Trekkers’ award winning youth development model has positively impacted hundreds of students growing up in the small fishing communities of mid-coast Maine. Throughout the years, Trekkers has had many requests from communities, organizations and youth workers, both in and out of state, who’ve been interested in learning more about our six-year mentoring model and its emphasis on the power of relationship building to change lives. Although we have been eager to train others in the principles and philosophy of our work, we’ve been hesitant to shift any of our resources, time and energy away from our mission until we finished our latest expansion plan.
As our 6-year expansion was coming to an end in 2016, a wonderful opportunity with the Emanuel & Pauline A. Lerner Foundation began to emerge. Since the Lerner Foundation’s current philanthropic focus is to support efforts to raise and sustain post-secondary aspirations in students growing up in rural communities of Maine – with a special focus on supporting students through the 8th /9th grade transition – Lerner viewed the principles of the Trekkers model as a roadmap to help others working in the area of youth development from around the state reach better outcomes in raising aspirations for their students. Based on our long-held desire to train others in our model, we jumped at the chance to partner with the Lerner Foundation on this statewide effort by launching the Trekkers Training Institute (TTI).
In November 2017, Meredith Lynt was hired as the Institute Director to begin putting our plan into action and begin implementing our vision for TTI. In June 2017 TTI piloted its first program with the Lerner Foundation’s Aspirations Incubator Program (AIP) partner organizations. The pilot brought eight youth development professionals from across the state to participate in a three-month immersion training experience at TTI. Each AIP organization is currently implementing a six-year model grounded in Trekkers’ Youth Programming Principles with the goal of replicating Trekkers’ success across the state of Maine.
TTI training opportunities are now open to other practitioners in the fields of youth development, mentoring, and education.