Eleven 12th graders from Team Panther 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’ Program Manager, Brandon Caron, with the help of a team of dedicated volunteers and Trekkers staff, led 11 seniors on the four-day Rites of Passage Expedition starting on April 17. The expedition included a 36-hour wilderness solo at Stump Sprouts in Charlemont, Massachusetts. 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 that they want to live. All 11 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, Caron stated, “The wilderness solo provided these students with a platform for reflection on their current transition from adolescence to adulthood. I was blown away by this group when they came out of the woods and were all able to share their own unique desires to live a meaningful, self-directed life. Being a part of their process for the last six years has been an incredible honor and I’m really inspired by this newest group of motivated and resilient adults heading out into the world. I am certain they will accomplish great things.”
One student shared, ““I have endless good things to say about this organization and I hope to remain involved with it for many years to come. Trekkers has made me who I am and changed my life forever and I feel so much love towards everyone who has made this possible.” Another student wrote, “Trekkers has prepared me to be open with the people I love and to allow new ones to see who I really am. To take things with compassion and understanding and to go after my goals no matter how high or out of reach they feel.”
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.