Seventh-grade students, along with 28 adult and student mentors, explored Acadia National Park recently 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 student leaders from their community.

In addition to camping for three days in Acadia, the students and adults learned outdoor skills and participated in games, discussions and team-building activities. They hiked Cadillac Mountain with hiking guides from Atlantic Climbing School, canoed near Thomas Bay, explored the breathtaking ledges at 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.

“My overall experience being on this trip was amazing. I got to be myself, have fun, feel safe, and experience new opportunities,” said one youth.

Another student described a favorite aspect of the three-day expedition, saying, “This trip made it really clear that being open-minded and going with the flow makes you a better person.”

This group of seventh-grade students is the 22nd class to complete the Teen Trekkers expedition.

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 students in grades seven through 12.

For seventh-graders, the Teen Trekkers program serves as their entry point to the six-year Trekkers experience. Now that this year’s class has completed the Acadia expedition, they will progress to the Advanced Trekkers eighth-grade program in the fall.

Each year thereafter, until they graduate from high school, they will plan, design and implement a grade-specific educational expedition that will foster life skills, broaden their horizons, and help them build supportive relationships with caring adult mentors from the community.

Trekkers serves over 200 seventh- through 12th-grade students from the communities of Cushing, Owls Head, Rockland, South Thomaston, St. George and Thomaston. For more information about Trekkers, contact the Trekkers office at 594-5095 or go online to trekkers.org.