Trekkers, a Midcoast youth-serving organization, recently hosted its fifth annual From the ‘Hood to the Woods expedition at Blueberry Cove Camp in Tenants Harbor. The expedition provided an opportunity for students from Trekkers and the sister organization, Urban Trekkers from Camden, N.J., to build meaningful relationships across cultural boundaries, and to challenge themselves in Maine’s beautiful outdoors.

This year the 35 participants kayaked along Maine’s coastline in Port Clyde, jumped from the highest points in local swimming quarries, climbed Maiden’s Cliff in Camden, and enjoyed a community lobster bake at Blueberry Cove. Students and mentors also made time for meaningful discussion about the issues of fear and race, and engaged in the team building activities that are a trademark of Trekkers programming.

From the ‘Hood to the Woods was created in 2006 by Don Carpenter, executive director of Trekkers, and Jim Cummings, director of Urban Trekkers, to encourage cross-cultural understanding and dialogue. Carpenter and Cummings envisioned a safe setting where students could engage in meaningful and constructive conversations about the issues of prejudice and racism that occur both in Maine and in New Jersey. The program creates a space for dialogue to unfold naturally, while providing common, challenging experiences for both groups to tackle and bond over. The students from Maine Trekkers will have the opportunity to visit Urban Trekkers on two different expeditions in the coming year, when they will take part in similar cultural exchanges in an urban environment.

Tanglewood 4-H Camp and Learning Center partnered with Trekkers during this program to provide the use of Blueberry Cove Camp. The camp currently offers programs throughout the summer and is also available for group rentals. Tanglewood is part of the University of Maine Cooperative Extension. For more information visit www2.umaine.edu/tanglewood/about.

Trekkers is a nonprofit youth-serving organization focused on providing young people in Midcoast Maine with dynamic ways to form relationships with caring adults. For more information about the From the ‘Hood to the Woods program or Trekkers, visit trekkersonline.com or call 594-5095.