ROCKLAND — Trekkers, a youth mentoring organization based in Rockland, has instated Election Day as a paid holiday for staff. Trekkers’ decision to provide paid time off for staff “helps encourage voting as a form of civic engagement, which is a principle that Trekkers believes in and teaches,” says Trekkers’ Executive Director Amie Hutchison, in a news release.
The paid holiday also gives staff the option to volunteer at the polls, if that is of interest to them.
Within Trekkers’ youth programs, students regularly engage in community service. They also often participate in a consensus process, whereby students make proposals, discuss options, and then make decisions that all must agree upon. The consensus decision process includes group discussion (speaking with a talking piece), listening, and with eyes closed, making a motion on a scale of approval or disapproval by gesture of hands. This process repeats until agreement by all is met. Unlike voting where a majority rules, consensus may be built quickly or require several meetings until agreement by all is reached.
Trekkers uses this process to help students learn the power of their own voice, help them build a sense of authorship and control over their own experience, and to foster respect and empathy for others, even if there is disagreement.
Learn more about Trekkers’ Youth Programming Principles at the Trekkers Training Institute, or when consensus decision-making is used in youth programs.
For over 25 years, non-profit organization Trekkers has been dedicated to helping young people thrive. Through its unique six-year mentoring and experiential learning program, research shows programs help increase students’ resiliency, relationship-building, and aspirations for the future. To learn more, visit the website at trekkers.org.