Sarah Hubert prepares a meal during a recent outdoor excursion.  Submitted photo

WINTHROP — Sarah Hubert is a school counselor, Maine guide and outdoor club advisor at Winthrop High School. While the outdoor club is only in its first year, Hubert has developed a group of more than 20 students, who have enjoyed everything from an annual overnight camping trip at Camden Hills State Park with Teens to Trails to hiking Mount Pisgah and ice fishing at Maranacook Lake with experts from the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, according to a news release from Teens to Trails.

Hubert grew up in Pittston and her family encouraged her to embrace the Maine outdoors as much as possible. She camped at Baxter State Park, hiked the Appalachian Trail with her father, canoed the East Branch of the Penobscot River and explored Acadia National Park. In high school, she joined the outdoor club and by the age of 19, Hubert became a Maine Guide. She said her love of the outdoors is what drives her to share experiences with her students.

“It’s so rewarding to see their excitement after an outdoor adventure — to see them experience something outside of their bubble. They might even discover something that they’re good at, and want to keep it up,” said Hubert.

With Hubert’s guidance, her students work together to decide which trips to plan. They meet weekly in the gym and throw out ideas ranging from hiking the Appalachain Trail to biking locally. Hubert said it’s wonderful to watch them find common ground, and often, one of her students will opt to explore something they know well, like ice fishing, and share their knowledge with the group.

Recognizing future outdoor leaders, Hubert has also encouraged her students to embrace opportunities. Most recently, two of her students applied for Sara’s Scholarship, an annual award from Teens to Trails that provides sophomores free summer adventures.

“I told them to apply, and promised to write their recommendations, all while thinking about my own experiences as a high school student and why the outdoors is important,” she said. With her help, both students were awarded the scholarship earlier this month.

In addition to advising the outdoor club, Hubert also works to develop programs at school to encourage the entire student body to explore outside. For a recent school Wellness Day, Hubert arranged canoeing and kayaking at Camp Mechuwana in Winthrop, where she attended camp as a child, and in June she plans to take a group of students to volunteer for Trek Across Maine, a multi-day cycling event that raises funds for lung health, education and research.

“I strongly believe that taking kids outside builds confidence and connections,” she said. “I’m here to assure them that they can do anything, and to support them in their efforts.”

Teens To Trails, based in Brunswick, is a charitable nonprofit dedicated to connecting high school students to life-changing outdoor experiences with a vision that all teens have the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors together.

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