Northern Forest Explorers Program: Kids Wanted

WAITSFIELD, Vt. – The Northern Forest Canoe Trail (NFCT) is a one-of-a-kind place for kids to learn to paddle, camp, and have the experience of a lifetime. For youth ages 10-14, the Northern Forest Explorers Program takes participants on 5-day paddling trips that support outdoor educational experiences, healthy lifestyles, cultivate leadership and teamwork skills, and foster a practical understanding of the natural environment.

This summer, the Northern Forest Explorers Program will run 12 sessions. Locations and dates are as follows:

Old Forge/Eagle Bay Region:  July 11-15
Long Lake Region: July 18-22
Tupper Lake/Saranac Lake: July 25-29

Richford/Enosburg/Montgomery (Missisquoi River):  June 27-July 1
Northeast Kingdom (Clyde River):  July 5-9, August 1-5

New Hampshire
Colebrook/Stratford (Connecticut River): July 11-15
Groveton Region (Connecticut River): August 17-21
Errol/Milan/Berlin (Lake Umbagog/Androscoggin River): June 27-July 1

Eustis/Stratton (Flagstaff Lake): July 25-29
Jackman (Moose River): August 1-8
Rockwood/Greenville (West Branch Penobscot): August 8-12

Cost: $100 per student; financial aid is available. Space is limited. Applications are due May 27 and are available by contacting Youth Program Director Roger Poor at (603) 801-9597,

Northern Forest Explorers gain a sense of appreciation for their own backyards, are inspired to support them, and build a foundation of leadership skills to be able to do so. Participants learn basic outdoor skills, environmental and ecological relationships, and both self and group leadership basics. 

NFCT seeks to integrate the program into trailside communities by partnering closely with local schools, community organizations, and guide services.

Started in 2009, NFCT piloted the program with communities in Maine and New Hampshire.  The results are overwhelmingly positive, as local community organizers see the transformation that occurred when young people were given the opportunity to learn and grow in an experiential, outdoor setting in their own backyards.

Remarks from past participants:

"This experience was a lifelong one that brought us together and made us long to learn more about our surroundings…"

"I’ve always lived here and now I can share local benefits…"

"You learn about your friends, yourself, and nature…"

100% of the participants would enthusiastically recommend this experience to their peers or attend another trip.

Remarks from parents:

"She learned about working with others toward a goal…"

"… gained more confidence…"

"…a better leader…"

"…respect for the Outdoors and all it offers…

The Northern Forest Explorers Program is funded by a federal appropriation from the U.S. Department of Justice.

The Northern Forest Canoe Trail is a 740-mile inland paddling trail tracing historic travel routes across New York, Vermont, Québec, New Hampshire, and Maine. NFCT connects people to the Trail’s natural environment, human heritage, and contemporary communities by stewarding, promoting, and providing access to canoe and kayak experiences along this route.  NFCT, Inc was incorporated in 2000 and is a 501(c)3 membership organization.

To learn more about the Northern Forest Explorers Program, visit or call 802-496-2285.

Contact information:
Roger Poor, Youth Program Director
Northern Forest Canoe Trail
(603) 801-9597 or


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