Roads to New Relationships
Trekkers Board Members & Officers
John Bragg, President
Owls Head – Director of Physician Recruitment for Penobscot Bay Medical Center
John Bragg is a native of Amherst, Massachusetts. He graduated from the University of Maine with a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural & Resource Economics, and spent nearly 20 years working with non-profit organizations within the agricultural and the nursery & landscape industries. John served as Executive Director of the Massachusetts Nursery & Landscape Association and the Nursery & Landscape Association Executives of North America. After moving to Maine with his family in 1995, John spent many years as an agent, partner and owner of deRochemont Realtors in Rockland, Maine. He continues to support and advocate for the people and communities of the mid-coast area as Director of Physician Recruitment for Penobscot Bay Medical Center in Rockport, Maine.
John has served on the Boards of many organizations including Rockland Rotary and the Maine Association of Realtors. He was a church youth leader for 6 years, and volunteers with Rockland Little League as a board member, coach and umpire.
John was honored as a Paul Harris Fellow by Rotary International; Rockland’s Rotarian of the Year; Realtor of the Year by the St. George River Realtors Council; and is an honorary life member of the Nursery & Landscape Association Executives of North America.
John lives in Owls Head with his wife Susan. They have two children, Andrew and Emily.
Ken Oelberger, Treasurer
St. George – Community Member/Retired Engineer
In addition to being a member of the Board, Ken is also a Trekkers volunteer. He completed his first expedition with the 7th graders at Acadia National Park in May 2011. A former design engineer/program manager with Raytheon, Ken spent the better part of his career developing and installing Air Traffic Control Systems. He and his wife, Dianne, are now retired and enjoying life from their home in St. George. Ken likes kayaking, sailing, hiking and cross country skiing. He is a member of the St. George Budget Committee and Conservation Commission.
Lilli Martin, Secretary
Thomaston – Teacher RSU #13
As a parent and teacher, I initially became interested in Trekkers after hearing about the wonderful opportunities offered to the young people in our district. I joined the Board in 2002 when my youngest son Luke was in the 7th grade. I participated as a volunteer on his 7th grade trip to Acadia National Park- a soggy but wonderful experience! In the years since I have been happy to participate in a variety of activities and on a number of committees, as well as enjoying simply being a part of a diverse and stimulating group that works well together and accomplishes great things.
As a Literacy Specialist with a Master’s Degree in Human Behavior and Development with a Reading Specialty, I have been fortunate to be involved in the lives of many children in our district. I teach at St. George School, where I have worked in the Title One program and am a classroom teacher with students from kindergarten through 8th grade. In the past, I have been active as a volunteer on the board of the Midcoast Association for the Education of Young Children, a participant and leader in Parent-Teacher groups, and on a variety of town committees and activities. I am currently a mentor in the Girls Talk Book Club at the Jackson Memorial Library. I enjoy reading, gardening, skiing, sewing and crafts, as well as spending time with my family in our "empty nest" on the St. George River.
Tenants Harbor – Trekker Parent
I have been a part of the Trekkers family since my oldest child, Hannah, joined the program as a 7th grader in 2003. I was flattered to be asked to join the Board in 2004. Both of my children, Hannah and Seth, have participated in the program and they have greatly valued their Trekkers' experiences.
I truly believe that Trekkers has provided them with experiences and opportunities that have made them more complete and thoughtful young adults as they move off in their own directions.
With a Master's degree in Early Intervention, I have worked for over 20 years with families and very young children with developmental delays. I recognize the importance and need for ongoing social support in our community and I have seen the difference a single relationship can make to a child. Along with participating in a variety of Trekker events I also volunteer at the high school, enjoy gardening, and spending time with my family and friends.
Rockland – Principal RSU #13
Tom Forti is the Principal at Oceanside High School east campus (the former Rockland District High School (RDHS)). Prior to taking this position, Tom was an administrator at an independent school in New York City. He is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts at Boston, and holds a Masters degree in Education Administration from NYU. Tom also served as the Assistant Principal and Athletic Director for RDHS. He has worked extensively with The Unity Project bringing anti-bullying and harassment strategies to Rockland. Tom lives in Rockland with his wife Marianne, and their two children, Greta and Jude. He is an avid golfer (time permitting) and loves spending time with his family.
St. George – Administrative Assistant, St. George School
I joined the Trekkers Board in 2002. I was raised in New York, and have a BA in Psychology from the University of New Hampshire. I worked with troubled adolescents before moving to Maine with my husband Alan in 1984. The "office lady" at St. George School since 1994, I enjoy connecting with St. George families, working on my family's old Maine farmhouse, going on 7th grade Trekkers trips and spending time with family. My "dream" is to go on a longer Trekkers trip. My daughters, Kate and Carrie, participated in Trekkers, which gave me firsthand knowledge of how young lives benefit from the relationships and experiences provided by their programs. I am a firm believer in giving young people the opportunity to discover new physical and emotional landscapes in the company of caring peers and mentors.
Rockland – Executive Director, Youth Forum Maine, Inc.
