Seventeen 10th grade Trekkers and six adult leaders recently returned from the 14-day Cross-America Trekkers expedition to the Colorado Rockies. From July 28th to August 10th the group travelled throughout Colorado and explored the region’s environmental and cultural uniqueness, while continuing Trekkers’ mission to build strong relationships between students and caring adults in the community.
In order for students to be eligible for this expedition, they were first required to complete a life skills course, which included creating a personal Web page, practicing job interview skills, and taking part in a mock professional interview with members of the local business community. Trekkers was privileged to have representatives from Boston Financial, Machias Savings Bank, Lonza Rockland, Camden National Bank, Fisher Engineering and Bangor Savings Bank lend their expertise to help the students gain experience in presenting themselves professionally to others.
As with every Trekkers program, the students also met throughout the school year to plan their expedition around five educational components: community service, cultural awareness, environmental stewardship, wilderness exploration and adventure-based education. In order to meet these components, this year’s Cross-America Trekkers worked on a Habitat for Humanity project in Granby, CO; took part in a cultural exchange with members of the Southern Ute Indian Tribe; learned the pros and cons of gold mining at Cripple Creek & Victor Gold Mine; hiked Independence Pass at the Continental Divide; and went whitewater rafting down the Royal Gorge.
The group also hiked throughout Rocky Mountains National Park, Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park, and Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve to learn about the mineral deposits, the unique geological features, and the varied flora and fauna of the region.
To increase their environmental awareness, the group toured the largest gold mine in Colorado. There they heard about modern mining techniques, the mining company’s environmental program, and learned more about the mining heritage of the area. Students later met with a member of The Sierra Club to hear about environmental issues related to mining in the region, including local conservation efforts and groundwater pollution concerns. By hearing both sides of these issues, Trekkers encourages students to develop their own opinions based on the facts presented.
According to Don Carpenter, Executive Director, “The Cross-America program also reinforces one of the core principles of Trekkers, exposing students to the diversity of life outside of Maine. Not only did this year’s expedition broaden the students’ experience with new landscapes, new environments and new cultures, it also increased their self-awareness and strengthened their personal resolve.” As one student stated, the varied challenges of the expedition taught him that, “I can do anything if I set my mind to it and push myself to do it.”
To read the daily log and view pictures from this year’s Rocky Mountain Expedition, please visit Trekkers’ Web site, www.trekkersonline.com. For more information about the program, contact the Trekkers office at 594-5095.
Trekkers is a non-profit, outdoor-based mentoring program that connects young people with caring adults through expeditionary learning, community service and adventure-based education.