December 16, 2017
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Trekkers Hosts Cultural Exchange

Community Author: Shari Closter
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Trekkers
Trekkers

Trekkers recently hosted their twelfth annual “From the ‘Hood to the Woods” program at Blueberry Cove Camp in Tenants Harbor. The five-day expedition provided an opportunity for local students from Trekkers and students from their sister organization, Urban Trekkers of Camden, NJ, to build meaningful relationships across cultural boundaries, and to challenge themselves in Maine’s beautiful outdoors.

 

Twenty-six students and ten leaders kayaked Maine’s coastline in Camden harbor with Maine Sport Outfitters; volunteered in the gardens and trails at Erickson Fields and Merryspring Nature Center; hiked on Monhegan Island; went bowling at Spare Time Bowling Lanes; experienced lobstering with local fishermen in Port Clyde; and enjoyed a community lobster bake at Blueberry Cove. Throughout the expedition, students and mentors incorporated meaningful discussion about the issues of fear, labeling and race, community and engaged in the team building activities that are a trademark of Trekkers programming.

 

“From the ‘Hood to the Woods” was created in 2006 as a collaboration between Trekkers and Urban Trekkers as a way to encourage cross-cultural understanding and dialogue between rural and urban youth. Both organizations were interested in creating a safe setting where students from diverse backgrounds could engage in meaningful conversations about stereotypes, prejudice and racism. The program that was created allows dialogue to unfold naturally, while providing challenging experiences for both groups to connect and build relationships with each other. Through this program, students learn that, whether they are growing up in the most rural state in the nation or in one of the most impoverished cities in the country, they have a lot more in common than they ever thought possible.

 

As a follow up from this program, students from Maine Trekkers will have the opportunity to visit their Urban Trekkers counterparts during two different expeditions in the coming year, when they will take part in similar cultural exchanges, but in an urban environment. Currently celebrating its 24th year of working with local youth, Trekkers connects young people with caring adults through expeditionary learning, community service and adventure-based education. This year, the organization serves more than 240 youth and involves more than 100 adult mentors from the communities of Cushing, Owls Head, Rockland, South Thomaston, St. George and Thomaston.

 

For more information about the “From the ‘Hood to the Woods” program or Trekkers, visit www.trekkers.org or call (207) 594-5095.