We currently have over 440 Trekkers alumni. Below are some of the stories that they have shared with us about their Trekkers journey and how it has impacted their life. Over the past 21 years, 33% of our alumni have volunteered for Trekkers since their graduation.
We hope you enjoy reading the alumni profiles below!
ALUMNI PROFILES – 2013-2015
Bethany Schulberg, Class of 2013
2013 was a whirlwind year of promises and lots of scary stuff. I was waving goodbye to many of my Oceanside friends, and looking forward to meeting the class of 2017 at the University of Maine in Orono. My first two years of college have been filled with ups and downs; with classes, adjustments and plotting my own personal trek. Freshman year came with many surprises. Learning how to live on my own and step out of my comfort zone were just a few of the initial steps. Coming to school with friends from high school meant I had the option to hide and stick to what I knew, which I decided was not what I wanted. In the first few weeks, I got involved and started conversations with people around campus, just like Trekkers taught me. I joined Black Bear Leaders, Society of Women Engineers, and UMaine Mitchell Scholars. With all the changes, I was thankful to have come from a town like Thomaston and to have been a part of Trekkers. In the second semester, I joined two of the dance clubs on campus and found a home away from home where I could do something other than academics. I also became the President of UMaine Mitchell Scholars and accepted a position as a Resident Assistant.
Summer flew by, with work and various Trekkers fundraisers, as well as catching up with my high school friends and little Trekkers. The next thing I knew it was move-in day to train for my new role on campus. I met 18 strangers who would become some of my closest friends. The first semester posed many challenges: balancing a job that is 24/7, maintaining old relationships, making time for myself and the dreaded Calculus 3 were just some of the things I encountered. This was the semester I learned how to balance – that dance was truly my stress relief and that my family, friends, and Trekkers are always around to help me when I’m struggling.
Then came spring semester! I am now acquainted with my schedule (and even go on an overnight trip with Team Chimera!). I’m looking forward to moving on to my third year of Biological Engineering and working at my new position of Lead Resident Assistant. Trekkers taught me the skills necessary to accomplish my dreams and conquer any challenges that occur. It helped me grow into the woman I am today and live in the moment. I have a new perspective looking back, I will never forget where I camefrom because it’s a great place!
ALUMNI PROFILES – 2010-2012
Rebecca Benner, Class of 2012
Since graduating from Oceanside in 2012, I have lived in the Saint George area, working full-time and trying to find a career that best suits me. I decided to take the firefighting course at Mid-Coast School of Technology; then I proceeded to get my Emergency Medical Technician License. I quickly learned that I was on the wrong path. Then, I decided to self-reflect, which is something Trekkers introduced into my life, and others, at such a young age.
I was confused for a while, and felt somewhat lost. Then I remembered this one time on a Trekkers trip where we were all sitting down talking about the future, and how intimidating it seemed. We were told that it was okay to change our paths if we ever found ourselves in the wrong direction. We are HUMAN, change is inevitable. This gave me the courage to self-reflect and pin-point what makes me happiest in life.
Now, I have finished my training from the National Academy of Sports Medicine with my Personal Training certification. This is a large step in the direction towards achieving my life goals, and I truly believe if it weren’t for Trekkers, I would not have had the confidence to step foot in the gym where I changed my health and found my biggest passion in life. I hope to work towards becoming a Personal Trainer in a gym.
I am so thankful to have had all the experiences I made through Trekkers! It would have taken me much longer to realize the opportunities we can make for ourselves in this vast world. Besides “live in the moment” the other quote that stuck with me was “mind over matter”.
Kristin Rickard – Class of 2011
Since graduating in 2011, I have been attending the University of Connecticut in pursuit of my Bachelor’s Degree in Cognitive Science. While at school, I have stayed involved with programs such as the campus concert committee, volunteering at bowling each week with special needs adults, and being a sister of Pi Beta Phi. On campus, I work at Four Arrows as a low elements ropes course facilitator and run many of their social media outlets.
In 2014, I was in Florida participating in the Disney College Program. The DCP is an internship that allows students to get work experience with a Fortune 500 company while taking classes only available at Disney. I personally worked at three different merchandise locations in Downtown Disney, which allowed me to interact and connect with guests on a daily basis. In January 2015, I returned to UConn to complete my last two semesters of my degree.
The coolest application I have taken from Trekkers is applying it to my job as a challenge course facilitator. Remember everyone standing on a tarp and trying to flip it over, or everyone swinging over the “peanut butter pit”, doing blind-folded trust walks around the school, or even trust falls? Yup, facilitating those activities is my job. Upon arriving at Four Arrows, I understood the “what” in how to complete the tasks, but now I understand the “why” behind us doing all of them before trips.
How Trekkers has impacted me is always a very hard question to answer. Trekkers impacted me in huge ways, like providing me with the opportunity to tour and fall in love with UConn my junior year of high school. Trekkers also impacted me in small ways, like instilling the sense of adventure in me which led me to the last minute decision of going all the way to Texas for the NCAA Final Four and championship games for men’s basketball last semester (Go Huskies). Seeing that it is impossible to put into words all of the things Trekkers teaches us, I’m going to steal a few lines from Disney.
“If you walk the footsteps of a stranger, you’ll learn things you never knew.”
“It is not on the outside but what is inside that counts.”
Just keep swimming and haukuna matata, everyone.
Leah Simmons, Class of 2011
After I graduated in 2011, I moved to Boston and started my education at Northeastern University in pursuit of a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology with a minor in Ethics. I spent a year as a coxswain on our Division I women’s rowing team, founded a chapter of Scientista to empower pre-professional women in science, and have participated in backpacking trips with the Outdoors Club. Through Northeastern’s co-op program I have completed two six-month internships: one at Cubist Pharmaceuticals and my most recent one in the lab at the Sam Adams brewery.
