Trekkers Training Institute for Youth Development Celebrates Successful Pilot Program

Trekkers’ Training Institute AIP Graduates – Back row (left to right): Jessica Dumont/Old Town-Orono YMCA & RSU #34, Michaela Stone/Seeds of Independence, William Worthley/Community Bicycle Center, Stephen Colby/Game Loft, Lyndsey Smith/University of Maine 4-H Center at Bryant Pond, Austin Muir/Chewonki Foundation, Front row (left to right): Katie Jacob/Trekkers Training Institute AmeriCorps VISTA, Meredith Lynt/Trekkers Training Institute Director, Briana West/The EdGE Program of Maine Seacoast Mission and Megan Taft/Kieve-Wavus Education.

Thomaston, ME – In late August, Trekkers honored eight participants who graduated from the Trekkers Training Institute for Youth Development’s first summer immersion training experience.  The Trekkers Institute forged this unique training program based on Trekkers’ quarter-century of success in the field of youth development. The Trekkers model relies on consistent, long-term mentoring over a six-year period that lasts from seventh grade until high school graduation. The philosophy also cultivates a web of 360-degrees of support for a young person from Trekkers volunteers, parents, teachers, coaches, and/or clergy. Trekkers employs a series of cross-country adventures as a key component of experiential learning.

The summer graduates are staff members from the eight Maine organizations that were selected in early 2017 to participate in the Emanuel & Pauline A. Lerner Foundation’s Aspirations Incubator Program (AIP), a mentoring-based initiative aimed at raising and sustaining the aspirations of middle school and high school students in rural Maine communities and small cities. Participants include: Austin Muir/Chewonki Foundation, William Worthley/Community Bicycle Center, Megan Taft/Kieve-Wavus Education, Jessica Dumont/Old Town-Orono YMCA & RSU #34, Michaela Stone/Seeds of Independence, Briana West/The EdGE Program of Maine Seacoast Mission, Stephen Colby/Game Loft, Lyndsey Smith/University of Maine 4-H Center at Bryant Pond. A celebration to honor each participant’s dedication and commitment to the training experience was held on August 24th at the East Wind Inn in Tenants Harbor.  The graduates were joined at the celebration by members of their families, as well as other staff from their host organizations.

The 3-month training provided by the Trekkers Institute this summer provided the leadership development component of the Lerner Foundation’s AIP initiative. Training was held primarily at Trekkers’ office in Thomaston and involved intensive hands-on training in Trekkers’ 10 Youth Programming Principles. Each day was varied with time spent brainstorming, reflecting and participating in unique excursions, small group discussion, and role-playing scenarios. Participants got close, dug deep, and acquired skills that they can apply to their own programs and communities.

Trekkers Institute Director, Meredith Lynt, led the summer immersion training and shared, “It has been a privilege to work with arguably the most passionate, committed and innovative youth development practitioners and organizations from across the state of Maine through the Lerner Foundation’s AIP project. I feel a powerful youth development movement is afoot within and beyond Maine, and Trekkers’ long-term, relational approach to meet others where they are couldn’t be a better fit to help lead these efforts.”

The Trekkers Training Institute for Youth Development is dedicated to improving the way organizations work with young people. The institute conducts intensive training for youth development organizations on some of the most effective, tested techniques and principles, paired with a dedication to meet young people and professionals alike where they are. This work is driven by the idea that keeping youth on an aspirational trajectory is vital for the future of thriving communities.

The summer immersion was the inaugural training experience offered by the Trekkers Training Institute for Youth Development. The staff at TTIYD are in the process of developing future training opportunities for any youth development professionals who are interested in learning about Trekkers’ 10 Principles of Youth Programming. Additional training opportunities will be available starting in 2018. For more information about the Trekkers Training Institute, please contact Meredith Lynt at TTIYD: For more information about the Aspirations Incubator Program and their partner organizations, please contact Don Carpenter,





Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *