With new and seasoned volunteers, the Trekkers peer mentoring program Big Trek/Little Trek kicked off last week with its first mentoring session of the year.

Big Trek/Little Trek matches Georges Valley High School students with third- and fourth-graders at Lura Libby and St. George schools for one-to-one mentoring sessions. The Big Treks and Little Treks meet after school for one hour once a week over eight weeks, focusing their time on forming caring relationships in a safe and familiar environment. By matching students from different age groups, Trekkers hopes to encourage a mutually beneficial relationship, allowing Little Treks to receive encouragement from a positive role model while Big Treks develop leadership skills and gain an appreciation for giving back to their community.

Each meeting begins with a healthy snack and team building activities for the whole group as a way to ease nerves and craft interpersonal skills. The pairs then decide how they want to spend their one-to-one time. A closing activity marks the end of the meeting.

Peer mentoring through Big Trek/Little Trek is designed to give the older students a chance to cultivate leadership skills within the community, encouraging them to take a more active role in the culture and development of local towns and school systems. Trekkers recruited and trained the high school students to prepare them for the eight-week journey in what is for some their first mentoring experience.

Keeping true to the mission of Trekkers, Big Trek/Little Trek plays an important role in passing on the mentoring tradition to older students who have benefited themselves from caring adult role models during their previous Trekkers programming experience. The benefits for the young students mirror those of the older students, focusing in on self-esteem and interpersonal relationship building.

For more information about the Big Trek/Little Trek program, contact Trekkers at 594-5095 or visit trekkersonline.com. Trekkers is a nonprofit outdoor-based mentoring program that connects caring adults with young people through expeditionary learning, community service and adventure-based education.