THOMASTON, MAINE – Over Veterans Day weekend, eight 9th grade students and three adult leaders from Team Puma set out on a short expedition. After spending one night at Camp Kieve in Nobleboro, the group performed a community service project at Windward Gardens in Camden and ended the weekend skating at the Mid-Coast Rec Center. Throughout the weekend, the group also challenged themselves in many team-building activities on Camp Kieve’s low ropes course.
“Since Trekkers does a lot of community service on its longer expeditions out of state, these shorter trips allow students to be engaged with service projects that make an impact locally. We are grateful that we can offer both of these opportunities,” said Trekkers Executive Director, Don Carpenter.
This year marks the third year that Trekkers has participated in a community service project during Veterans Day weekend. While at Kieve, student created an American Flag from poster board and made cards to honor the veterans they would visit at Windward Gardens. They presented the cards and the flag to the veterans, engaged in conversations and played board games before leaving for their ice skating adventure.
The main purpose of the weekend expedition was two-fold; to reconnect students and mentors after their 8th grade Trekkers expedition in July, and to continue to lay the foundation for deeper connections through team-building initiatives as they prepare for their next 9th grade expedition in February. These students will be in this same Trekkers group for the next three years. Weekend excursions are a way for Trekkers to provide a safe space for students to be themselves and connect with each other through a shared experience outside of their everyday environments. Students also attend monthly planning meetings where they practice consensus-based decision-making to formulate their expedition.
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 to build meaningful relationships over a period of six years. This model, in turn, creates a safety net for youth in the community, who are civically engaged and oftentimes return to Trekkers as adult volunteers themselves. Trekkers serves the communities of Cushing, Owls Head, Rockland, South Thomaston, St. George and Thomaston.