Trekkers graduates 19 from six-year program
Thomaston — On June 10, Trekkers held a graduation ceremony to honor 19 graduating seniors who recently completed the six-year youth mentoring program.
Leading the awards ceremony was Don Carpenter, Trekkers’ executive director. As the students were honored, Carpenter “roasted” them individually with humorous gifts and a slideshow that featured some of the unique and unforgettable moments from the many expeditions the students took part in over the past six years.
Twenty students entered the program in seventh-grade as part of Teen Trekkers, where they spent three days exploring the outdoors with adults from the community by camping, canoeing, and engaging in group activities and journaling around nightly campfires. Continuing into their eighth-grade year, students worked throughout the school year to plan a 14-day expedition. They used consensus-based decision making to design their year-end expedition around five educational components: Community Service, Cultural Awareness, Environmental Education, Adventure-based Education, and Wilderness Exploration.
In ninth-grade, the students completed their Ride Through History expedition by exploring Boston, Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia, while learning about the country’s founding. For their 10th-grade Cross America expedition, students elected to travel to the Rocky Mountains region of Colorado, where they went whitewater rafting on the Arkansas River, completed a cultural exchange with the Southern Ute Indian Tribe, learned about the environmental challenges and economic benefits related to mineral mining, and volunteered for Habitat for Humanity. Last year, the students embarked on their College and Career exploration, where they visited colleges and trade schools between Maine and Pennsylvania. And this past April, they completed their Trekkers experience, including a 36-hour wilderness solo, during the Rites of Passage expedition in the Berkshires of Massachusetts.
In total, this year’s graduating Trekkers class visited 14 colleges and universities, traveled to more than 12 states, and hiked in countless state and national parks. They volunteered at soup kitchens and completed many service projects in inner city settings. They participated in cultural exchanges with the Urban Trekkers from Camden, N.J., the Southern Ute Tribe in Colorado, and the Amish in Pennsylvania. They went spelunking, attended a major league baseball game, visited the Holocaust Museum, and hiked Independence Pass at the Continental Divide, in addition to countless other adventures.
Ten of these graduating seniors were also part of the student leadership program. Trekkers hopes to see them return as adult mentors, guiding their younger peers during expeditions in the future.
The following students were honored at the graduation ceremony: Sienna Barstow, Megan Beal, Mary Carlson, Ben Caron, Kalob Crute, Zachary Elwell, John Ferguson, Raegan Goulet, Mikayla Jillson, Nicholas Judge, Sean Long, Ellery Montgomery, Karly Robinson, Cassidy Rolfe, Thomas Smalley, Alec Simmons, Olivia Stone, Sarah Tarbox and Tucker Willey.