Cultivating the inherent strengths of young people through the power of long-term mentoring relationships.
We value partnering with families, schools and community members over going it alone.
We value the person over the program.
We value the process over the outcome.
We value authentic, open and honest dialogue over top-down leadership.
We value challenging our perceived limitations over the security of the status quo.
Trekkers Youth Programming Principles
1. Designing Intentional Program Delivery Systems for Long Term Engagement
Creating small, inclusive, purposeful learning communities and designing a multi–year, “step–ladder” program model that works with young people and their families over time. This long–term commitment to relationship-building allows for the time and space needed to adapt to the ever–changing developmental needs, strengths, and interests of young people.
2. Fostering Mutual Trust Between Families and Program Staff
Nurturing a caring, compassionate, and equitable relationship between program staff and the parents, caregivers, and extended family members responsible for raising the young people participating in the program.
3. Developing a Skilled Network of Caring Adults and Peer Mentors
Recruiting and training a diverse group of adult and peer mentors who have an openness and willingness to learn about young people’s complex identities in order to play a critical role in meeting their relational needs and promoting their strengths over time.
4. Applying a Comprehensive Approach to Youth Development Strategies
Building targeted holistic youth development methods into the overall program model to help young people find self–identified success and navigate challenges during adolescence–with a focus on proven promotion, prevention and intervention strategies that support the lived experiences of the students served.
5. Create a Community Support Network
Assembling diverse, culturally relevant and responsive support networks for young people by partnering with parents, caregivers, schools, key community stakeholders, health services and other youth advocate agencies to help meet the unique needs and strengths of each young person served.
6. Prioritizing Informal Relationship Building
Showing up and being present in the lives of youth and families outside of formal programming. Building into the program model a clear commitment to connect with young people in their world through intentional and strategic community outreach.
7. Expanding Worldviews
Creating experiential learning opportunities that connect youth with people, culture, places and natural resources that exist outside the reach of their everyday lives.
8. Embracing Voice & Choice
Sharing power and giving young people input into the decision–making process.
9. Encouraging Community Engagement to Foster Personal and Societal Awareness
Incorporating experiences that support young people in understanding themselves within the larger societal context –emphasizing the role those cultural norms, individual beliefs, institutions and systems all play in shaping their sense of identity and the world they’re growing up in.
10. Raising Optimism and Post-Secondary Aspirations
Designing targeted experiences to help youth explore, identify, and cultivate their individual talents, sparks, and learning interests as they transition to and through high school.
11. Utilizing Validated Assessment Tools to Promote Social-Emotional Development in Youth
Collecting social–emotional development and resiliency data to inform program practice and build strength–based strategies to support individual prevention and intervention strategies.
Amie Hutchison, Executive Director
Amie joined the Trekkers team as Executive Director in 2016. She attended the University of Maine at Orono and Hunter College in New York. Her previous work includes serving as Executive Director of the P.A.W.S. Animal Adoption Center and Program Director at Youthlinks. Amie has deep roots in the community. She grew up in Rockport and is a past President of Rockland Rotary. She is a CrossFit coach and retired roller derby skater. She lives in Cushing with her husband and their dog.
Kate Elmes, Director of Development
Kate serves as Trekkers’ Director of Development, working to build Trekkers’ visibility, impact, and financial resources. Kate is passionate about helping individuals and families make a meaningful impact in their community through an investment in Trekkers. Prior to joining the Trekkers team, Kate was a Development Officer at the Island Institute and worked at Kieve-Wavus. Kate holds a B.A from Lesley University with Degrees in Women’s Studies and Political Science. In her free time, Kate is active on numerous boards that foster youth and female leadership in Maine. Kate lives in Damariscotta with her husband, Andrew, and their dogs, Piper and Lucy.
Brandon Caron, Program Director
Brandon is Trekkers’ Program Director. He has a B.A. in Outdoor Education with a concentration in Adventure Leadership from Johnson State College in Vermont. He is an alumnus of Trekkers and has served as an expedition leader, mentor and AmeriCorps member. He has worked with local youth in a number of different roles as well as in Vermont as a mentor for Laraway Youth and Family Services. He not only believes in, but has experienced, the power and importance of youth being connected to their community. In his free time, you’ll likely find him on a mountain, in the woods, on the water, or in a hammock.
Diane Sternberg, Trekkers Training Director
Katlyn Rich, Program Manager
After being an AmeriCorp intern with Trekkers, Katlyn joined the team as a Program Manager in 2019. In May of 2018 she received a B.S. in University Studies from the University of Maine at Orono with focus areas in Humanities, Social Sciences, and Mathematics. Katlyn grew up in Tenants Harbor and was able to watch her brothers and friends learn and grow from the many benefits of Trekkers. Although she didn’t have the privilege to go through the program herself, she is very happy to be a part of the Trekkers team and the community that she grew up in. Katlyn enjoys spending time in the outdoors, particularly near any body of water, as well as with friends and family.
