(THOMASTON) Seventeen 10th grade Trekkers and four adult leaders recently returned from the 14-day Cross-America Trekkers expedition to the Colorado Rockies. From July 27th to August 9th 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 from the community.
In order for students to be eligible for this expedition, they were first required to complete a life skills prerequisite during the school year. Last spring, they completed the requirements, 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 The First, Boston Financial, 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.
In addition to completing the life skills 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. To incorporate these components, this year’s Cross-America Trekkers participated in a service learning project with Habitat for Humanity of Chaffee County Colorado; took part in a cultural exchange at the Southern Ute Indian Reservation; visited to the Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center; hiked to Independence Pass at the Continental Divide for sunrise; and went whitewater rafting down the Royal Gorge.
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 uniqueness of this year’s destination, the students and their mentors hiked and explored Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park, Mesa Verde National Park and Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve while learning about the mineral deposits, the unique geological features, and the desert ecosystem there.
Program Manager Meredith Lynt explained the experience by saying, “One of the most interesting things to witness in this program and, more specifically, on the trip itself, is how students’ respect for the natural landscape deepens over the course of the two weeks. Not only does it deepen for the incredible landscapes of the Rockies and the Southwest, but students come home with a deep love, appreciation and respect for their home state of Maine. There’s a symbiotic relationship between that which is so different and that which is known. It provides a great metaphor for both the physical and internal landscapes that teenagers face in their everyday lives. My greatest hope is that this program offers them an opportunity to explore that relationship; to nature and themselves.”
To read the daily log and view pictures from this year’s Rocky Mountain Expedition, please visit Trekkers’ Web site, www.trekkers.org or see pictures on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/trekkersonline. 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.