THOMASTON, Maine — Seventeen eighth-graders from Oceanside High School recently participated in a two-week expedition with Trekkers, a youth-mentoring organization that connects young people and caring adults through expeditionary learning. Team Panther was the second group of eighth-grade students to travel with Trekkers this summer. Team Panther departed for their expedition just as another Advanced Trekkers’ group, Team Puma, returned from their 14-day journey. Although both teams had similar goals, their expeditions followed unique paths.
As part of the Trekkers’ educational process, each team develops their own itineraries over the course of a 10-month period. Because the expeditions require five different educational components, the students are able to structure their expeditions based on decisions they make as a group. The educational components for each expedition include wilderness exploration, community service, environmental stewardship, adventure-based education and cultural awareness.
After a school year of planning and one final equipment check, Team Panther boarded Daisy, the Trekkers’ bus, to travel through the Green Mountains of Vermont. They stayed three nights in Montpelier at the Carver Family Tree Farm, owned by the parents of Program Manager Emily Carver. The students were treated to cookouts and a tour of Morse’s Sugar Shack where they received samples of maple flavor ice cream. They hiked Mt. Elmore for their wilderness exploration. As a community service project the students visited the Fletcher Allen Hospital roof top gardens where they spread mulch and weeded flower beds to help the rehabilitation patients there.
Their next stop was New York State, where they visited Cornell University’s NY State Agricultural Experiment Center, home of the world’s largest apple collection. Team Panther also visited the Buddhist Buffalo Mindfulness Community Presentation and made a surprise visit to Niagara Falls, where they took a soaking boat ride on the historic “Maid of the Mist.” While in New York, they also toured Murphy Apple Orchard, a working orchard which was part of the Underground Railroad during the 19th century.
Continuing on with their well-thought-out plan, Team Panther stopped for a three day stay in Pennsylvania where they went spelunking in Laurel Caverns, toured Amish Country, visited Gettysburg, and spent a day at Hershey Park. To see more pictures or read the trip log from the expedition, please visit www.trekkers.org and following the links to the Advanced 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.