UrbanTrekkers' mission is to be an outdoor, hands-on, up-close learning and mentoring program, where the world is our classroom. We travel to places beyond students' everyday lives, to sites where learning comes alive and students have room to grow.
UrbanTrekkers seeks to complement UrbanPromise’s highly successful academic programming with expeditionary learning opportunities. We believe education requires motivation—an awakening of the childlike curiosity that is part of human nature. Trekker trips are designed to motivate students to learn from their outdoor experiences and carry that motivation into their studies. Activities are designed to help develop students’ skills in teamwork, leadership, and decision-making.
Our dedicated group of staff, interns, and volunteers believe the experiences we have during adolescence directly influence the direction and path we follow the rest of our lives. An important part of those experiences are the relationships formed with positive and caring adult role models—those committed to teaching our youth that each individual is wonderfully created in the image of God and poised for success in the future.
UrbanTrekker's 6 Key Elements of Learning
Paddling, like all outdoor adventures, is more exciting if you rely on more than just luck; a good on-the-water experience requires knowledge of tides, paddling skills, and water safety. For UrbanTrekkers, the “turn on” to learning is the adventure, which often provides a direct application to their studies. We enhance all outdoor experiences with preparation and practical lessons that challenge students to take ownership of their adventures and connect themes back to what they are learning in the classroom.
We seek to bring meaning and purpose to the Bible’s story of Creation and our role as caretakers of the earth. UrbanTrekkers believes that in order to care for, conserve, and preserve places and resources, we must first understand and appreciate their intrinsic value. For example, students begin to understand concepts like watershed planning when they learn more about the water’s journey—that what enters a storm sewer on their street in Camden can easily pollute the ocean waters and bays of Barnegat Bay on the Jersey coast.
Each individual we meet and every place we go has a story—and these stories have a past and present that can shape the future. We strive to better understand our own history by visiting the very places where history took place. Exploring Civil War battlefields makes the textbook account of that part of American history come alive. A chance meeting with a veteran of the Vietnam War while visiting the Vietnam Memorial can provide a personal and firsthand account of what students are learning in the classroom.
Cross Cultural Experiences
We seek to travel beyond the familiar to better understand what can seem foreign and strange. Placing ourselves in the midst of other cultures challenges us to expand our worldview and see life through the eyes of another. During expeditions, we seek to learn more about the individuals who live in or come from that environment. We teach our Trekkers that though our environment may influence us, we can choose what defines us.
“From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked” (Luke 12:48). Following this verse, we seek to be stewards and servants wherever we leave our footprint. We teach our students the practice of servant leadership and incorporate that practice into UrbanTrekkers’ culture through various community service projects (i.e. volunteering at the South Jersey Food Bank or waterway restoration efforts).
Leadership Training and Team-Building
UrbanTrekkers live by a covenant, which sets a high bar for character development and the pursuit of excellence. Following this covenant requires a Trekker to lead by example and encourage and support others in the places where they feel most vulnerable. We provide extensive outdoor leadership training in order to challenge our students to work as a team and grow in character.