“What has Trekkers meant to you through your life?” It’s impossible to fully explain to someone that did not go through the same process without it seeming cliche or exaggerated. I was forced outside of my comfort zone through adventure, had discussions about culture and diversity that probably would not have happened otherwise, and felt confident, capable, and empowered every step of the way. I learned so much about myself on every trip. Because of Trekkers, I looked at jumping into a sport that I knew nothing about as an adventure, utilized my leadership skills to develop a program on campus for a cause that I am passionate about, and sincerely like learning about different cultures and places. The biggest lesson that Trekkers taught me, though, is just to be happy. Do what makes you happy. Surround yourself by those that make you happy. Stay positive, follow your instinct, and live in the present.
Chelsea Glidden, Class of 2011
I graduated in December 2014 from Southern New Hampshire University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Child Development and a Minor in Psychology. While at SNHU, I was a Resident Assistant, a member of the University Honors program, and had been very involved with the Center for Community Engaged Learning. At the Center for Community Engaged Learning, I was the Head Site Coordinator for multiple after-school programs that worked with the immigrant and refugee populations of Manchester, New Hampshire.
I was also awarded the Campus Compact Presidents’ Leadership Award for my involvement and dedication to community service. The award is given to one student per university that “has made outstanding contributions to community service, service learning, and/or civic engagement efforts on their campus. This award is for a student or student organization that has made service an integral part of their college experience as evidenced through their contribution to the community.”
In December of 2014, I led an Alternative Break service trip to the Dominican Republic. On this trip, I worked with the organization Outreach 360 to teach English to children and help them to break out of the cycle of poverty. After graduation, I am currently serving a year of service with City Year. If I choose to do so, I hope to stay in Manchester, New Hampshire and continue to work with the populations and children that I worked with during my time at SNHU.
I can honestly say that I would not be where I am today if I had not been a part of the Trekkers program. Trekkers taught me to embrace who I am, and to push myself outside of my comfort zone. It sparked my love for service and my passion to make a difference in this world. Trekkers taught me more than I can express in words.
Neal Young – Class of 2010
In 2014, Neal served an AmeriCorps term with Trekkers as a Program Coordinator. As part of his job at their organization, he coordinated Big Trek/Little Trek at the St. George School and Trekkers’ tutoring program, along with helping to plan upcoming trips. He has also served as an adult leader on several Trekkers expeditions. He is currently attending the University of Southern Maine to finish his degree in International Studies and continue working with young adults as a resident assistant in one of the USM’s dormitories.
Neal says, “Trekkers gave me the confidence to pursue my passions and the emotional tools to overcome difficult moments in life. I feel very fortunate to be volunteering at Trekkers, where I can give back to the organization while doing what gives me energy.”
Ian Anderson, Class of 2010
After I graduated from GVHS in 2010, I attended Maine Maritime Academy in Castine, Maine. While there, I was able to travel to Europe as part of my freshman cruise experience, and learned an incredible amount about perseverance, dedication and willpower. After two years at MMA, I decided that it was not the right career path for me, and parted ways.
After a year of working and trying to discover the right fit, I decided to submit an application to the Maine Marine Patrol. I had spent most of my working career on the water, lobster fishing, working at marinas, and on ferry boats. As such, the Department decided I would be a good fit for the Patrol.
I then attended the 18 week Basic Law Enforcement Training Program, at the Criminal Justice Academy in Vassalboro, ME. After a 3 month field training program, I am now stationed in the Scarborough area, working closely with local commercial and recreational fisheries.
Had it not been for the influence Trekkers had on my early life, there’s no question in my mind that I would not be where I am today. I learned incredible social skills, the ability to understand others’ backgrounds, and the knowledge that everyone comes into situations from a different place in life; all qualities that become incredibly important in the world of law enforcement. The challenges that I’ve put behind me, and those that I’m sure still lay ahead, are all opportunities to draw from what the Trekkers program taught me.
Adriana Lombardo, Class of 2010
Since graduating in 2010, I have attended The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. As a part of my Associates program, I participated in an 18-week internship at a farm-to-table restaurant in Maui, Hawaii. Over the course of my education in New York, and my time in Hawaii, I was able to further my knowledge of local and sustainable models in the restaurant industry.
Upon graduating with a degree in Culinary Arts in July of 2014, I decided to take a weeklong road trip across the country. I now live in Portland, Oregon, and work at Clark Lewis, a restaurant serving Italian inspired local, organic, seasonal fare. It is inspiring to work with such beautiful, fresh products, and to live in a city that really cares about the idea of sustainable food and supporting local growers. My most recent undertaking is urban foraging and the study of edible and medicinal plants.
The presence of Trekkers in my life has really inspired me to turn my dreams into reality and to not be afraid to pursue what I want out of life. I still remember when I first walked through the doors of the Culinary Institute during an impromptu visit on our college trip. If it wasn’t for that moment, I might not be where I am today. I’m so grateful for the experiences and relationships that I gained through Trekkers.
Alec Young, Class of 2010
Alec Young (pictured on left) with fellow Georges Valley classmate from 2010, Nick Smith, after induction into the Senior Skull Honor Society.
After graduating from Georges Valley High School in 2010, Alec attending the University of Maine at Orono, where he earned a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Civil Engineering. While in school, Alec became a member of the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity and was inducted into Senior Skulls Honor Society. He also was able to travel to Greece through a Sigma Phi Epsilon scholar program to learn about the ancient Greek culture and how it relates to the fraternities principles.
