February 25th 2013
“I never knew wool socks would make such a difference for my comfort when I’m trekking in the snow! They changed my life.” This lesson, along with many others, were talked about last weekend as Jim and I came together with new UrbanTrekkers’ leaders from UrbanPromise sites in Trenton, Wilmington, and Miami. No longer will UrbanTrekkers be exclusive to Camden. Now, with this new group of energetic leaders, UrbanTrekkers programs are starting to come to life for students elsewhere.
This summer, we will be taking students from Camden, Trenton, and Wilmington to Colorado and Utah for a fourteen day expedition through five national parks that will be the adventure of a lifetime. The beginning of preparation for that trip is training the staff in everything from proper gear for the students to the core values and practices that make UrbanTrekkers such a unique and transformative program in the lives of students. Values like integrity and compassion shape UrbanTrekkers and therefore shape the students that we have the privilege of serving.
At its deepest level, UrbanTrekkers holds to the goal of developing lasting relationships between teens and mentors. All the adventure, the hiking, paddling, and camping, would mean nothing if not for the building of relationships that create space for character development and genuine engagement with our youth. As I hiked and talked with those that have volunteered to get UrbanTrekkers programs up and running in their own cities, I couldn’t help but think about the prospect of those relationships forming on a trail in Trenton, or in a kayak on the water in Wilmington. That is the vision of the UrbanTrekkers expansion. As we continue our work here in Camden, new UrbanTrekkers programs will be challenging students’ comfort zones and expanding their worldviews at other UrbanPromise sites around the world.
Keep on trekking,