January 24, 2018
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Trekkers expands Fitness Treks program

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Trekkers recently held an all-female program, Fitness Treks 2013: Winter Energy Boost, over Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend, Jan. 17th-Jan. 21st. The five-day, four night expedition was held at Camp Kieve in Nobleboro. It brought 8th-12th grade female Trekkers and adult mentors from the community together to learn about different physical activities and tips for eating nutritious foods during the long, cold winter months. Activities included morning yoga, Zumba, cooking with a nutritionist, participating in a CrossFit class at Stone Coast CrossFit and participating in a strength class at the Samoset. Students also watched the documentary, Miss Representation, and held a discussion regarding the underrepresentation of complex female roles in movies, other media, and in government positions.

“One thing I learned about myself was how far I could be pushed with the help of others,” said 8th grade participant, Emma Lee, in a post-expedition evaluation.

Fitness Treks was piloted last year when local Zumba instructor, Toni Small, approached Trekkers and Yoga instructor, Rachel Nixon, about collaborating on a wellness idea she had for local youth in the community.

This year, Fitness Treks was expanded into a more traditional Trekkers overnight expedition and, in addition to Small and Nixon, PenBay Hospital and The Picker Family Resource Center joined as partners. Pen Bay Hospital and The Picker Family Resource Center provided access to a network of professional resources including Marcia Kyle, Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator. Marcia met with students and, together, prepared and enjoyed a healthy, plant-based meal. Marcia fielded questions about serving sizes, sodium limits, plant-based diets and nutritional needs specific to women. She also provided each student with a book of healthy recipes to share with their families at home.

“The expedition format was a rich extension of last year’s afterschool program. I think the weekend was a tremendous success, connecting students to so many fitness opportunities, to healthy eating, to team and relationship building…so fantastic!” said Rachel Nixon, yoga instructor and team leader, in a post-expedition evaluation.

Trekkers volunteer Malia Dell also participated in the program and offered her passion for healthy eating and cooking. Dell, who is in the process of writing a healthy cookbook, created a healthy menu of meals for the entire 5-day, 4-night trip and mentored students through each meal preparation.

“The message and awareness around healthy lifestyle and diet must start at an early age. So they develop habits and view health and fitness as fun and rewarding versus a chore or something not pleasurable to engage in,” said Malia Dell in a post-expedition evaluation.

The students and adult mentors will also be organizing a community event to showcase their learning and invite the public to participate in activities focused around nutrition and exercise. However, the program doesn’t just end there. Thanks to support from the Leon Lowenstein Foundation and PenBay Healthcare, this group of girls and female mentors will meet once a month for the next 5 months to stay connected to each other as they participate in continued wellness activities.

In total, adult leaders and student leaders served over 530 volunteer hours over the course of pre-expedition meetings and expedition hours.

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. Trekkers brings students and adult mentors together to build meaningful relationships over a period of six years. Trekkers serves the communities of St. George, Owls Head, Cushing, South Thomaston, Thomaston, and Rockland.