Since graduating from college in 2014, Alec has moved to Boston to work for Turner Construction as a field engineer. After gaining some experience, he plans on getting his Masters Degree in business or management.
“Trekkers is had such an incredible impact on my life growing up, and continues to do so. Every day, I still remember the life lessons I learned from the trips we took over six years. Being in Trekkers allowed me to challenge myself to become a better person and think about life in a whole new way. Through Trekkers, I have made lifelong friends and have made memories that will last a lifetime. I am so thankful for everything Trekkers has given me, and look forward to giving back to them in the future.”
Emma Vachon – Class of 2010
Emma Vachon graduated from University of New Hampshire with a dual Bachelor’s Degree in International Affairs & European Cultural Studies and a minor in French Language. During one of her academic years, Emma studied abroad in Prague, Czech Republic and Dijon, France. She also interned at a local non-profit in Portsmouth, New Hampshire called Friends Forever. This organization works to promote camaraderie, trust, and empathy among cultures in conflict. Friends Forever accomplishes this through the leadership development of participating youth from Northern Ireland and Israel in an intensive year-long program.
Emma has this to say about her Trekkers’ experience, “It’s quite difficult to sum up the positive impact Trekkers has made on my life and the decisions that I’ve made since I became an alumni. I would definitely say that through my experience with Trekkers, as a participant and a student leader, I have adopted a passion for understanding other cultures and an excitement to enter into the field of youth leadership development – because I’ve lived it! Thank you Trekkers! You will always be with me, wherever I may go!”
ALUMNI PROFILES – 2007-2009
Karis Sawyer – Class of 2009
After graduating from Georges Valley High School in 2009, I attended Gordon College in Wenham, Massachusetts. At Gordon, I double-majored in Early Childhood Education and Psychology. I worked as a campus tour guide and for an after-school program for inner-city students. During my junior and senior years of college, I participated in service-missions trips to an orphanage in Tijuana, Mexico (pictured here with one of the children at the orphanage). During my senior year, I co-led the trip, and I can say without any doubt that it was my experience in Trekkers that prepared me to lead 21 college students to serve and learn in Tijuana. After graduating from Gordon College in 2013, I got a job teaching kindergarten in Gloucester, Massachusetts. I absolutely love it! Gloucester is a beautiful city; I moved from one fishing town to another.
Writing about how my experience in Trekkers has impacted my life is difficult because it truly cannot be put into words. Trekkers taught me about life, about the world, about citizenship, about leadership, about service, and about how to LIVE IN THE MOMENT. Side note – I now know how Don felt when we all asked him what we were doing next, because I have 20 kindergarteners who ask me this about 50 times a day! I’m trying to teach them to “live in the moment” as well. Trekkers is an incredible program that I was lucky enough to participate in, I can honestly say that I am the person I am today, in large part, because of Trekkers.
Lindsey Banda – Class of 2009
Since graduating from Trekkers in 2009, Lindsey has lived in the Tenants Harbor community, working full-time while taking classes towards a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Services at the University of Maine at Augusta. She enjoys her free time with her animals, friends and family. She also enjoys baking, and currently works at Atlantic Baking Company in Rockland.
The experiences I have been a part of through Trekkers has taught me to appreciate the moment I’m currently in, or as we Trekkies like to say, “Live in the moment.” It also taught me how to connect with my peers in a meaningful way, and to reflect on everything rather than react to everything. Trekkers has shown me some amazing places around the United States, and for that I am especially thankful. In 2008, I traveled to China with People to People as a student ambassador and I honestly don’t think I would have had the courage to step out of my comfort zone like that had it not been for the adventures Trekkers had previously led me on. 🙂
Jonas Edwards-Jenks, Class of 2009
Since graduating in 2009, Jonas attended Northeastern University in Boston where he studied political science and economics. As a part of his studies, Jonas studied in Buenos Aires, Argentina for a semester to learn Spanish and also was given internship opportunities through Northeastern’s Cooperative Education program which took him from a small government relations firm in Boston to the Massachusetts Governor’s Office and even to the White House in Washington, DC.
Since graduating in December 2013, Jonas has stayed in Boston and become an Associate at the government relations firm for which he previously interned. In this role, he manages of the firm’s political outreach and does fundraising consulting for political campaigns, merging the two fields of his study at Northeastern, money and politics, in an uncanny manner.
The impact Trekkers has had on my life is beyond the scope of what words can describe. The program didn’t make me a different person, but instead helped me through the journey of finding and becoming who I am, and more importantly, who I want to be. The Trekkers process helped me learn the importance of working together towards a common goal. The memories of all the various Trekkers trips may have deteriorated over time, but the lessons and friendships I gained will be with me forever. Life is an adventure, live in the moment, and keep on Trekkin!
Margaret Hoyt, Class of 2009
After graduating from Georges Valley High School in 2009, Margaret attended the University of Maine, where she earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Science with a concentration in Natural Resource Policy. While in school, she spent a semester at Sólheimar eco-village, an alternative living community in Iceland where she studied global environmental issues such as food security, renewable energy, carbon emissions, oil dependence, and more.
After college, Margaret moved to Portland, Maine and began interning for the Natural Resources Council of Maine (NRCM), the state’s leading environmental advocacy nonprofit. In 2014, Margaret lived for period of time on the Big Island of Hawaii, doing various work exchanges for local families and farms. In her free time, she paddled for the Keoua Canoe Club, snorkeled, camped, paddle-boarded, and surfed! In mid-2014, she returned to Maine to accept a full-time position at NRCM as an Administrative Assistant and Outreach Coordinator.
