Friends of Baxter State Park invites current Maine high school sophomores and juniors to submit applicatiosn to participate in the 10th annual Maine Youth Wilderness Leadership Program. The program includes a nine-day wilderness experience in Baxter State Park, scheduled for early August. Applications for the program are due Feb. 8.

This program offers 10 high school sophomores and juniors the opportunity to spend nine days immersed in "the finest example of wild country in Maine," according to a news release. Accompanied by experienced wilderness leaders from the Chewonki Foundation, participants learn from a variety of specialists as they backpack from one end of Baxter State Park to the other.

Participants study wilderness through science, art, storytelling, photography, writing, history and recreation. They hike with a geologist, volunteer with a ranger, and paint at Katahdin Lake with a professional artist. These experiences help inspire and challenge emerging young wilderness leaders. Participants have described this program as “life-changing” and “the best learning experience I’ve ever had.”

The program includes readings and assignments in preparation for the field experience. After returning from the park, each participant gives a public presentation in his or her community.

Friends of Baxter State Park offers the Maine Youth Wilderness Leadership Program at no cost to participants.

There is a competitive application process to be accepted into the program. Only students who are currently enrolled as sophomores or juniors in a Maine high school are eligible to apply. Applications must be submitted online at friendsofbaxter.org by the deadline of Feb. 8. Ten participants and six alternates will be announced by early April.

For more information, visit friendsofbaxter.org or contact Friends of Baxter State Park at P.O. Box 322, Belfast, ME 04915.