Overnight Camp

Overnight Camp
Outdoor Adventure Awaits!

Camper-driven programs, primitive outdoor living, and challenging trail expeditions make up this unforgettable summer experience.

Trail Blazers is located on a forested 1000 acre property complete with 14 individual campsites, dozens of exciting activity areas, and a private 55 acre lake. Each day is filled with outdoor adventures with a schedule determined by the interests of the group – as such, no two sessions are ever the same. This is an outdoor adventure like no other; open to campers of every background and all experience levels. Join us! Our values of showing care for ourselves, others, our community, and the environment guide all aspects of our program, and will ensure that your camper is learning and growing in the process of having an amazing time.

Canvas Tents Instead of Cabins

Trail Blazers offers campers an immersive experience in nature, which includes where we live and sleep. The challenge and simplicity of teepees and tents, of mosquito nets and latrines, is a big part of our program.

A Multicultural Community

Your child's camp mates will come from all over, with tons of skills, hobbies, and interests to share. They'll make new friends who might be from the same neighborhood, from a different town or city, or from the other side of the world.

A Small Camp Experience

Though there are lots of kids at camp, your camper will be living in a group with just 8 to 10 other campers, taking on the challenges and activities of camp together. Along with their group leaders (who come from all over the world!), they'll plan their programs and days based on their interests.

Challenging Trail Expeditions

A highlight of the camp experience is Vagabond, a 1 to 4 night camping trip in nearby Stokes State Park, down the Delaware River or along the Appalachian Trail. This will put your child's small camp's communication, teamwork, and outdoor skills to the test. We provide all the equipment for the groups to take on this challenge!

The Process is the Product

Our decentralized philosophy is grounded in the premise that children learn best by experience, and that the process of setting up and activity is of equal or greater value than the activity alone. This gives groups opportunities to take real ownership of their summer experience.

Electronics-Free Zone

No cell phones, no internet, no video games – no problem! We've been unplugged for 130 years. By signing up for Trail Blazers, you are committing to your child joining an electronics-free community for the duration of camp. It's totally worth it!

Select a topic for more information:
Ages and Programs

Outdoor Adventure – Our classic camp program

  • Grades: 1 – 10
  • Duration: 2 weeks
  • Program offered for both girls and boys in all sessions

Try everything camp has to offer! You will live in a small camp group with 8-10 other kids who are around the same age as you. (NEW THIS SUMMER: sign up for camp based on the age group you would like your child to be in.) Your Vagabond will be a 1-4 night trip, based on your groups’ age and preparedness, and will take you around our 1000 acre camp property or along the Appalachian Trail.

Mini-Camp – One week of overnight adventure

  • Grades: K – 2
  • Duration: 1 week
  • Program offered for both girls and boys in all sessions

This 6 day, 5 night camp is a great way to be introduced to overnight camp and is designed specifically for children who have been to our Brooklyn Day Camp, either during this season or in prior seasons. Each mini session of no more than 10 campers will have 3 dedicated staff members who are with your camper 24/7, along with additional support.

Canoeing Intensive – Classic program with daily canoeing

  • Grades: 7 – 10
  • Duration: 2 weeks
  • Girl’s program: Sessions 1, 2, and 4
  • Boy’s program: Session 3

Build your paddle skills and put them to the test on a Vagabond down the Delaware River. (Please note: ALL CAMPERS, regardless of program, have opportunities to canoe at camp)

Biking Intensive – Classic program with daily biking

  • Grades: 7 – 10
  • Duration: 2 weeks
  • Girl’s program: Session 3
  • Boy’s program: Sessions 1, 2, and 4

Ride through camp on a bike that is yours for the two weeks that you are at TBC (provided by camp). Learn the techniques needed for your Vagabond through Stokes State Forrest. (Please note: ALL CAMPERS, regardless of program, have opportunities to bike at camp)

Rock Climbing Camp – Classic program plus indoor/outdoor rock climbing

  • Grades: 4 – 6
  • Duration: 2 weeks
  • Girl’s Program: Sessions 3 and 4
  • Boy’s Program: Sessions 1 and 2

Spend a day at an indoor climbing gym building the skills you will take with you to Allamuchy State Park for your hiking and rock climbing Vagabond. (Please note: rock climbing activities are offered ONLY to participants of the Rock Climbing Camp)

Leaders in Training – Extended program offering challenging and rewarding leadership opportunities

  • Grades: 9 – 12
  • Duration: 4 weeks
  • Program offered for both girls and boys in both sessions

Teenagers aspiring to become strong leaders in their families and communities come together for 4 weeks of leadership, personal growth, community service and environmental stewardship activities. For more detail about this program, please visit our Youth Leadership program page.

