Monday, March 31, 2008

Autobiography of a Great Leader

A past bike trip leader, Ann was one of two leaders of a Cape Cod Trek, which went out with a group of 10 exceptional teens. Ann lives in Cleveland, Ohio, where she works as a high school teacher and enjoys yoga, bike-riding, her family, and much, much more. Here is what Ann has to say about herself...

“I am proud of my family and very grateful to have been blessed with such wonderfully supportive parents and awesome brothers! In my free time, I like to read, travel, listen to music, listen to NPR (National Public Radio), garden, and play with my one-and-a-half-year-old nephew, Ryan. Some things in the world that amaze me are the sky, the ever-expanding universe, the power of language, the written word, the many paradoxes in our everyday lives, and the human brain! I feel very free and independent when I am biking. I love to commute by bicycle whenever the opportunity presents itself. This summer’s Cape Cod Trek was a great time because of the fun group and the excitement of exploring a new area—and to travel by bike added to the adventure! One of my favorite quotes is, ‘You know you've found your purpose when your greatest joy meets the world's deepest need.’ There are days when I feel like I've definitely found this joy and purpose in my teaching career! I've been teaching for ten years, and I have enjoyed sharing my love of reading and learning with my students.”

~ Anne Taddeo

Friday, March 28, 2008

Teen Trek Groups

Our groups are small, cooperative, challenging, and fun! Each trip usually has 8-12 trippers and 2 leaders. We plan our trips to be co-ed, though occasional imbalances occur because of the patterns of sign-ups. Our leaders are not tour guides or riding tape recorders of facts. Rather, they are capable adults who are just as excited as you are about the trips. We consider a sense of fun and discovery much more valuable to a trip than past knowledge of an area. Often a leader is exploring a place for the first time too, and everyone finds the sharing of adventure more complete. Group decisions are encouraged whenever possible, with a leader assuming a guiding rather than authoritative role.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Experiencing the World

I went on the trip that goes from Pittsburgh to Washington DC. The night before the trip, it suddenly dawned on me that it was going to be hard. I got pretty nervous. However, when I went to the hotel where we were going to meet, everyone was really nice. I immediately knew that this was going to be a great experience. To make a long story short, I was right. I enjoyed every moment of the trip, from the biking, to white water rafting, to going swimming across the border of West Virginia, to watching the Colbert Report when it rained, to touring DC, to just being with the other kids in my group. Being from New York City, I had never really seen that much of the rest of the country, except for the North East, and this trip really showed me smaller towns and beautiful scenery further south, which was great. My group was really close and by the second day, I was really good friends with everyone. The trip was a great experience for me, and I would recommend it to anyone. I will definitely do another one next year.

~ Nick Evert, Grade 9

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Benefits to Teens

Teens from around the world have benefited from this excellent program by being offered opportunities to mature and develop in a safe, structured, and fun environment. Read on to see the benefits Teen Treks can offer your teen.
Upon traveling many miles powered by one’s own physique, a person will feel their personal strength and understand that they are capable of great things. This is what our teens experience upon cycling a hundred or hundreds of miles on their Teen Treks bike trip.

Teen Treks offers a mixture of both structure and flexibility with the leaders’ guidance. Safe cycling roads are pre-determined, itineraries are planned prior to the start of the trip, and most overnights are booked in advance by Teen Treks staff. This structure allows each group to fill in routes and activities which fit the interests of the whole group. Teens are responsible for sharing their interests, listening to their trip-mates and participating in group decision-making. This process fosters leadership, positive teamwork, and promises a great time!

A Teen Treks bike trip is the best arena for a teen to experience success and fulfillment. Biking allows our groups to travel through many different places – towns, cities, and countryside – at a pace that allows them to really experience what is around them, while also providing the forward motion, which lends to a feeling of accomplishment.

One of the unique advantages to adventure travel is the inevitability of surprise. Each trip runs into at least a few unexpected problem-solving situations (such as a grocery store being closed, bad weather, bike breakdowns, people giving wrong directions, etc.) Leaders and staff are always right there in case of a serious situation, but mostly groups work together to solve these smaller unpredictable issues.

Camping allows all people the opportunity to tap into the quiet, simplicity, beauty and grandeur of nature. Gathering beneath the stars at night brings Teen Treks groups closer together. Nights of retreat from big cities encourages them to find joy together without distractions. And they do! Song circles, charades, smores, and storytelling are just some of the activities which bloom on our camping nights.

Teen Treks are a wonderful way for your teen to spread their wings. Their Teen Treks adventure will plant the seeds for the independence and maturity they need when they go away to college. Teen Treks won’t fail to impress you! With great prices, and a long history in practice, you will be happy with the benefits Teen Treks offers. And more importantly your teen will be thrilled with their wonderful summer adventure!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

What is Teen Treks Camping like?

Camping is an essential part of Teen Treks trips. Being in a natural setting without the disturbance of televisions, movies and other urban noises encourages the group to get to know each other. A campfire in the woods is a perfect place to let loose. Teens find themselves singing, creating talent shows, swapping stories, and simply enjoying the beauty of nature together. Camping is our glue for the road.

We use private, municipal, state, and national campgrounds. Each campsite has a fire pit and picnic tables. Some campgrounds are fancy (with a pool or beach, rec hall, and facilities for sports), while others are simple and rustic, in a beautiful natural environment.

