Hearty Roots gets local teens off the grid and into Maine’s wild

Mon, 11/13/2023 - 8:15am

Hearty Roots is all about seeing in the dark, under the stars, away from screens. This fall, the local outdoor youth organization piloted two “Teen Retreat Weekends,” which consisted of outings lasting three days and two nights. Adventures were led by Josh Leatham and Erin Quinley, both experienced guides and youth mentors.

“Teens in our summer camp offerings asked for Hearty Roots connection all year ’round, and we delivered,” said Haley Bezon, founder and executive director of Hearty Roots. “Asking for what you need isn’t always easy as a young person, and these folks are doin’ it.”

The Hearty Roots teen retreat weekend helped kids show up for each other, lend a hand when needed, and connect with respect. Programming involved learning primitive outdoor skills like making and cooking over an open fire. Participants practiced wood carving, and got to whittle their own wooden spoons. With their guides, the young adults immersed themselves in Maine’s wild, discovering how to become good stewards of the land, and their mental wellness.

“Hearty!” Erin Quinley called at the start of the adventure as six teenagers loaded gear onto their backs. “Roots!” the group chanted in response, in unison.  As they took their first steps into the Bremen woods, the sounds of laughter and excitement brightened the fall foliage of the trail.

If your teen is looking to get off the grid and into their heart, Hearty Roots will resume teen retreat weekends in February and plans to hold one each weekend. Teens will be grouped by age to maximize learning and engagement. For more information on teen retreats or Hearty Roots’ unique social-emotional approach to wellness and connection to nature, hike on over to heartyroots.org. They can’t wait to meet you on the trail, where journeys overlap.