Camp Dates

One Week Programs
(Mini Camp)
Grades K – 2

  • Mini Camp 1: July 1 – July 6
  • Mini Camp 2: July 15 – July 20
  • Mini Camp 3: July 29 – August 3

Two Week Programs:
(Outdoor Adventure, Rock Climbing Camp, Canoeing Intensive, Biking Intensive)
Grades 1 – 10

  • Session 1: July 1 – July 13
  • Session 2: July 15 – July 27
  • Session 3: July 29 – August 10
  • Session 4: August 12 – August 24

Four Week Programs:
(Leaders in Training)
Grades 9 – 12

  • Leaders in Training 1: July 1 – July 27
  • Leaders in Training 2: July 29 – August 24
Rates and Registration

What is the cost to attend camp?

All Trail Blazers programs are offered on a tier basis, loosely linked to family income. Your tier is self-selected during the application process. Our aim is to make summer camp possible for all kids who want a chance to experience Trail Blazers, and we look forward to working with you to make this happen.

TIER 1 (family income up to $30,000 annually)

  • Mini Camp: $200
  • Outdoor Adventure: $400
  • Canoeing/Biking: $500
  • Rock Climbing: $600
  • Leaders in Training: $800

TIER 2 (family income $30,000 – $60,000 annually)

  • Mini Camp: $300
  • Outdoor Adventure: $600
  • Canoeing/Biking: $700
  • Rock Climbing: $800
  • Leaders in Training: $1000

TIER 3 (family income $60,000 – $90,000 annually)

  • Mini Camp: $450
  • Outdoor Adventure: $900
  • Canoeing/Biking: $1000
  • Rock Climbing: $1100
  • Leaders in Training: $1300

TIER 4 (family income over $90,000 annually)

  • Mini Camp: $650
  • Outdoor Adventure: $1300
  • Canoeing/Biking: $1400
  • Rock Climbing: $1500
  • Leaders in Training: $1700

Transportation is provided from Brooklyn NY and Newark, Elizabeth, and Paterson NJ for no additional fee.

A one-time annual fee of $50 per child will be added to each account during registration (not included above). If you are currently registered for a different Trail Blazers program, this fee may have already been paid.

IMPORTANT: Cost should not deter you from sending your child to camp! Additional discounts are available at ALL TIER LEVELS. Requests are honored after your application has been submitted. For more information, email us at registration@trailblazers.org.

Register and make a payment before February 1 to receive a 2018 Trail Blazers tote bag as a gift!

Register Today!
A Typical Day

Though each day at Trail Blazers is crafted based on each group’s particular needs and interests, the following schedule will give you an idea of what a typical day MAY look like.

7:00 – Wake Up and Get Ready!

Brush your teeth and make your bed…a required start to the morning! Before leaving smallcamp, spend a few moments together setting goals and talking through the day’s schedule. Make sure to grab your water bottle!

8:00 – Breakfast

Most breakfasts are eaten in one of our dining halls, unless groups are out on vagabond or have scheduled a special breakfast. Small camp groups eat family style, with staff members heading and footing each table. After everyone is finished with their first servings, the waiter can go into the kitchen for seconds (and thirds!)

9:30 – Morning Activities

Counselors and campers will plan the daily activities. Some days this might be one long activity, and some days it might be several short activities. The day will be balanced and include:

  • Outdoor living skills and Vagabond prep
  • Unstructured time for campers to create their own games/activities
  • Specialty area activities such as canoeing, biking, archery, challenge course, or gardening (to name a few!)
  • Swimming and showering
  • Nature exploration
  • Team building activities

Woven through each day is a focus on Trail Blazers values of showing care for ourselves, others, our community, and the environment

12:30 – Lunch

Usually a pack out lunch prepared by the kitchen staff, to be eaten around camp – you can enjoy a picnic by Pioneer Brook, or even plan a floating lunch at the waterfront.

1:30 – Solo: Each child takes a solo every day. Solo is a time when campers can do a literacy activity on their own such as reading, letter writing, or journaling. It’s also a time that our staff love having one-on-one check ins with their campers. Solos range from 30 minutes to one hour, depending on the age of the group. Example activities during solo include:

2:30 – Afternoon Activities

Your group may be doing an activity that lasts a whole day, or you may have planned something like a superhero day or community project. If you loved spending time with the chickens and goats, you may be doing that again!

6:00 – Dinner

Though most meals take place in a dining hall, you can also plan a cookout and spend a leisurely evening eating around the campfire.

