More then anything else, we believe that the skills and values that matter are best developed through outdoor experiences. Furthermore, we believe that being in groups and being deeply involved in your own experience is the best way to learn and grow. We facilitate this process by using the outdoor environment. Our 1000 acres of beautiful, untouched land and lake in Sussex County, NJ remove the distractions of modern life and is a place to connect to both the natural world and oneself. Our NYC-based programs similarly use outside environments to engage and serve youth. Learning and personal growth is further developed through non-competitive activities, group-oriented focus, and the individual’s voice in creating their own experience. Finally, we add challenges, that put acquired skills to the test. This approach results in broad based personal development in ways unique to each participant, effectively engages youth and fosters development along 6 dimensions of growth, our Six Pillars: Self Growth, Being a Steward, Being a Friend, Learning to Learn, Being Healthy, and Learning to Survive.
The Value Catcher functions as a tangible representation of this development; it helps our young people acknowledge and identify the skills and values they are growing and enhancing as they experience our program.
While participating in a Trail Blazers program, each child chooses the value he or she will work on – his or her own “Value in Progress.” Each Value has specific behaviors and qualities that demonstrate growth, the achievement of which earns a bead for their Value Catcher©. We can see in the pride with which campers carry and display their Value Catchers© that they gained confidence in their own ability to learn, to grow, to achieve, and to be successful.