Trekkers hosts Urban Trekkers from Camden, N.J., for cultural exchange

Maine and Urban Trekkers students and mentors pose atop Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park on Mount Desert Island recently.
Photo courtesy of Trekkers
Maine and Urban Trekkers students and mentors pose atop Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park on Mount Desert Island recently.
Posted Sept. 05, 2011, at 10:10 p.m.

TENANTS HARBOR — Trekkers, a local youth mentoring organization, held its sixth annual “From the ’Hood’ to the Woods” expedition at Blueberry Cove Camp in Tenants Harbor in August. Students from Trekkers and its sister organization, Urban Trekkers from Camden, N.J., used the four-day expedition as an opportunity to build meaningful relationships across cultural boundaries while exploring Maine’s beautiful outdoors.

More than 20 high school students participated in the expedition, along with six adult mentors from Maine and Camden, N.J. Activities included kayaking in Port Clyde, lobstering with fishermen in Tenants Harbor, swimming in quarries and holding a lobster bake. The group also explored Acadia National Park, where they hiked the Beehive Trail and visited Sand Beach. Throughout the four-day expedition, they participated in games, team building activities and group discussions.

“From the ’Hood’ to the Woods” was created in 2006 by Don Carpenter, executive director of Trekkers, and Jim Cummings, executive director of Urban Trekkers. Both were seeking to create a safe setting for students from all walks of life to engage in meaningful conversations regarding the prejudice and racism that occur in Maine and New Jersey. One student commented, “[The experience taught me] that even though we may look different, we’re all the same on the inside. We have a lot in common.”

The expedition is not the only opportunity for the Maine and Urban Trekkers to connect and build relationships. Each February and April, the two groups meet in Camden, N.J., to participate in similar team building activities in an urban setting.

Carpenter said, “Because we travel to Camden twice a year to visit the Urban Trekkers in their community, the opportunity to have a cultural exchange here in the midcoast becomes that much sweeter. For the past six years this give-and-take has proved to be magical, opening the doors of communication and deconstructing stereotypes. I’m so glad that we’re able to provide these opportunities to our students.”

Tanglewood 4-H Camp and Learning Center partnered with Trekkers for this program, providing the use of Blueberry Cove Camp. Tanglewood is part of the University of Maine Cooperative Extension.

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