and Program Manager, Hannah Tannebring then created itineraries from the students’ choices.
Team North Face spent Easter weekend with Team Patagonia in Portland – a great way to kick off their trip and loaded with fun Trekkers games! The Team North Face expedition brought them to 12 different schools between Maine and Connecticut, including: University of Southern Maine, Southern Maine Community College, University of New England, University of Vermont, Champlain College, U.S. Coast Guard Academy, University of Connecticut, Massachusetts Maritime Academy, Bentley University, Bates College, Thomas College and the University of Maine.
Over the course of ten days, Team Patagonia explored the following colleges through guided tours, Trekkers’ alumni guided-tours, friend-guided tours, and their own Patagonia students guiding the tour: University of Maine Orono, Colby College, Southern Maine Community College, University of Connecticut, Western New England University, Champlain College, Middlebury College, Northeastern University, Boston College, Endicott College, University of New England, University of Southern Maine, and Bowdoin College.
Along with college tours, Team Patagonia volunteered their time on Easter Sunday at the McLean Assisted Living facility in Simsbury, Connecticut, where they took residents on walks through the beautiful property, and spent time with those who did not have family near enough for a visit on the holiday.
In addition to touring the campuses, each evening the students shared meaningful discussions 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.
“My biggest take away from this expedition was leadership and really stepping up. I tried to be as helpful as I could. I also gained stronger bonds with everyone on this trip,” commented one 11th grade participant. Another student said, “I realized that I want to make a difference in the world. I realized that whatever I end up doing in life, whether it be nursing or teaching, I want to impact people’s lives.”
Reflecting on the expedition, Senior Manager of Programs, Alaina Ennamorati stated, “What’s so great about this expedition is that students get to choose where they want to explore. Even if they aren’t sure what they are looking for, they support one another through trying to figure it out. They also gain a lot from touring campuses that their classmates chose, helping to narrow down what they would like or not like in a college, if that is what they choose to do upon high school graduation. The leadership team helped be a sounding board for what students were questioning and what they are searching for.”
Reflecting on the expedition, Program Manager, Hannah Tannebring stated, “Each night of this expedition, we would circle up as a team, reflect on the day’s college visits and explore the pros and cons of each one, and then move into a meaningful and personal journal prompt to get students reflecting on who they are, and how they want to take control of their futures. Through these conversations, it became so clear that students were gaining confidence in articulating what their personal goals are, what the passion is that will drive them to meet their goals, and what they want their post-high school experience to look like. The willingness of each person in the group to share honestly about challenges they have faced, and speak confidently and passionately about what they want in their future, showed me that this group will continue to lean on each other for support as they make the next steps in discovering their potential. That support can make all the difference.”
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 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.