PROGRAMMING DURING THE PANDEMIC
Since March 2020, our team has continued to adapt programs, based on the latest safety guidance from across several trusted resources (see our COVID-19 Guidelines and Resources here.) We have also layered on efforts to serve the greater community – from food delivery to tutoring to personalized support for students outside typical programming.
Starting at the end of April and running through August, we plan to return to expeditions for all grades, as well as as two Student Leadership expeditions. To ensure our systems and protocols are guided by best practice, we are also working with an external outdoor risk management expert on a risk audit. Please reach out directly with any questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
CORE PROGRAM STRUCTURE
Our goal is to be a part of students’ lives from grade to grade and year to year. Trekkers 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.
Trekkers is a six-year program that connects young people with caring adults. These relationships help young people grow into resilient, thriving, responsible young adults. The key is that trusting bond between a student and a program manager that lasts a full six years, from seventh grade through graduation.
And throughout all those years, program managers spend time with students where they are, meet with their parents, teachers, coaches, and guidance counselors. A network of deeply committed volunteers helps further strengthen this safety net. These steady, evolving relationships provide a stable structure for cultivating growth and keeping kids on a positive course through the precarious teen years. Trekkers’ students are statistically more likely to graduate high school and go on to some form of higher education than an average Maine high school student.
- Seventh graders new to the program go on an excursion to Acadia National Park to canoe or kayak, rock climb, hike, and camp.
- Eighth graders travel in the fall and in the summer. Teams learn to make decisions together as they plan trips. For example, we’ve hiked Mt. Osceola in Waterville Valley, and visited renewable energy facilities.
- In ninth grade, students go on an expedition to explore cities and culture, trekking to places like Washington, DC.
- Tenth graders explore a new landscape. In past years, students have gone to the Grand Canyon, the Florida Everglades, and Northwest rainforests.
- Eleventh graders think about their future. They visit colleges or trade schools of interest, explore different career options, as well as goals and strategies for personal well-being.
- Twelfth graders embark on a five-day wilderness adventure which includes a 36-hour solo. It’s a time of reflection and students celebrate the bonds they’ve made over 6 years.
Students are deeply involved in selecting, planning, and preparing for all of these trips.
SEVENTH GRADE TRIP
On this first trip, Trekkers brings its new 7th grade teams, student leaders, and caring adults from the community to explore Acadia National Park over a long weekend in May. All participants take part in a pre-trip, 3-week orientation which includes team-building, small group discussions, and a canoe orientation. On the trip, teams hike, rock climb, canoe and share their experiences throughout the weekend. The goal of this expedition is to provide a shared wilderness experience for new students, junior and senior student leaders, and adults from the community. The experience connects young people to their community and begin to form the relationships that can last throughout the rest of their high school years.
EIGHTH GRADE TRIP
In 8th grade, Trekkers have two expeditions: a 3-day trip in the fall and a 10-day expedition in the summer. Students meet throughout the school year to plan the trip together, learning how to make decisions and work together as a team. Each monthly meeting, students are participate in team-building exercises, problem-solving initiatives, and the consensus decision-making process. Expeditions around five-educational components: Service Learning, Cultural Awareness, Environmental education, Adventure-based Education, and Wilderness Component.
NINTH GRADE TRIP
In this year, 9th graders explore cities, cultures, and perspectives that they might be less familiar with but are curious to learn more about. The focus of this program is to expose students to the environmental, economic and cultural similarities and differences that exist between Midcoast Maine and cultures of major cities down the East Coast.
TENTH GRADE TRIP
At the end of 10th grade program year, students embark on a 12-day expedition. The focus of the expedition is to visit, explore and learn about the environmental uniqueness of a particular bio-region within the United States. Examples from the past include: the Grand Canyon, Mesa Verde National Park (Cliff Dwellings), Florida Everglades, Northwest rainforests, Mount St. Helens, Redwood National Forest and many more.
ELEVENTH GRADE TRIP
Throughout the school year, students explore the possibilities that lay before them as they begin to plan life after high school. Together as a team and with their Program Manager, students explore intentions, goals, and responsibilities as they move towards becoming an adult citizen. The expedition can include visits to colleges of interest, trade schools, alternative options, amd career exploration. Support, practice, and introduction to professionals and skills is included. Students are also invited to participate in optional leadership training.
TWELFTH GRADE TRIP
At the end of the program year, seniors embark on a 5-day wilderness trip, which includes a 36-hour solo. Knowing that these students will graduate in a few months, the focus of this trip will be to symbolically mark the end of their high school experience through a rites of passage celebration. This is a moment for students to find meaning and guidance during this major turning point in their life, as well as cultivate a new vision for their lives.
Our programmatic approach ensures that each student has access to year-long, regular individual time with a Professional Adult Mentor.
Each mentor is trained in a strengths-based approach, creating positive environments for development and critical support in times of challenge.