Eleven 12th graders from Team North Face 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 11 seniors on the five-day Rites of Passage Expedition starting on March 12.
Their Rites of Passage expedition included a 36-hour wilderness solo at Stump Sprouts in Hawley, Massachusetts. The snow and cold weather proved quite challenging, taking the team members five hours to dig out and set up the solo sites. 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 11 seniors completed their solos.
Reflecting on the expedition, Ennamorati stated, “It was amazing to see how much these students have grown individually and as a team these last six years and how far they were willing to push themselves emotionally and physically on this expedition. They braved challenging weather and really put themselves out there in order to pause and take an opportunity to journey inward. I am so impressed and proud of this group and grateful to be a part of their lives for so many years.”
One student shared that they learned so much through the experience, “I learned a lot about myself during the solo, I realized many different aspects of my life I want to change and just continue to become a better version of myself.”
Another student wrote that, “The overall Trekkers experience has prepared me for life because it’s made me realize how to deal with certain emotions and challenges and really made me a better and more open-minded girl.”
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.
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 240 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.