Trekkers runs two expeditions during April break
Thomaston — Trekkers 11th grade and 12th-grade students had a very busy April vacation.
Two Trekkers expeditions ran simultaneously during the week of April 21, albeit with very different itineraries and destinations.
During the 11th grade expedition, 14 students explored college and career path opportunities. The 12th grade expedition took 16 students on an inward exploration meant to bring closure to their six-year Trekkers experience and help them move to the next phase of their life via this “rite of passage.”
The 11th grade students embarked on a 10-day College/Career Exploration expedition April 18. They visited locations in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Prior to their expedition, the students and Program Manager Meredith Lynt worked together throughout the school year to narrow down their top selections and plan the components of this expedition through consensus-based decision making. The group visited the following 18 colleges and universities during their expedition: Unity College, Maine Maritime Academy, Plymouth State University, Johnson State College, Champlain College, Norwich University, Merrimack College, Boston College, Framingham State, Bentley University, Suffolk University, Emerson College, Boston Architectural College, Northeastern University, Simmons College, Wentworth Institute of Technology, Johnson & Wales University and Maine College of Art.
In addition to touring the campuses, each evening the students shared conversations and impressions about the schools they visited, talking about financial aid, and where they could see themselves being most successful.
“Young people have so many choices. It can be challenging to figure out the answer to a question they so desperately want to get right. In addition to tours and helping them read through packets of stats from each school, we tried to help students clarify their values, purpose and passions so that regardless of whether or not they know exactly what they want to do for the rest of their lives, right now they can make choices that best align with their core belief systems,” Lynt said in a news release.
Meanwhile, Executive Director Don Carpenter led his final expedition with 16 Trekkers seniors on the five-day Rites of Passage Expedition. Together with their adult mentors, the group traveled to Stump Sprouts, a retreat in the Berkshires of Massachusetts. The expedition included a 36-hour solo where each student camped alone in the wilderness, either in a tent or by building their own tarp structure. During that solo, each student was asked to reflect on years past, engage with nature, and prepare for life after high school. Each day, the students were given a journal topic to write about and reflect upon, centering on embracing themselves, the future and trusting the process of it all. This program oftentimes provides the first opportunity for these young adults to disengage from technology, family and social life and to focus their energy inward. Upon returning from the solo experience, students and mentors participated in a circle activity where they could share how they were affected by one another throughout their six-year Trekkers journey.
“Most of our programs provide an opportunity for students to explore new landscapes and cultures. The Rites of Passage Program provides the opportunity for students to explore their own inner landscapes with intention, with an emphasis on acknowledging and celebrating who they are as individuals. This expedition also provides solitude for each student to get clear about the type of person they want to become in the future," Carpenter said.
For more information about Trekkers’ College/Career Exploration and the Rites of Passage Expedition, please visit trekkers.org.