Eighteen high school seniors completed a five day “Rites of Passage” expedition last week, to conclude their six year Trekkers experience. An integral part of the expedition is a 36-hour wilderness solo. This solo is an opportunity for students to remove themselves from the stress of senior year and allow space and solitude in nature to reflect upon the transition from adolescence to adulthood.
The students and six adult mentors traveled to Stump Sprouts, a retreat lodge located in the foothills of the Berkshires in western Massachusetts, which also served as the location of the wilderness solo. The solo was the first chance for many of the students to purposely reflect on the type of person they want to be, what makes them happy in life, and to formulate a vision for themselves to guide their future. To aid in this reflective experience, Trekkers provided questions, quotations and prompts concerning their past, their future and the nature of adulthood.
“Many of our programs provide an opportunity for students to explore new landscapes and cultures. The Rites of Passage Program provides students the opportunity to explore their own inner landscapes with intention; with an eye on acknowledging and celebrating who they are as individuals. At the same time, this program provides solitude for students to get clear about the type of people they want to become in the future,” said Executive Director, Don Carpenter, who led the expedition.
During their six year journey with Trekkers, this senior class developed significant relationships with caring adults in the Midcoast communities, participated in cultural exchanges, explored the Pacific Northwest, completed service projects and developed courage and character through countless new experiences.
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. As a preventative, community-based program, Trekkers brings students and adult mentors together through shared outdoor experiences and builds meaningful relationships over a period of six years. This model, in turn, creates a safety net for local youth who are civically engaged and oftentimes return to Trekkers as adult volunteers themselves. The conclusion of the 2013 Rites of Passage expedition marks the eleventh group of students to complete Trekkers’ six-year model.
Trekkers serves the communities of St. George, Owls Head, Cushing, South Thomaston, Thomaston, and Rockland. To learn more about Trekkers and the Rites of Passage program, visit www.trekkers.org or call (207)594-5095.
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