For two weekends this May, 40 seventh-grade students and 35 adult and student mentors explored Acadia National Park as part of the Teen Trekkers program.

Trekkers, a youth-mentoring organization based in Thomaston, designed this expedition as a way to introduce seventh-graders to new and sometimes challenging experiences alongside a group of caring adults and students from their community.

Camping for three days in Acadia, the students and adults learned firsthand outdoor skills and also participated in plenty of games, discussions and team-building activities. They hiked Cadillac Mountain, canoed near Thomas Bay, rock-climbed the breathtaking ledges of Otter Cliffs and prepared meals together. To close each day, they shared stories by the campfire, discussing the highlights, struggles and successes from that day’s experiences.

A milestone for the Trekkers organization, this class of seventh-grade students is the 20th class to complete the Teen Trekkers expedition. Teen Trekkers was created in 1994 when a group of community members noticed a lack of relationships between teenagers and local adults. They developed the early Trekkers program, using outdoors activities as a way to build relationships.

The program has now evolved into a six-year mentoring program. For seventh- graders, the Teen Trekkers program serves as the entry point to their six-year journey as Trekkers. Now that they have completed the Acadia expedition, this year’s students will progress to the Advanced Trekkers eighth-grade program. Each year thereafter, they will plan, design and implement an educational expedition until they graduate from high school.

To read more about Teen Trekkers and to view photographs of each expedition, visit trekkers.org or facebook.com/trekkersonline.