Trekkers, a local outdoor-based mentoring nonprofit, will soon complete its 9th year of Big Trek/Little Trek afterschool mentoring programming.

The program unites high school mentors from Oceanside High School with third- and fourth-grade elementary school students from St. George School and Lura Libby School.

The Big Trek/Little Trek afterschool program builds supportive, positive relationships between high school students and elementary school students. It fosters personal growth and builds communication and leadership skills through interpersonal relationships. The program runs during the fall and spring, for one hour a week for seven weeks during each session. The program works in collaboration with the schools’ guidance departments and creates a healthy, safe environment for afterschool play through teambuilding exercises, sports, playground games and arts and crafts.

During this year’s fall session of Big Trek/Little Trek, 12 high school students completed a total of 73.25 volunteer hours through the program. Many of this year’s participants are returning mentors and some are even alumni of the program from when they were in elementary school.

Program Coordinators Neal Young and Lindsey Evans ran this year’s program. “By continually showing up throughout the session and being intentional about interacting with their Littles, Bigs make an impact through making Littles feel connected and valued. Seeing our student mentors grow into their role and the joy the Littles’ experience through interacting with them is my favorite thing about Big Trek/Little Trek,” said Neal Young about the program.

Thus far, more than 118 volunteer hours have been dedicated to the program by the high school “Big Treks.” The spring session of the program has 15 Big/Little matches between the two schools and will conclude next week.

For more information about Big Trek/Little Trek, call the Trekkers office at 594-5095.