“The Trekkers program has influenced me tremendously. Through my years as a Trekker, I learned the importance of self-reflection, and saw the value in not only creating relationships with my peers, but also creating a healthy relationship with myself. Trekkers is a supportive, loving community that allows me to comfortably express my fears and challenge the boundaries of my comfort zone. Additionally, Trekkers trips gave me the opportunity to see some incredible places I would have otherwise never seen, and instilled a strong desire to protect those places for others to enjoy as I had. I feel so grateful to be a part of the Trekkers community.”
Jesse Ellis – Class of 2008
After graduating from Trekkers in 2008, Jesse got her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Elmira College in upstate New York in 2012. During her time at Elmira College, she worked for many offices on campus, including the Office of the President and the Office of Development.
Currently, Jesse is a graduate student at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C., getting her Masters in Social Work with a concentration in Deaf and Hard of Hearing populations. All of her classes are in American Sign Language, as the campus is a voice-off/hands-on campus. She participated in an internship with Iona Senior Services, where she helped DC’s elderly navigate the end of life decision and changes. She also is a therapeutic caretaker for a child who has had a very difficult past, helping him develop coping techniques and social skills.
Jesse graduated in May 2015 after an externship working with deaf children and their hearing parents in the field of transitional therapy, helping the parents and children navigate deaf culture, the options of technology, and the adjustment that is made with their hearing loss. But, trying to hold onto the “Here and Now” teachings of Trekkers, the rest is yet to be written. Her thoughts on the Trekkers experience:
“Trekkers has taught me many things – to find happiness within, to find peace with my past, and that it’s okay to ask for help. Trekkers opened my eyes to the world outside of our small fishing community and this influenced me greatly. I had the confidence to branch out and move into the Deaf and Hard of Hearing culture. Being a minority within the population would have not been possible if I had not learned about many other cultures through my travels with Trekkers. I would definitely not be on the path that I am on. Trekkers was the foundation for my ability to dream big and follow through.”
Ashley Geel, Class of 2008
After graduating from Georges Valley High School in 2008, I attended Saint Joseph’s College of Maine, in Standish, Maine. In 2012, I graduated with my Bachelors Degree in Sports Management with a Minor in Business Administration. While there, I played one year of softball and four years of basketball. In my basketball career, I was the only member of St. Joe’s in the men’s and woman’s history to accomplish over 1,000 points, 600 rebounds and 200 blocked shots. I was Captain of the team during my senior year and made it to the conference championship, but fell short. My senior year I was picked to the all GNAC 1st team All-Stars and New England. I was an active member of the Student Athlete Advisor Committee, S.A.A.C. and also Sports Management Student Association, S.M.S.A.
After graduating, I moved back home to St. George and started working at Sequal Care and Providence Service Corporation of Maine with developmentally disabled children for a couple of years before getting a position at Miller School in Waldoboro. I then worked at Miller School for a year and half in the resource room with special needs children. I made a hard decision to leave the Miller School to join the Day Treatment program at South School in Rockland to work as a Behavior Assistant. Besides working in the school system, I also coach basketball at Oceanside High School. I was the freshman girls coach in the 2013-2014 season and the JV girls coach in the 2014-2015 basketball season.
Being a Trekker changed me immensely, and I see it in my everyday life. Whether I am at work or coaching, I know some of the connections I have with the kids in my life comes naturally because of how Trekkers taught me to be myself, and I brush that off on the kids in my life. When I was put in the program I never wanted to be away from my parents, so traveling without them was scary, but after my first experience that all changed. I have grown to love traveling and exploring new places and opportunities. Trekkers not only taught me how to be a leader but also how to be a better ‘me’ and I couldn’t be more thankful!
Hannah Yovino, Class of 2008
Hannah Yovino graduated from Georges Valley High School in 2008 and went on to earn her Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Horticulture with a concentration in Design from the University of Maine. During the summer after her junior year, Hannah was in Washington, D.C. as an intern at the National Arboretum. After completing her degree, she moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to attend Chatham University’s Master of Arts Program in Food Studies. While in Pittsburgh, she studied how the food system works by examining how food is grown, harvested, sold, consumed, shared, disposed of and everything in-between. Hannah interned with the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank to conduct Feeding America’s Hunger Study. She surveyed participants to learn more about those whom are food insecure to build a better understanding of the issue with the hope to create solutions to the problems. Hannah also interned with Penn’s Corner Farm Alliance, a farmer’s cooperative, to set up a farmer’s market at their site.
In May, Hannah decided to venture back to Midcoast Maine to finish up her thesis on the perceptions of the Maine lobster and the marketing and branding of the commodity. After finishing her degree, Hannah moved to Old Town to being a FoodCorps term of service through the University of Maine Cooperative Extension in Penobscot and Piscataquis Counties. Her service allows her to teach kids about food and nutrition education, conduct hands-on activities like gardening and cooking, and works with Food Service Directors to provide kids with nutritious meals and source food from local farms.
Being a Trekker has had a huge impact on her life. Trekkers has allowed Hannah to break out of her quiet kid shell and to realize that it’s okay to push yourself during those uncomfortable moments. She has grown to love traveling and enjoy new experiences. She has taken her experiences and knowledge she has gained from Trekkers and has been able to implement the experience learning model with the kids she teaches. Trekkers has taught her to explore what you love and she cannot be more thankful for her experiences with the program.
Bryson Cowan, Class of 2008
After graduating from Georges Valley and Trekkers in 2008, Bryson attended Connecticut College, where she earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Government and Economic & Environmental Analysis. During her time in Connecticut, Bryson interned for a US Congressman, worked as an Admissions Fellow, and volunteered for an urban gardening initiative. She also studied abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark, spent a summer studying government relations at Georgetown, and enjoyed a summer as a researcher for one of her favorite environmental authors in Boston.
