Eight Maine high schools have won trips through the Teens to Trails organization’s twice yearly Trip Lottery, and the trips can be used next school year. The lottery is designed to help overcome some of the common challenges that school outing clubs experience: the time it takes to plan a trip, access to specialized gear, and the costs associated with transportation, professional guiding and entrance fees to outdoor destinations, according to a news release from Teens to Trails.

Among the lottery winners are local outing clubs at Cony High School in Augusta and Gardiner Area High School.

Gardiner’s club will have a one-day hiking trip in Camden Hills State Park led by North Star Adventures Maine guide Nancy Zane. The trip will include instruction on proper clothing and equipment, footwear, map reading and navigation, leave no trace principles, basic first aid kit contents, and making the right food choices for hiking.

Cony outing club students will participate in a one-day canoe paddle on the Ossipee river led by Maine Path & Paddle Guides Master Recreational Guide David Butler.

Outing clubs from Carrabec High School in North Anson and Maine Central Institute in Pittsfield also were among trip winners.

Carrabec club members will have an opportunity to participate in an overnight camping at Swan Island from Merrymeeting Bay Trust, while MCI club members are heading to the Merrymeeting Bay for an adventure with Seaspray Kayaks.

According to the release, teenagers are losing their connection with nature at an accelerated pace. But a recent study determined that 20 minutes per day in nature helps maintain physical health and a sense of well-being.

Time in nature is an antidote for stress, can lower blood pressure, enhance immune system function, increase self-esteem, reduce anxiety, and improve mood. And kids can get these benefits, even with schools operating remotely.

Staying at home does not mean staying indoors and being inactive. Engaging in outdoor exercise, such as fishing, hunting, hiking, boating, walking, running, are permitted activities under the executive order issued by Gov. Janet Mills, as long as people continue to follow social distancing guidelines.

The Spring 2020 Trip Lottery is available to any high school outing club registered with Teens to Trails. Funding was provided through a grant from Merrymeeting Bay Trust, and volunteer leadership from Registered Maine Guides and their outdoor businesses.

The four other schools include Sacopee Valley High School in Hiram, Mountain Valley High School in Rumford, Dirigo High School in Dixfield and Spruce Mountain High School in Jay.

Teens to Trails connects high school students to life-changing outdoor experiences, with a vision that all teens have the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors, together.

The statewide non-profit provides direct financial assistance and programming to outing clubs. Have an idea for a trip, or want to start an outing club? Contact Program Manager Jeanne Christie at
[email protected].