Trekkers recently received a $2,500 grant from the Knox County Fund of the Maine Community Foundation to support the expansion of the Leadership Training program for 11th- and 12th-grade students.

The leadership program is offered to junior and senior Trekkers who are looking to deepen and expand their mentoring skills. The program provides these student mentors an opportunity to become more knowledgeable facilitators to assist Trekkers Program Managers during the annual seventh- to ninth-grade expeditions. As peer leaders, they take on key leadership roles during these formative expeditions, assisting the program managers in team building activities, logistics, and group discussion, group cooking and giving one on one mentoring attention to students throughout the three to 14-day expeditions.

The expanded leadership program began with three weekend retreats this year for the 11th-graders who trained with Trekkers Executive Director Don Carpenter at Kieve-Wavus Leadership School at Camp Kieve in Nobleboro. This partnership with Kieve provided an opportunity for the students to use the high and low ropes course facility in order to explore team building skills and observe and discuss group dynamics. It also allowed the students to push their own comfort level, which aids them in relating to younger students during expeditions when they are asked to challenge themselves by choice during adventure activities. The student leaders also built their communication skills through the use of scenarios and role play, using examples from their personal lives to work through conflict transformation and resolution. They also explored boundary setting, peer mediation, and shared journaling reflections.

“We are so grateful to the Knox County Fund of the Maine Community Foundation to help make this expanded program available to our students. Our two year leadership progression model ensures that our student leaders understand what it means to put leadership in action,” Carpenter said in a news release.

Moving forward into next year, Trekkers will offer three weekends of leadership training to these students in their senior year, in addition to recruiting a new group of juniors. Through the expanded program, each student leader will have experienced six consecutive weekend leadership trainings, each built upon the previous one. Trekkers is currently increasing overall enrollment and anticipates that the Leadership Program will double the number of participants in years to come.