Nature + friends = FUN!
This summer over 40 StreetLeaders participated in the TrentonTrekkers program. The theme for the summer was water, and the students learned about different aquatic ecosystems on four different field trips. The first trip of the year also included our Jr. StreetLeaders, and we went to the SPLASH Steamboat located in Lambertville, NJ. On this trip, the students learned about the Delaware River and topics related to river ecology. The second trip was to the Abbott Marshlands in Hamilton, NJ (right in our backyard!), where the students learned about the importance of marshes. Our third trip took us canoeing on the Delaware-Raritan Canal, which runs through Trenton; we learned about water safety and the canal. And to wrap up the summer, we headed to Cattus Island County Park for a beach trip. We learned about coastal ecology and had a cookout to celebrate the completion of the camps and summer employment program. It was a fun summer for everyone involved!
If you grew up before 2000, you most likely spent a good deal of your time outdoors in good weather and bad; riding bikes, sledding, playing baseball, or creating games that allowed you and your friends to be outside in fresh air for most of the day. But now, we find that most kids spend almost no time outside. There are many reasons for this change and we believe youth today are missing out by not being outdoors exploring their world. (You can watch this video for a compelling viewpoint of the value of “outdoor time”.)
We believe in outdoor time and UPT has recently re-started the UrbanTrekkers program in Trenton. TrentonTrekkers is led by one of our employees and outdoor guy, Eric Martin. We are starting small, but we believe we have a unique opportunity to offer youth from Trenton a different perspective about the world around them.
UrbanTrekkers began as a part of UrbanPromise in Camden (our Mothership), and was developed as a way to teach urban students who struggled in a classroom setting. It was designed as an experiential outdoor program to complement the academic experiences of our UrbanPromise teenagers through hands-on learning and mentoring where the world is the classroom.
Through travel to places beyond students’ everyday lives and a focus on cross-cultural experiences, historical perspectives, environmental awareness, and community service, students are motivated to learn from their UrbanTrekker journeys and carry that motivation into their studies. “Travel to other places” can be as simple as a bike trip over the bridge from Trenton to Morrisville, PA where students learn about the river, the canal, Robert Morris (he bankrolled the American Revolution) and William Trent (founder of Trenton) and more.
We are excited to reignite this program and look forward to hearing about the amazing experiences our youth have as part of UPTrenton Trekkers. We hope we can offer the kids plenty of outdoor time to experience the amazing gifts of nature.
Famed naturalist, John Muir, explained it this way: “Keep close to Nature’s heart… and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.”
TrentonTrekkers’ October 12 2018 canoe trip on the Delaware and Raritan Canal!