Following graduation, Bryson joined Development Guild/DDI, a national consulting firm in Boston that provides fundraising and executive search services to non-profits. As a consultant, she works with a variety of clients to advise and grow their fundraising programs to ensure effective mission delivery, and within the firm she has honed an expertise in talent management for social service organizations.
“Looking back throughout my middle and high school experience, the impact Trekkers had on the most pivotal time in my life is immeasurable. I am so grateful for the opportunities I was provided as both a student and a leader; they brought me out of my comfort zone while giving me tools to grow and succeed. Additionally, on a professional level, the admiration and appreciation I have first-hand for Trekkers as a nonprofit makes it extra rewarding to be working in this field!”
Aley Watts, Class of 2008
Aley graduated from Georges Valley High School in 2008, and went on to earn her Bachelor’s Degree in International Studies at Endicott College in Beverly, Massachusetts. Aley took a year off from school to travel to Ghana, where she volunteered for two months teaching English at an orphanage and building classrooms at elementary schools. As part of an internship requirement at Endicott, Aley spent one month in Guatemala working in a women’s rights office. During her junior year, she studied abroad for a semester at Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona in Barcelona, Spain. While in Barcelona, she was able to travel and experience many European countries. After graduating in 2012, Aley spent three weeks aboard the Maersk Iowa, a container ship that her father works on. They traveled down the east coast and across to England, Netherlands, and Germany.
After returning home, Aley moved to Portland, Maine where she currently lives, and began an AmeriCorps term of service, serving in the Portland Public Schools as the Make It Happen Middle School Coordinator, a college readiness and academic support program for English Language Learners. Aley served through AmeriCorps in 2015 on Mackworth Island in Falmouth, Maine at the REAL School, an adventure-based, alternative school serving students whose needs have not been met in traditional school programs.
When asked about the Trekkers program, Aley said, “Trekkers has had an incredible impact on my life. The relationships I have made and the experiences I have had played a major role in shaping who I am today. It was through Trekkers that I realized my passion for travel and humanitarian service. Trekkers taught me that life isn’t a race for success. It’s about seeking happiness and once you find that, everything else will fall into place.”
Amy Choudari – Class of 2007
In 2014, Amy lived in Granada, Nicaragua volunteering at a home for girls ages 3-18. These girls live there for various reasons, including extreme poverty, domestic abuse, drug/alcohol abuse within the family, deceased parents and more. My work at the home consisted of helping with homework, getting the girls ready for school in the morning, facilitating games and group activities, as well as preparing two healthy snacks daily for the girls. I also started and promoted Snacks for Success, and with the help of the community was able to raise nearly $2,200. This way, the girls could enjoy a healthy snack in the morning and afternoon, and as a result, there was an improvement in behavior and school performance. The photo is of me and my 7 year old goddaughter Belinda on the day of her baptism. She has been living at the girl’s home for two years.
I am currently working towards my Masters in Social Work at Boston College.
Here’s some of my thoughts about Trekkers! I can honestly say with 100% confidence that being in Trekkers has made a lifelong impact on me. Through the program, I discovered my love of travel and learning about new and diverse cultures. I also learned the importance of giving back, and what it means to serve others. I have Trekkers to thank for helping to form me into the person I am today, as well as teaching me to continually seek ways in which I can better my life and the lives of others. I feel blessed to be a part of the Trekkers family, and am so happy that the youth in the Midcoast have the opportunity to take part in this unique experience.
Carrie Letourneau, Class of 2007
Carrie attended Wheaton College in Massachusetts, and graduated with a Degree in Biology in 2011. Upon graduation, Carrie spent six weeks backpacking around Europe before moving to Boston to intern in animal care at the Museum of Science and Development at the John F. Kennedy Foundation. After a year of teaching informal science at the Science & Discovery Center of Northwest Florida, Carrie moved to Williamsburg, Virginia where she is currently employed by the College of William & Mary in their Office of University Advancement.
Having spent the last several years working for a variety of education non-profits, Carrie has said that she is consistently reminded of how special Trekkers is. “I’m excited about how the program is expanding, and I’m confident that it will continue to offer top-notch opportunities in leadership, travel, and social awareness to more and more students. I can’t wait to see what happens next!”
Victoria George, Class of 2007
After graduating Georges Valley High School in 2007, I attended Salve Regina University in Newport, Rhode Island. I began by taking classes in the criminal justice field, but quickly switched my major to Early Childhood Education with a minor in Special Education. I graduated in 2011, and decided to stay in Newport and teach summer school for a combined K-1 classroom. I told myself that I would waitress and do odd jobs until I found a teaching job. In August 2011, I was offered a kindergarten position at Narragansett Elementary School. It was here that I taught kindergarten as well as second grade.
While living in Deer Isle for the summer of 2013, I was contemplating moving back to Maine to be closer to my family. On a whim, I decided to apply for only one position in Blue Hill, Maine. Call it fate or good timing, but three days after submitting my application, I was offered a 1st grade position at the Blue Hill Consolidated School. Two weeks later school began and I have been loving it ever since. I will continue to teach 1st grade in the fall, but for now I am living in Deer Isle and waitressing at the Factory Tavern in Stonington, Maine.
The impact that Trekkers has made on me is somewhat indescribable. More so, the relationships that I have formed, that wouldn’t have been possible otherwise, are worth their weight in gold. Until going on the college trip, I didn’t realize that there were so many possibilities after high school. It made me see that there was a big, wide world waiting for me. Whenever talking to new people about growing up and how I ended up here or there, I always find myself saying, “Have you heard of Trekkers? No? Well let me tell you…” And for that, I am grateful.
