Trekkers expands Fitness Treks program

Feb 04, 2013
Fitness Treks participants stretch out after an evening Zumba class at Camp Kieve.

Thomaston — Trekkers recently held an all-female program, Fitness Treks 2013: Winter Energy Boost, over Martin Luther King Jr. weekend, Jan. 17-21.

The five-day, four-night expedition was held at Camp Kieve in Nobleboro. It brought eighth-to-12th-grade female Trekkers and adult mentors from the community together to learn about different physical activities and tips for eating nutritious foods during the long, cold winter months. Activities included morning yoga, Zumba, cooking with a nutritionist, participating in a CrossFit class at Stone Coast CrossFit and participating in a strength class at the Samoset. Students also watched the documentary, "Miss Representation," and held a discussion regarding the under-representation of complex female roles in movies, other media, and in government positions.

“One thing I learned about myself was how far I could be pushed with the help of others,” said eighth-grade participant, Emma Lee, in a post-expedition evaluation.

Fitness Treks was piloted last year when local Zumba instructor Toni Small and yoga instructor Rachel Nixon approached Trekkers about collaborating on a wellness idea they had for local youth in the community.

This year, Fitness Treks was expanded into a more traditional Trekkers overnight expedition and, in addition to Small and Nixon, PenBay hospital and The Picker Family Resource Center joined as partners, providing access to a network of professional resources including Marcia Kyle, registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator. Kyle met with students and, together, prepared and enjoyed a healthy, plant-based meal. She fielded questions about serving sizes, sodium limits, plant-based diets and nutritional needs specific to women. She also provided each student with a book of healthy recipes to share with their families at home.

“The expedition format was a rich extension of last year’s afterschool program. I think the weekend was a tremendous success, connecting students to so many fitness opportunities, to healthy eating, to team and relationship building…so fantastic!” said Rachel Nixon, yoga instructor and team leader, in a post-expedition evaluation.

Trekkers volunteer Malia Dell also participated in the program and offered her passion for healthy eating and cooking. Dell, who is in the process of writing a healthy cookbook, created a healthy menu of meals for the entire five-day, four-night trip and mentored students through each meal preparation.

“The message and awareness around healthy lifestyle and diet must start at an early age. So they develop habits and view health and fitness as fun and rewarding versus a chore or something not pleasurable to engage in,” said Malia Dell in a post-expedition evaluation.

The students and adult mentors will also be organizing a community event to showcase their learning and invite the public to participate in activities focused around nutrition and exercise. However, the program doesn’t just end there. Thanks to support from the Leon Lowenstein Foundation and PenBay Healthcare, this group of girls and female mentors will meet once a month for the next five months to stay connected to each other as they participate in continued wellness activities.

In total, adult leaders and student leaders served more than 530 volunteer hours during the course of pre-expedition meetings and expedition hours.

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