Sixteen 10th graders and six adult leaders completed a 12-day Cross-America Trekkers expedition from July 18-30 as part of Team Penobscot with Trekkers, a youth-mentoring organization that connects young people and caring adults through expeditionary learning, the group traveled throughout Utah and Colorado, exploring the region’s environmental and cultural uniqueness.
To qualify for this expedition, the students were first required to complete a four-week prerequisite Life Skills Course in the fall of 2016. Led by Program Manager Hannah Tannebring, the students learned about resume-writing, interview etiquette, appropriate interview attire, and how to present themselves professionally to others. They practiced interview skills by conducting a Business Scavenger Hunt to the following community business participants: Dream Local, Rheal Day Spa, Distinctive Tile & Design, Island Institute, Target Marketing, Grasshopper Shop, and Salt Air Gallery. Each student completed a Resume, and dressed professionally and traveled to an area business where they participated in a 20-minute mock interview as if they were applying for employment there. This year, professionals from Camden National Bank, First National Bank, Fisher Engineering, Glen Cove Dental Associates, Target Marketing, VStv, and Dream Local hosted mock interviews for Trekkers students at their workplaces.
In addition to completing the Life Skills Course, the students also met collectively throughout the school year to plan their expedition around five educational components: community service, cultural awareness, environmental stewardship, wilderness exploration and adventure-based education. To incorporate these components, Team Penobscot visited the Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center; toured the Ute Drum Newspaper, in the Southern Ute Tribe Reservation; took part in a cultural exchange with Native Americans at the Cortez Cultural Center, where they hosted Native American dance, music and commentary; explored the Balcony House Cliff Dwellings at Mesa Verde, learning about life of the Anasazi; hiked to Independence Pass at the Continental Divide at dawn; and went spelunking with volunteers from the Grotto Association at Fulford Cave. Their community service project was volunteering on several projects at Habitat for Humanity Restore in Bueno Vista, CO. They learned all about their programs, and the challenges they are facing in their economy, which led to a conversation about the great significance of the support that Habitat for Humanity provides in that community.
The Cross-America program is designed to give students the opportunity to explore firsthand the cultural and environmental uniqueness of a particular U.S. bio-region. To experience the area’s uniqueness, Team Penobscots students and their mentors hiked and explored Canyonlands National Park, Mesa Verde National Park and Great Sand Dunes National Park.
As one student shared, “[My biggest impression from this trip was] when I finally looked not at the now outside, but the now within.” Another student reflected by saying, “The landscape gave me a better appreciation of humanity’s place in the world and provided a great backdrop for soul-searching.” Another student shared, “What I saw as the most meaningful was seeing the Ute Tribe and how they persevered through so many challenges, and flourished despite opposition. To be able to overcome thousands of years of history and be so successful is amazing.”
To see more pictures or read the trip log from the expedition, please visit www.trekkers.org and following the links to the 10th Grade Cross America Trekkers page. You can also view more photos by visiting Trekkers’ Facebook page: www.facebook.com/trekkersonline. If you’d like to learn more about Trekkers, please call (207) 594-5095.