Luke Martin, Class of 2007
After completing the Trekkers program and serving two years on its Board of Directors, Luke attended the University of Vermont where he double-majored in Political Science and English. While at UVM, he studied the political effects of popular media on the political socialization of the Millennial Generation (namely the Harry Potter series) and was the campaign manager for a successful Vermont State Senate campaign.
After graduating in 2011, Luke moved to Washington D.C. with his girlfriend of six years to pursue a career in politics. For the past several years, he has worked at Victoria Research & Consulting, a political consulting firm that specializes in campaign strategy for Democratic candidates.
When asked about the Trekkers program, Luke said, “I owe a lot to the Trekkers program and to the relationships I forged throughout my time in it. Trekkers taught me a lot about seeing the world outside of just yourself and being aware of those around you. I think that had a great effect on me and the way I look at life. I always heard people say that anyone can make a difference, but Trekkers really made me believe that was true – that believing in yourself will give you purpose in life. Those two things really influenced why I chose to go into politics, to try and make a difference for those around me.”
Although Luke loves living in D.C., he says he still misses Maine… especially when the skiing is good!
Misty Start – Class of 2007
Misty Start, a 2007 graduate of Georges Valley High School, earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from Franklin Pierce University in Rindge, New Hampshire in 2011. Aside from academics, Misty was an active member in the Student Government Association, Interfaith Ministries, and Women’s Rugby, while competing in NCAA Division II Women’s Tennis. Misty also participated in the Study Abroad Program where she attended the Hellenic American University in Athens, Greece in 2008.
Following graduation, Misty began her career in non-profit management with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Mid Maine as the School Based Mentoring Manager serving Knox and Lincoln counties. In 2012, she moved to Hubli, India to pursue her interest in international relations and humanitarian affairs at the Deshpande Foundation, an NGO offering entrepreneurs education, mentorship, and financial support to create sustainable systems and programs to combat some of India’s biggest social challenges.
Misty was the former Director of the Thomaston Recreation Department and has recently moved to Lexington, Massachusetts. “Trekkers opened my mind and my heart to the beauty and adventure in our world. Reaching the summit of Cadillac Mountain, exploring the depths of earth in the Laurel Caverns, dipping my toes in the Pacific… let me reach higher, dig deeper, and go further than I ever could have imagined.”
ALUMNI PROFILES – 2004-2006
Ned Rich – Class of 2006
Ned Rich joined Trekkers in 11th grade and graduated from the program in 2006. The following year, he started school at University of Maine at Orono, majoring in International Affairs with a concentration in Anthropology. He took some time off after Freshman year to travel cross-country, but returned to UMaine the following fall to finish his degree. He graduated with honors in 2011.
Immediately after graduating from UMaine, Ned starting working at PenBay Solutions, a software company in Southern Maine founded by his father, Stu. PenBay specializes in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and offers solutions to help organizations make their facilities operate more efficiently and safely through map-based analysis tools. Ned started in the marketing department and eventually got involved in technical project work, learning systems administration, database administration, and spatial data management skills along the way. In his current position as an implementation specialist, Ned is responsible for the design and delivery of enterprise GIS solutions for customers across a variety of industries, from universities to hospitals to federal agencies, and as far away as Australia. Ned currently lives in Portland and has participated in the 7th grade Trekkers program for the past several years as a volunteer.
“I feel profoundly fortunate to have participated in Trekkers as a student and as a volunteer. As a student, Trekkers taught me how to challenge myself, build strong relationships, and to be present in everything I do. As a volunteer leader, I am continually inspired by the courage, attitude and energy of the students. I am forever grateful to Trekkers, and I hope that I can keep giving back to the program for years to come!”
Elias Edwards-Jenks – Class of 2006
Elias graduated from Georges Valley High School in 2006 and went on to earn his Bachelor’s Degree in International Affairs at the University of Maine at Orono. He studied abroad for a semester at Universidad de Andres Bello in Santiago, Chile. Elias also took a year off from college to road trip across the country, eventually ending up in Los Angeles, where he lived for several months before returning to Maine to complete his degree.
Elias currently lives in Portland, Maine and works for PenBay Solutions in Brunswick, where he does Marketing and Business Development. In his free time, Elias likes to play music with other Trekkers Alumni in the band “Chaos Sauce.” They frequently play in the Portland area and have also made appearances in years past at local events such as Trekkaplooza and the Rockland Lobster Festival.
“Trekkers has had the most profound impact on my life, not only in my time as a Trekkers student, but also in the leadership experiences they have given me. I have been fortunate enough to be able to participate in numerous 7th grade expeditions to Acadia National Park as part of the leadership teams, and being able to give back to the program that has given me so much is something that never gets old. The experiences I have had, and the relationships I have made through this organization have without a doubt shaped who I am today,” reflected Elias.
Chelsie Eugley, Class of 2006 (Chelsie, pictured on right, with her girlfriend Daisy Portlock)
Since graduating in 2006, Chelsie attended the University of Southern Maine where she studied Athletic Training. Throughout her college career she worked with hundreds of athletes across southern Maine, as well as being an athlete herself playing softball for the university. She involved herself in many clubs and organizations that allowed her to work and build relationships with people from all walks of life. Some, but not all, were children at the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital, elite marathon runners crossing the finish line in Boston and in Maine, as well as Allied Health Professionals from the USA’s very own Olympic training center. As a sophomore, Chelsie was chosen to be a residential advisor for the incoming freshmen the following year. She found this role to be less challenging than most of her fellow RA’s because of the leadership skills she attained during her Trekkers experience and she was confidently able to incorporate these skills into her daily life as an RA. Prior to graduation, she fulfilled her internship requirement by traveling to the Dominican Republic and providing health care to the villages in and around Lajas, which is not far from the Haitian border. At the time of the major earthquake, she had just returned from a Haitian village and was getting settled for dinner at Fusimania, which was her home base in Lajas. Fortunately for her and her fellow team members, the quake didn’t happen hours earlier and a week later they returned home safely. After graduation in 2010, Chelsie decided not to go right into grad school for her Masters and instead took a couple of years to live in Portland working with special needs adults, as she has always had a passion for volunteering and coaching Special Olympics. She also joined multiple coed sports teams in southern Maine playing all year-round to keep herself active.
