Ten 12th graders from Team Puma completed the Trekkers Rites of Passage program, bringing closure to their six-year Trekkers experience and helping them move to the next phase of their life.
Trekkers’ Senior Manager of Programs, Alaina Ennamorati, with the help of a team of dedicated volunteers and Trekkers staff, led 10 seniors on the four-day Rites of Passage Expedition starting on March 24. The expedition included a 28-hour wilderness solo at North Country Rivers in Bingham, Maine. Each student camped alone on their solo, while being asked to reflect on their high school years and Trekkers experience, as well as preparing mentally for life after high school. Students were given reflection topics and encouraged to journal, focusing on who they want to be in their lives moving forward. During their solo, they spent time reflecting and coming up with a mission statement for their life. All 10 seniors completed their solos.
This program oftentimes provides the first opportunity for young adults to purposefully disengage from technology, family and social life in order to focus their attention inward before a major life transition. Activities before and after the solo experience encouraged that reflection, focusing on goal setting and self-definition. A major component of this process of reflection was volunteer and mentor participation, with all volunteers having worked with this group of students in varying capacities for the last six years.
Reflecting on the expedition, Ennamorati stated, “This group of students and volunteers really made this expedition a powerful one by pushing themselves physically and being emotionally very honest and vulnerable with one another as they navigated who they want to be moving forward. They reflected on what they value and who has helped shape them thus far. Everyone even braved the cold environment and was able to focus inward even through this physical challenge during the solo. They all came out stronger and with a lot of appreciation for this group.”
One student shared that their life has been changed through their participation in Trekkers “.. in an incredibly unmeasurable way. My outlook on people, cultures, places sparked my quest for knowledge and understanding. Another student wrote, ““I feel like I did more when I was younger – a better outlook on life and people.”
The 12th grade expedition is the final program in a student’s Trekkers experience. This program is 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.
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’ Rites of Passage Expedition, please visit www.trekkers.org or call 207-594-5095.