Trekkers is an outdoor-based six-year mentoring program that connects young people with caring adults through the use of expeditionary learning, community service and adventure-based education. Our model follows 30 students in each grade level as they “graduate” from one program to the next along a six-year journey. This journey begins when a student joins Trekkers in the 7th grade and continues until his or her graduation from high school.
Trekkers is a preventative, community-based program. Our belief is that all students in our community are one decision, one mistake, or one crisis away from falling over the edge to becoming "at-risk." Trekkers creates a network of caring adults to act as a safety net for students. Trekkers creates this "safety net" by building a relationship between caring adults and young people through a variety of shared outdoor experiences.
Trekkers currently offers its six-year mentoring model to the students enrolled in grades 7−12 at a regional school district in the fishing communities of Cushing, Owls Head, Rockland, St. George, South Thomaston, and Thomaston, Maine. This 823.2 square mile area in Knox County also incorporates several small villages and inhabited islands—old, historic communities that are rapidly converting to seasonal, second-home ownership.
In contrast to this emerging affluence, over 55% of the student population from these communities are year-round residents from low-income households. Knox County youth consistently record the highest levels of drug abuse and teen pregnancy in the state. They rank the lowest in the state with regard to post-secondary aspirations.
In the midst of these challenges, 92% of students who enter the Trekkers program in 7th grade achieve high school graduation, compared to 82% of their peers (Source: Maine Dept. of Education). Of this 92%, 72% of Trekkers students seek some form of higher education or join the armed services, compared to 62% of their classmates.