In 2012, she applied to Maine Medical Centers School of Surgical Technology and was accepted into their one-year accelerated program. Upon graduation, she passed her board of certification exam and worked at Maine Medical’s Scarborough Surgery Center before taking a job at Portland Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery Center, where she is currently employed.
Like many have said before me, words cannot express what Trekkers means or is to me. I’d like to believe that I express what Trekkers is everyday with how I carry myself and live my life. Practicing kindness to others, giving back to this world that has given so much to me, and staying focused on this beautiful moment we call right now. Living life to its fullest and never losing the desire to learn and explore. I’m forever blessed to be a part of something that empowers so many young minds every day, and that has so greatly instilled within us to be the very best we can be. Keep on trekkin! Much peace and love.
Freya Levett, Class of 2006
After graduating from Connecticut College in 2010, Freya moved to London to complete her Masters in History of Art from Christie’s Education. Always an avid sports fan, upon returning to the States she went on a three-month-long road trip in which she saw a baseball game at all 30 Major League Baseball stadiums. She is now in Boston, Massachusetts where she hopes to find a job in the art world.
“Trekkers helped fuel my desire to travel and gave me confidence to explore new places, which I hope to continue to do for the rest of my life,” said Freya.
Britta Sturks, Class of 2005
After graduating from GVHS in 2005, I attended University of Southern Maine for one year before moving back to the Midcoast and taking classes at a distance through University of Maine. While completing my Bachelor’s Degree I worked in local schools as an education technician. Much of my time was spent in Portland working at Yarmouth High School in the life skills special education program. Upon graduating from the University of Maine in 2010, I decided that I needed to make a change.
While finishing my undergraduate degree I decided that I would apply to one graduate school and if I got in I would go! Well here we are and I have a Master’s Degree! I graduated from Northeastern University in December 2012 with a M.S. in Nonprofit Management and Leadership. While most of my time at Northeastern was spent in the virtual classroom of the World Wide Web, I decided that my last semester I would like to be closer to the institution as I completed my thesis project. That is when I decided to make the move to Boston with no real clear vision of what I was going to do for work or even where I was going to live. In 2014, she worked at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, Massachusetts.She recently relocated back to the Midcoast area where she is now working as the Admissions Coordinator at Wayfinder Schools. She is also the first former Trekkers student to join the Trekkers’ organization’s board!
The impact that Trekkers has made on my life has been somewhat unimaginable. The relationships I have formed over the past 15 years have been ones that have gotten me through some of the toughest times of my life. They have allowed me to see what it means to have true authentic friendships, and how to surround yourself with people who embody pure happiness. Trekkers allowed me to see the world as a blank canvas and to do with it what I choose. There is a world out there waiting to embrace you and guide you through this amazing thing called life. Hold on and enjoy the ride! 🙂
Megan (Watts) Berube – Class of 2004
Megan (Watts) Berube graduated from the University of Vermont College of Medicine in 2012 and began her pediatric residency at Maine Medical Center. She is currently in a neonatology fellowship phase of her training. As a neonatologist, Megan will specialize in the care of premature and critically ill newborns.
Megan is living outside of Portland, Maine with her husband, Bryan, and their daughter, Nora. In their free time, they love to enjoy the great restaurant scene in Portland, and in the summer they get outside and to the beach as much as possible!
Megan shares this about how Trekkers influenced her life, “I’m thankful to have been a part of the Trekkers program during my adolescence, and I continue to apply valuable lessons in self-confidence and team-work in my day to day life!”
Michael Percy – Class of 2004
After graduating in 2004, I attended Southern Maine Community College, receiving two Associates Degrees, one in Fire Science Technology and the other in Paramedicine. I graduated from SMCC in 2008. I then spent the next four years working as a paramedic in the Midcoast area. My last position was actually as Operations Manager for St. George Ambulance, which was a privilege since that is my home town. I left the ambulance service in the fall of 2012, and took a position with Gateway Towing in New Haven, Connecticut. I currently sail for them as an able seaman, and continue to pursue my goal of reaching captain.
The experiences I have taken away from my time in Trekkers have provided me with social tools I have used throughout both of my careers. The team building, problem solving and love of meeting new people, and the memories made on my expeditions are ones I hold dear. Trekkers has become a part of my extended family. I would like to close by telling all new Trekkers to savor the experience, take it all in and enjoy it. These are memories that you will talk about with friends for life.
Rachel Campbell – Class of 2004
Rachel is a graduate of the University of Maine and has been a 7th grade English and Social Studies teacher at Rockland District Middle School for several years. In 2013, she was honored to receive 1st place for Best Teacher in the “Best of the Best of Knox County/Village Soup”. She coached JV softball at Oceanside High School for 2 years and is now the assistant coach for the girl’s varsity softball team at Oceanside.
Not only is Rachel a gifted educator, she is creative by nature as well! A passion in Rachel’s life has always been photography. She recently started her own business, Rachel C Photography, photographing weddings, senior pictures, engagements and more.
“Trekkers helped me appreciate where I live and gave me the opportunity to explore my options as a high school student. It definitely made me look forward to my future and where I wanted to go in life. It left me with many experiences and some of the best memories from high school,” says Rachel about her experience with Trekkers.
