Trekkers, a youth-mentoring organization in Midcoast Maine, recently hosted its seventh 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 their 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 more than 20 high school students along with adult leaders kayaked Maine’s coastline in Port Clyde, jumped from the highest points in local swimming quarries, hiked on Monhegan Island, walked the Rockland Breakwater, experienced lobstering with local fisherman in Tenants Harbor and enjoyed a community lobster bake at Blueberry Cove. Students and mentors also made time for meaningful discussion about the issues of fear, labeling 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. Both men were interested in creating a safe setting where students from all walks of life could engage in meaningful conversations about prejudice and racism. This program creates a space for dialogue to unfold naturally, while providing challenging experiences for both groups to connect and build relationships with each other. 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.