Trekkers connects young people with caring adults through expeditionary learning, community service and adventure-based education.
Each year, Trekkers provides educational, experiential, and cross-cultural opportunities to more than 180 young people from six communities in a rural part of midcoast Maine. With an emphasis on relationship building and an appreciation of the earth as "educator," our goal is to be a part of students’ lives from grade to grade and year to year.
Trekkers' long-term mentoring model follows students as they "graduate" from one program into the next along a six-year journey that starts when they are in 7th grade and continues until they graduate. Students are actively involved in planning, designing and implementing their grade-specific expedition each year. These life-changing expeditions incorporate five educational components: community service, cultural awareness, environmental stewardship, wilderness exploration and adventure-based education.
Students collectively decide how they will fulfill the five educational components. They use consensus-based decision-making to determine a set of rules that will govern
their participation in Trekkers, including academic requirements (such as maintaining a passing Grade Point Average and minimizing the number of school suspensions, etc.), along with expectations for sharing tasks, and the
agreement not to use drugs, alcohol or tobacco while in the program.
Trekkers teaches valuable life skills and develops each student’s self-esteem and leadership potential through hands-on experiences in wilderness areas and community settings. Students study the environmental issues of unique bioregions, hike/camp in national parks, learn U.S. history on the National Mall, and give back to their communities by volunteering with groups like the Habitat for Humanity.
- Collaborates with teachers and parents to foster personal and educational development in the lives of students;
- Recruits, trains, and encourages local adults to take a leadership role in meeting the critical needs of students; and
- Provides students with alternative learning communities which cultivate responsibility to self, others, and the planet.
Since 1994, Trekkers has changed the lives of more than 500 area youth through its unique outdoor-based, long-term mentoring approach:
- 93% of students who enter the Trekkers program graduate from high school, compared to 78% of their peers (Maine Dept. of Education (2010))
- 85% of students who enter our program in 7th grade stay with the program until they graduate (7% of the students move out of the service area)
- 72% go on to some form of higher education or the armed services (compared to 62% of their peers)
- 46% of all our students choose to take part in our Leadership Program when they are eligible,
and become student leaders for their younger counterparts in the program.
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