TJ Morris, Program Manager
TJ joined the Trekkers team as a Program Manager in September of 2019. She first became interested in outdoor education as a student in Washington State, where she went on a three-day sailing expedition. Since then, she has achieved a B.S. in Marine Biology from the University of Hawaii and worked at a number of outdoor education organizations on tall ships and on land. She originally came to Midcoast Maine in 2017 to work as an outdoor educator with the Chewonki Foundation, and fell in love with the rocky coastline and the tight-knit community. In her spare time she loves to curl up with her cat, Tractor, and a good book.
Kaleb Robinson, Program Manager
Kaleb joined Trekkers as a Program Manager in December of 2020. In the spring of 2019, Kaleb graduated from the University of Maine in Orono with a B.S in Business Management, with a concentration in International Management and a minor in Leadership Studies. Kaleb is an Alumnus of the Trekkers class of 2015, and became involved as a student leader and adult volunteer. He enjoys helping foster relationships, building community, and spending time outdoors with students, volunteers, and Trekkers staff. Outside of Trekkers you would most likely find Kaleb spending time with friends either cooking, playing board games, exploring outside, or a combination of all three!
Teresa Valdepeñas, Communications & Impact Manager
Tess enjoys finding creative ways to engage the community! Before starting at Trekkers in 2019, Tess worked at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Mid-Maine in Camden as a Community-Based Manager. Originally from Massachusetts, she she spent over a decade in Boston, MA working in advertising agencies as a creative strategist for large and small business clients. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Boston University in Communications. Outside the office, you can find Tess birding on Beauchamp Point, tending to veggie plants, or toasting s’mores around a campfire. Tess lives in Camden with her husband.
Lauren Lewis, Administrative Coordinator
Lauren is the Administrative Coordinator at Trekkers. She attended the University of Connecticut for her BFA and Winterthur/University of Delaware for her MS and Certificate in Art Conservation. She moved to Maine in 1998 and has worked in several nonprofit organizations in the area since then. Most recently, she was office manager for the Camden Conference. She was drawn to work for Trekkers because, as a mother to a middle schooler, she has become very aware of the challenges youth are facing, especially in recent years. Her other passion is art, and she maintains a painting conservation studio in Rockland. She lives in Thomaston with her husband and daughter and a small menagerie of pets.
Jamie Fullerton, Finance Assistant
Jamie is Trekkers’ Finance Assistant. She joined the team after being in financial services in Southern Maine for many years, holding positions in Accounting and Finance. Jamie holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management from the University of Maine. In addition to working for Trekkers, she also sub-teaches in local schools at all grade levels. She enjoys being involved with youth which makes Trekkers an ideal fit for her interests and passion. In her free time, she enjoys reading, hiking, gardening, traveling and just being outdoors. She lives in South Thomaston.
Mitchell DelFrate, AmeriCorps Member
Mitchell joined Trekkers as an AmeriCorp member in January 2021. Prior to then, he spent three years studying Surveying Engineering Technology at the University of Maine. As a Trekkers Alum (Class of 2017), he enjoys building meaningful relationships with students as a way to give back to the community. He is happy to be part of organization that was so influential for him as a student. Outside of the office you will mostly find Mitchell working out, reading, and spending time with family.
Ryker Weaver, AmeriCorps Member
Ryker joined Trekkers as an AmeriCorps member in December of 2021. Ryker graduated from Oceanside Highschool in 2021 and is a Trekkers Alumni of the Class of 2021. He is currently taking a gap year before diving into the college world to major in Adventure Therapy. Ryker is also currently working on becoming a Maine Guide. Outside of the office you will mostly find Ryker climbing, hiking, kayaking, or canoeing.
Myla Ferland, AmeriCorps Member
Myla is finishing up her degree at the University of Maine as a social work major. She is a Trekkers alumna and was a part of the student leadership program; after she graduated in 2019 she continued to work with Trekkers as a volunteer before joining as an Americorps member in January 2022! When not working with Trekkers, Myla enjoys music, reading, hiking, and spending quality time with her friends and family.
Reach Myla via firstname.lastname@example.org
OUR LEADERSHIP TEAM
Kathleen Meil, President
Camden – Policy and Partnerships Director, Maine Conservation Voters
Matthew Graham, Vice President
Spruce Head – Chief Operating Officer, Lyman Morse
Eric Waters, Treasurer
Spruce Head – Retired CFO/COO, Parent of a Trekkers Alum
Alyssa Landrith, Secretary
Rockland – Trekkers Alum, Co-Owner of Adventure Advertising
Bryson Cowan King
Roslindale, MA – Trekkers Alum, Assistant Director of Philanthropy and Engagement, Beaver County Day School
Rockland – Owner, City + Harbor Real Estate Group
Rockland – Trekkers Alum, Student at Husson University
Tenants Harbor – Community Member
Tenants Harbor – Parent of Current Trekkers Student and Alumni
Rockport, ME and Bryn Mawr, PA
St George – Current Trekkers Student, Camden Hills Regional High School
Jack Carpenter, Founding Member
Rockland – Executive Director, Youth Forum Maine, Inc.
Thomaston Family Dentistry
Trekkers is tremendously grateful for the generosity of our business partners and their support of our community. For more information on our sponsorship program, including how to become a partner, please contact Kate Elmes.
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