THOMASTON, Maine — On May 29, Trekkers graduated its ninth class of students who completed its six-year program. Students from this year’s senior class began their Trekkers journey together as seventh-graders in 2006. Since that time, they have traveled all over the country while on educational expeditions of their own design.
Twenty students started their Trekkers experience together by sharing a weekend expedition in Acadia National Park with adult mentors from the community. Since then, the students have explored the Laurel Mountains of Pennsylvania, visited 16 colleges and universities around New England, served the homeless in inner-city Pittsburgh, participated in cultural exchanges in Camden, N.J., met with the Southern Ute tribe in Colorado, explored the Rocky Mountains,visited the largest wind farm east of the Mississippi, spent time at many U.S. national parks and completed a 36-hour wilderness solo in the Berkshires of Massachusetts.
The students designed each of their expeditions to include five core components: adventure-based education, cultural awareness, environmental education, wilderness exploration and service learning. The students spent many months participating in planning meetings each year, where they discussed and decided what types of activities they wanted to include in order to satisfy the core components. Their itinerary was created through a consensus decisionmaking process, designed to encourage teamwork and foster group empowerment.
Of the 20 students who enrolled in Trekkers as seventh-graders, 17 remained with the program throughout the six years; three students moved out of Trekkers’ service area; and two students were added to the program from the waiting list.
The 19 Trekkers in this year’s Georges Valley High School graduating class are Zachary Allen, Cody Arsenault, Audrey Brooks, Chris Carlson, Reilly Cousins, Shawn Crute, Kara Dow, Chelsea Glidden, Colleen Haskell, Sam Hooper,Mishanna Hunt, Zach Marvin, Aaron Maxwell, Cy McGeady, Cody Mudgett, Kristin Rickard, Kristen Sawyer, Leah Simmons and Abby Upham.