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 in Trenton- UPTrenton Trekkers- led by our Resource Manager and outdoor guy, Eric Martin. We are starting small, but we believe we have an 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.
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 NJ 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.”
UPTrenton Trekkers’ latest activity was an October 12 canoe trip on the Delaware and Raritan Canal!