We supply large enough tents for a roomy and comfortable sleep for all. We bring separate tents for males and females. Inside the tents, trippers use their own sleeping bag and foam mattress to keep them warm and comfortable throughout the night.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Get a good Bicycle

Cars rust and get crotchety. Roller skates break. But a good bike lives on and on (with a little help from its friend!) A bicycle is an investment that should last for many years. Even the inflation and the rising prices of bicycles, the cost of buying, operating, and fixing your bike is relatively small over the years.

We recommend a road or hybrid bicycle for our trips. A road bike has the drop down (goat horn shaped) handlebars with very thin tires and a hybrid is somewhere between a road and a mountain bike with thin tires.

HOW MUCH? Reliable 10-24 speed touring or hybrid bicycles begin at $300 and run as high as $1800. For any of our trips, a bicycle in the $300 to $600 range will be sufficient. Though there are cheaper bikes around, they are not as likely to hold up under the rigors of a trip. A cheaply made bike simply won’t last.

WHERE TO BUY: Please shop cautiously and comparatively. Your region is bursting with bike stores so check with at least three before making your choice. Do business only with a reputable bicycle dealer.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Our Leaders

If you want a leader who will cook your breakfast and fix your flat tires, look elsewhere. Our leaders provide ingredients and tools, but they' ll encourage you to tackle t he job on your own. They' re fun to be with, and when times get rough their warmth, strength, & guidance will help bring the group together . Our leaders have been carefully chosen and trained by our Leadership Committee. Emphasis is placed on the skills necessary in leading a trip such as group sensitivity, first aid, bike repairs, camping skills, hostel customs, environmental awareness, meal planning, and games.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

A Day in the Life...

Depending on circumstances, you'll crawl out of your sleeping bag or bed between 7:00 and 9:00 A.M. You'll help get breakfast and clean up the hostel, campsite, or guest room, and pack your bike. The group will go over the route and arrange meeting places along the way for swimming, lunch, whatever. Each person cycles at his or her own speed, with a leader bringing up the rear. Frequent stops are made for ice-cream, swimming, resting at the tops of hills, talking with local sheep, etc. The group regroups at or near the final destination to arrange for grocery shopping and dinner. The evening's activities can be planned ahead, or left open to the spontaneity of the moment. On planned trips your overnights will be spent in hostels which are cooperative, dormitory style accommodations, or state parks and local campgrounds; some trips are either all hostelling or all camping while many offer a mixture of both. A few trips will spend the night in college dorms, country inns, or farmhouses. On trips with phantom overnights, groups often stay in farmer's fields, back-yards, churches and firehouses as well as regular campgrounds.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Hear Danielle's Story!

On the Canadian Trek 101 there were a lot of experiences,lessons, and beautiful sights. First of all, when you go on a Teen Treks trip, you have a lot of expectations of what it will be like on a 16-day trip. It seems frightening at first, but really its not! It’s great fun. My first impression of the trip was that I would be really scared to not have my parents with me. Once I established what it was going to be like on the trip and where I was going to go, I learned independence. Now, I feel like I don’t need my parents with me every minute of my life.

I saw amazing sights like Niagara Falls and much more! You notice a lot more on a bike than when you are in a car. I also went to a lot of major cities in Canada like Toronto, Kingston and Niagara Falls. There was something different about each city, but one thing that is the same about all of them is they are all bordering Lake Ontario. Overall, we did about 400 miles of biking. After the trip, once you think about it, you feel like you accomplished something not commonly done.

To anyone who is thinking about going on a Teen Trek, I recommend it for everyone!

~ Danielle Jarashow, Grade 7

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The Perfect Recipe

Recipe for turning 10 miles…
into 10 hours

Montreal-Quebec Trek, Grades 10-12
From the lighthouse hostel in Cape Vincent, NY to
Kingston, Ontario is about ten miles - two miles
along Lake Ontario, the ferry to Canada, eight miles
of countryside across Wolfe Island and the ferry to
Kingston. Ten miles takes an hour or less... unless
you find trouble or fun along the way.
· 6 incredible high school students, 2 leaders + 8
· 1 Frisbee
· 1 picnic lunch
· 1 corn maze with bunnies
· 1 island village with bakery
· 1 concrete block in the water
1) Load bikes and pedal 2 miles to Cape Vincent.
Buy lunch, eat the ice cream before it melts and
play frisbee on village green (1 hour)
2) Take the ferry across to Wolfe Island, ride t
shade and have a picnic (1 hour)
3) Ride through farmland, stop at corn maze advertised
on the side of the road. Get lost in a corn
field, hang out with amazing maze family and pet
the bunnies (2 hours). Get inside scoop on best
swimming on the island.
4) Bike to Marysville and wait for leaders with short
attention spans around ambulances and fire
trucks (0.5 hour)
5) EAT sweet things at the Wolfe Island Bakery (1
6) Bike to and jump off of high concrete pillar at
the winter ferry dock (1.5 hours of jumping and
7) Fine dining and sunset off the beaten tourist path
at Browns Bay Inn (2 hours)
8) Bike back to town and take the ferry to Kingston (1 hour)

~ Carol Sevin, Trip Leader

Hear Ruth's Story!

This past summer I went on the NYC to Montreal trek and had an amazing time. I have been on two trips with Teen Treks now and I cannot wait to go on another one. Through this program I have met some amazing people from across the country, and still keep in touch with many of them. This program gets people to break out of their comfort zone and get to know the other group members and themselves better. I would recommend Teen Treks to anyone who is looking to have a good time and make some life long friends.

~ Ruth Kee, Grade 12