Experiential Learning

UrbanTrekkers' experiential learning programs expose inner-city youth to the diversity of people, places, and natural landscapes outside the environment of their everyday lives. Our programming follows the philosophy that education is a lifelong journey that, when nurtured, leads to an endless childlike curiosity and a continual quest to know “why.” Each Trekker component is designed to complement the academic rigors in place within the UrbanPromise classroom. Since 2004 UrbanTrekkers has aided in the leadership and character development of countless middle and high school youth, encouraging them to become motivated, disciplined, goal-oriented, and successful members of society.

Over the course of a year, a combined 230 children and teens travel, learn, and develop character through UrbanTrekkers' experiential activities.

UrbanTrekkers' experiential programs are designed to complement what students are learning in the classroom. All told, youth participate in a total of 40 engaging and educational projects throughout the year.

From watershed and urban planners to city councilman and parks directors, local experts hold discussions with students about the ecology and history of Camden.


Monarch butterfly on net

Monarch Butterfly Release

Each fall students at UrbanPromise's schools celebrate the monarch butterfly and its journey of migration from the Northeast United States and Canada to the trans-volcanic mountains of Michoacán, Mexico. Students raise the butterflies in the classroom from egg to full-fledged monarch and then release them in UrbanPromise's butterfly garden.

Monarch butterfly on net

Stream Stewards

Our students are also testing Camden’s waters to assess its quality. Stream Stewards takes Urban Promise Academy students to three sites on the Cooper River to test for water quality indicators such as temperature, nitrates, phosphates, pH, dissolved oxygen, and turbidity. Students learn the importance of watershed health and watershed stewardship, how our actions impact the Delaware River watershed, and take trips to relevant environmental sites in the Camden area.


Camden was born on the water, yet few residents have any connection to the city's waterways. Meanwhile, our students are becoming the exception to that rule. UrbanPromise students are paddling on their city's rivers as part of our summer youth employment program, RiverGuides. They lead approximately 300 Camden community members on ten ecology history paddles throughout the summer season. These paddling trips allow passionate youth to share the natural beauty that exists in Camden with others living in the community. 

Voyageur Adventures

Through a variety of partnerships, and with the Voyageur canoes built in the Urban BoatWorks shop, UrbanPromise Academy students and UrbanPromise Experiential Learning staff connect students to their local waterways.  Students receive paddle instruction, a safety briefing, experience on the water in the voyageur canoes, and learn about the watershed and local environmental issues.   


In partnership with the American Littoral Society, UrbanTrekkers offers a marine biology after-school program to our middle school students. In addition to visiting Camden's Adventure Aquarium, students learn about local marine habitats through field trips to the Atlantic Ocean and the Delaware and Cooper Rivers.