Trekkers, an outdoor-based mentoring organization based in Thomaston, has accepted 40 new 7th grade students into the Teen Trekkers program. Trekkers’ unique model follows students over a six-year period that starts when students are in the 7th grade and ends at high school graduation. Through an extensive network of mentors and community leaders, Trekkers connects young people with caring adults through expeditionary learning, community service and adventure-based education.
Trekkers then divided the 40 new students evenly into two separate teams based on school and gender balance. Each team has its own separate program and educational expedition each year throughout their school experience. The two groups, Team Osprey and Team Albatross, will operate independently from one another; each with their own assigned Program Manager, as well as their own meeting and expedition schedules over the entire six years.
For two weekends in May, Trekkers offered these 7th grade students the opportunity to explore Acadia National Park, with a traditional wilderness and adventure component. Students and adults who participated in this expedition took part in a pre-trip, three-week orientation program where they were involved in team-building initiatives, small group discussions and an extensive canoe orientation. While at Acadia, each team went hiking, rock-climbing and canoeing and was given a chance to share their experience in small group discussions throughout the weekend. The goal of the Teen Trekkers program is to provide a shared wilderness experience for students and adult leaders as a way to lay the foundation for ongoing relationships throughout the rest of their time in Trekkers.
One student shared, “I realized that I really don’t talk a lot even when I have a huge opportunity to, and because of being here I’ve been more open with everybody.” Another student wrote, “At some points, it was scary because of new people and surroundings, but because of the people here being so nice and thoughtful, I thought it was amazing.”
Eligible students who complete the 7th grade Teen Trekkers program are invited to participate in every program offered to their Trekkers class for their remaining years in middle school and high school, as long as they are enrolled in some kind of formal education. Each year, the students collectively plan, design and implement an experiential learning expedition that incorporates five educational components.
To learn more about Trekkers or its expeditionary learning programs, please call (207) 594-5095 or visit www.trekkers.org. 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. This year, Trekkers will serve more than 240 7th through 12th grade students from the communities of Cushing, Owls Head, Rockland, South Thomaston, St. George and Thomaston.