Kate Letourneau – Class of 2004
Kate finished her last semester of a nurse practitioner program at Mass General Hospital in Boston in 2014. Her focus was on primary care for adults, with her main interest being in geriatrics, palliative care and end of life issues. Currently she is completing her clinical placement with Boston HealthCare for the Homeless, where she is working with people whose lives have been hugely affected by poverty, drugs, and/or illness.
Before NP school, Kate “taught science, built greenhouses for a climate change study, drove around Michigan getting saliva samples from preschoolers for a study on childhood obesity, pulled espresso shots in a coffee shop, and did a few short-term jobs too weird to try to summarize here.”
Kate now lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts with her husband, Andy, who studies the renewable energy industry. They enjoy camping and getting outside, cooking, geeking out over board games, and scheming about moving back to Maine. Kate credits Trekkers for a lot of good things in her life, particularly the idea that there’s nothing more important than relationships and community, and with her lust for travel, which has taken her across the Caribbean on a sailboat with SEA Semester, to Newfoundland, the California desert, India & Bangladesh, the Rockies, and Australia…and had her dreaming about one more big trip before she started her first NP job.
ALUMNI PROFILES – 2003
(this was the first graduation of students who had completed the six-year program)
Bennett Moore – Class of 2003
Bennett Moore was part of the first Trekkers class ever. Since then, he has moved forward into several successful careers. He joined the U.S. Army in 2003 as a Paratrooper. His U.S. Army career went from 2003-2008. He was stationed at Ft. Bragg, NC with the 82nd Airborne Division as Airborne Infantry. While an Infantryman, he held many duty positions. During his time in the 82ndAirborne Division, he competed in the Soldier of the Year competition in 2006 against 7000 other soldiers. He came in 1st place and was the 82nd Airborne Soldier of the year in 2006. He then moved into the 3rd Brigade Scout Platoon and was one of their three Sniper Team leaders. While in the 82nd Airborne Division he was deployed two times. He spent 60 days aiding in Hurricane Katrina support on a Humanitarian deployment, helping evacuate victims of the tragedy and restore stability and security to the area. After that, he spent 18 months in Iraq participating in Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF).
After being honorably discharged from the U.S. Army, Bennett then started his next career at Schomp MINI, a MINI Cooper Dealership in Colorado. He worked at Schomp MINI from December of 2008 to September of 2014. He started out as a MINI Service technician there and within 2 ½ years he was a Mastertech and Technician Team Leader. A few years later, he was promoted to Shop Foreman and also assisted the Dealer in warranty operations, process improvement, 3g administration, and Battery Care.
In September of 2014, he was hired on by BMW North America as a MINI Aftersales Area Manager Position for the Western North Region. He now oversees the Aftersales operations of eight MINI Cooper dealerships in six states in the USA. His experience with the Trekkers organization has truly led him on the road to success at an early age.
Annie Bailey, Class of 2003
Annie is a multi-media artist based in Midcoast Maine. Through the lens of painting, sculpture and animation, her work investigates and celebrates concepts of authenticity, the environment, playfulness and solitude.
Since graduating from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2010, she has had the opportunity to travel, teach, and make work all over the world. Annie has worked for National Geographic, the Farnsworth Art Museum, as well as various individual artists. Her work has been shown in Maine, Alaska, Rhode Island, Washington DC and New York City.
The Trekkers program modeled a way of participating and engaging in the world that she uses everyday as an artist. Annie’s gratitude for the Trekkers program and mentors is far reaching; from lessons in curiosity and openness, to courage and endurance, Trekkers has made a large impact on the way she lives her life.
Taylor Stenger, Class of 2003
Taylor is a 2003 graduate of the Trekkers program and one of the first classes to be given the opportunity to ride the bus. After graduating high school, he served in the US Army until 2010 with one deployment to Iraq and reached the rank of Sergeant as an unmanned aerial systems (UAS) pilot and instructor. Upon completing his time in service, he returned home to St. George, ME during which a car pulled in front of his motorcycle. Luckily, he was wearing full gear and only suffered a broken femur and patella. Six months after the accident, and with the support of his doctors, friends and family, Taylor was able to accept a job as a UAS instructor in Utah. Two months after arriving in Utah, he was able to complete an 11-mile hike in Canyonlands, Utah. He has continued moving forward ever since.
Taylor graduated from University of Southern Maine in May, 2015 with a Major in Psychology and a Minor in Recreation Leadership. He plans on pursuing a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology starting next fall. He continues to support Trekkers whenever homework assignments allow it, either by supporting Trekkers functions, or as a leader on various trips. Trekkers was an important impact on his life and he will always support such an influential program. His future goal is to work within the Maine Veteran Affairs system, providing care and assistance to his fellow veterans. Oh, and he recently married his best friend, Meredith Batley in August, and looks forward to a wonderful future!
HOW YOU CAN HELP TREKKERS AS AN ALUMNI:
- Post a message on our Alumni Facebook page
- Submit a class note on the Alumni Facebook page
- Provide an alumni profile for our Facebook page. Tell us your story and how Trekkers impacted your life.
- Attend a Trekkers event and bring a friend!
- Volunteer (click here for opportunities and an application):
- Join a committee and help us organize a fundraiser or event.
- Help us spread the word about fundraisers and events – through word-of-mouth or social media
- Encourage your family, employers and social networks to become supporters or sponsors of all things Trekkers!
- Sponsor a Trekkers student by donating to the Scholarship Fund
- Donate an item from our “wish list”
- Serve as campus guide for our College/Career Exploration visits to colleges, universities, trade schools and art schools
- Network with other alumni and stay connected to Trekkers
- Sign up for our weekly Newsflash