THOMASTON, MAINE – Over Veterans Day weekend, fourteen 8th grade students and four adult leaders set out on a short expedition. They performed a community service project at Loaves and Fishes Food Pantry in Rockland and spent two overnight stays at Camp Kieve, an adventure-based leadership camp in Nobleboro. Throughout the weekend, the group also challenged themselves in many team-building activities on Camp Kieve’s low ropes course.
The main purpose of the weekend expedition was two-fold; to reconnect students and mentors after their 7th grade Trekkers experience at Acadia National Park in May, and to continue to lay the foundation for deeper connections through team-building initiatives as they prepare for their next excursion in July. These students will be in this same Trekkers group for the next five 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 summer expedition.
“Since Trekkers does a lot of community service on its longer expeditions out of state, these shorter trips allow students to be engaged locally with service projects that make an impact. We are grateful to offer both,” said Trekkers Executive Director, Don Carpenter.
This year marked the second year that Trekkers participated in a community service project during Veterans Day weekend. Partnered with Youthlinks, students and adult leaders prepared and served lunch to community members. Loaves and Fishes Food Pantry provides an open lunch every Saturday and Sunday at rotating locations in Rockland. Youthlinks is a youth organization that offers an after-school program that includes community service, leadership and enrichment programs for adolescent youth in the mid-coast.
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 St. George, Owls Head, Cushing, South Thomaston, Thomaston, and Rockland.