I was on the founding Trekkers Board of three members at its infancy in 1999-2000, serving as President, and have continued to be a member to the present. It’s been a great ride as we’ve watched this project blossom! In 1994, I was lucky enough to be one of four male volunteers that took five boys on the first Trekkers trip for five days of canoeing on the Moose River Bow. With the exception of 2002 when I was on leave with a study grant, I haven't missed a 7th grade trip.
While Trekkers was still under Youth Forum Maine (the organization I direct), my name, along with one other person from YFM board, was on the loan that bought Bessie, the famous Trekkers bus! That was an exciting adventure. What a privilege I’ve had in sharing that bus with students on dozens of expeditions over the years. I cherish the relationships built over the years. Married to Judith, we have a biracial family with four grown children and six grandchildren. I have a bachelor’s degree in sociology and a masters degree in theology.
St. George – Community Member
Joe Higdon retired in St. George in 2006 following a long career as an investment analyst with particular interest in the global beverage industry and microfinance in the Republic of the Philippines. During his 32-year tenure with Capital Research and Management Company, Higdon established the firm's Washington, DC office as well as its undergraduate hiring program. He continues in his international business and philanthropic interests as a Director of The Coca-Cola Company in the Philippines; as a Director of International Container Terminal Services; and as Chair of the Grameen Foundation USA Philippine Advisory Committee. Locally, he is a trustee of The Island Institute based in Rockland, Maine. In addition, he is President of Rocking Moon Foundation, the Higdon-Sudow family foundation focused on youth education, economically disadvantaged and at-risk youth, and the needs of gay, lesbian and transgender youth. The family maintains a part-time residence in Washington, DC.
Tenants Harbor – Community Member
Sam is an attorney who recently retired from Squire, Sanders & Dempsey. He was a long-time volunteer and board chair at Lowell School in Washington, D.C, where he helped to found a scholarship program for Latino high-school students, and is on the board of LearnServe, an organization that equips students with the tools of business planning and sponsors them in leading community-based social change efforts. In his law practice Sam worked with school finance, charter public schools and local economic development. He is part of the Island Institute’s program to make investments in businesses on the Maine islands and the Mid-Coast. He and his wife Deb live in Tenants Harbor.
Nancy McLeod Carter
Thomaston – Communications/HR Specialist, Island Institute
After spending most of her life in Denver, Colorado, Nancy moved to Maine in 2004. She holds a B.A. from Mount Holyoke College and a master’s degree in Management from Regis University, where she also served as an affiliate faculty member in the university’s graduate program. Her professional career includes many years as a central administrator with the Denver Public Schools, heading the Denver Public Schools Foundation, and leading educational programs for Rocky Mountain Junior Achievement. Nancy and her husband Ed live in a Greek Revival house that requires constant pampering, along with two English Springer spaniels that demand the same.
Tenants Harbor – Community Member
As a long time Trekker parent and volunteer, I have witnessed the change that the Trekkers program can make in people's lives, both as students and as leaders. As a teenager, I was profoundly affected by participating in a similar program in my high school, and I am glad to have the opportunity now to give back as a member of the Trekkers Board. Professionally, I am the CTO of PenBay Solutions. Personally, I am the father of three awesome (now grown) kids in Tenants Harbor and the husband of a very patient and marvelous woman.
Cushing - Student
Raegan is currently a student at Oceanside High School. She became a Trekker in 7th grade, and has been involved in many wonderful Trekker Programs, like Photo Treks and Trekkers Student Leadership. In addition to Trekkers she enjoys making music and playing soccer. She also loves her summer job at Monhegan Boat Line. Raegan is looking forward to being a member of the board because Trekkers has given so much to her, and she'd like to give back in anyway she can. Raegan absolutely love Trekkers. She also enjoys long walks through the forest and cheesy science jokes.
Thomaston – Student
Luke comes from Thomaston, and is currently a senior at Oceanside High School. In addition to being a Trekker, Luke has been active in student government, is a member of the National Honor Society and has participated in sports, including tennis and basketball. Luke works at his family’s ice cream shop, Camden Cone. Luke is interested in business, and is excited about joining the Board. He feels that becoming a Trekkers Board Member is “a great transition to real life application.”
Thomaston – Social Worker
I am a single parent and my involvement with Trekkers began with volunteering when my daughter entered the 7th grade program in 1996. I joined the Trekkers Board in 2001, continuing my commitment to youth in the community. After a 20-year career as a builder, I began a second career as a social worker in 1997. My 14 years in social work bring a valuable social and cultural perspective to the board. Each time I leave a board meeting or a Trekker event, I recognize the critical importance of this work, at this time, in this community. I am grateful for the opportunity to make a small, meaningful contribution.
St. George – Community Member
I have been involved with the local youth for 23 years, beginning with coaching my oldest son's tee-ball team. I continued to coach and officiate youth sports from that time, seeing through three sons. In addition to athletics I have helped with school musicals and other school-related activities. Searching for more ways to be involved with the young people in this community, I came across Trekkers in 2004 and offered be a leader on one of their expeditions. I was immediately enchanted with the organization, and went on to help lead two more trips before deciding to join the board in the spring of 2006. It is widely accepted that the young people in our community benefit from Trekkers bringing them together to form relationships with caring adults. What I have learned from Trekkers, which is sometimes overlooked, is that these relationships are a huge gift for us adults as well.