A Northern Forest Explorer on the Moose River in Maine. Photo: Northern Forest Canoe Trail

Beginning this June, more than 200 children ages 10 to 14 will get the chance to paddle for a week on the 740-mile Northern Forest Canoe Trail (NFCT), which winds through the Adirondacks, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.

The Northern Forest Explorers Youth Program, which will be running 20 different trips along the NFCT this Summer, looks to help local youth learn basic paddling and outdoor skills, environmental and ecological relationships, and fundamentals of leadership and self-development.

The organization, which runs the trips for only around $100 per participant with the help of local outfitters, also involves the children in clean water stewardship; something Northern Forest Explorers Youth Program Director Roger Poor says creates a sense of pride and gives them an ownership stake in maintaining the area they live in.

Good idea, right? We thought so too.

Applications are due May 27 and are available HERE.

Locations and dates for the 2012 Northern Forest Explorers program:

Old Forge/Long Lake Region: July 9 to 13
Tupper Lake/Saranac Lake: July 16 to 20
Plattsburgh area: July 23 to 27

Richford/Enosburg area (Missisquoi River): June 25 to 29
West Charleston/Island Pond (Clyde River): July 2 to 6
Newport (Clyde River Watershed): July 30 to Aug. 3

New Hampshire
Errol/Dummer/Milan region (Lake Umbagog/Androscoggin River): June 25 to 29
Colebrook/Stratford (Connecticut River): July 9 to 13
Groveton Region (Connecticut River): Aug 13 to 17

Fort Kent/Allagash (Allagash River): July 16 to 20
Eustis/Stratton (Flagstaff Lake): July 23 to 27
Jackman (Moose River): July 30 to Aug. 3
Rockwood/Greenville (West Branch Penobscot): Aug. 6-10

-Andy Kravetz