7:00 – Evening Activity

Often in the evening groups will do an activity before bed. Some nights your group might get ready for bed and then do the activity, such as with star gazing or going on a night hike. Other times you will do the activity and then head to bed. On occasion, a large camp activity may be organized.

8:15 – Pow Wow

During pow wow each smallcamp group relaxes together and reflects on their day. It is during pow wow that the group will put closure on the day and be together as a family. To prepare, everyone first brushes their teeth, washes up, and changes into pajamas. During pow wow, campers sing songs, play games, solve riddles, engage in personal/group reflection, acknowledge and celebrate goals achieved, read stories, and plan activities for the coming days.

9:00 – Preparing for Bed and Tuck-In

Days at Trail Blazers are full of activities and everyone will need rest by the end of the day. Every child will have their mosquito net properly tucked in before they go to bed every night.

Tuck-in is a time for counselors to speak one-on-one with each camper, offering reassurance and providing a feeling of safety. Group leaders sing to their campers and read stories at this time.

The youngest children usually go to bed at about 8:30 and the oldest between 9:30 and 10:00PM.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where is Trail Blazers?

Trail Blazers is located in Montague, New Jersey. This is in Sussex County in Northern New Jersey and is about 2 hours from Brooklyn.

What is a smallcamp?

Smallcamp refers to the place where campers live, and also refers to the name of their group in general. Smallcamp groups do almost everything together, including eating, showering, swimming, hiking, crafts, games, and activities around camp.

Small camps are comprised between 8 and 12 campers, two or three dedicated group leaders, plus additional group leaders and support staff members who may not spend the entirety of the day with the small camp group, but are there to join in and support as needed.

Where will my child sleep?

Everyone at Trail Blazers lives in canvas-covered shelters: hogans, teepees, covered wagons, or platform tents – NO CABINS!  Your child will sleep in a slightly-smaller-than-twin-sized bed with sheets, blankets, and a pillow in a shelter that they share with 2 or 3 other campers. Each night, their counselors will make sure that their mosquito net is securely tucked in.

What about bathrooms and showers?

Every small camp has a non-flushing latrine toilet as well as running water from washing hands/faces, drinking, and brushing teeth. Campers have hot showers daily in one of our two shower houses.

My child wants to attend camp with their friend – is this possible?

As long as they are both eligible for the same program, yes! Make sure that during registration, both your child and your child’s friend sign up for the same session and the same section of camp. For example, if your child signs up for “Session 3: Girls (7 – 9)” and her friend does too, they will be in that smallcamp group together.

We strongly recommend signing up with a maximum of one friend. Because our groups are so small, a band of children who already know each other outside of camp can have a big effect on the group dynamic. A big part of our program is creating a diverse community, and learning how to work with people who you’ve never worked with before.

What activities are offered?

The beauty of Trail Blazers is that each smallcamp has a tremendous say in designing their own program. Campers are able to try out a number of different activities, and then work together to determine which ones they’d like to focus on.

Daily elements of the program include morning meetings (time for goal setting and getting excited about the day), meals (of course!), capers (individual or group chores) swimming, showers, solo (restful down time spent on your own or checking in with your group leader), unstructured play, and pow wow (our closing campfire, that serves as a time to play games, sing songs, reflect on the day, and plan the days ahead).

Each group will also plan a number of cookouts, hikes of varying distances, and outdoor skill building sessions – such as orienteering, fire building, and lashing – in preparation for vagabond.

Other activities include hiking, biking, boating, archery, low ropes, arts and crafts (both pre-selected activities as well as free-creation time), nature exploration, gardening, caring for the chickens and goats at our farm,. Groups also play tons of active games, sing lots of songs, participate in community service projects, perform in skits and plays, take on building projects, write poetry…it’s really up to your child! Our campers come with ideas of their own too, and we are always excited to see what unique plans each group will come up with.

Do you have a sports program?

No, we do not offer competitive sports at Trail Blazers. While we definitely appreciate the value of team competitions, the focus of our program is on collaborative activities and unified group challenges.

What is the food like?

Trail Blazers serves healthy, home cooked meals each day. We do not order pre-prepared or frozen meals, and do not have a deep fryer on property. As a New Jersey Summer Food Service Program, we follow – and exceed – federal guidelines for components of each meal.

We have a menu that strives to be kid friendly, while honoring the diversity of our camp by offering foods through the session that will always be familiar to somebody and always be brand new to somebody else. Many of our meals are vegetarian – we typically serve meat only once per day. We do not serve candy, juice, or soda. Everyone is expected to try everything that is served, so we have what we call our “Three Bite Rule”. If we’re serving something you don’t like, or are unsure of, you can ask for three bites, which is a small taste.  If you like it, you can get more; if not, that’s ok!

Typical breakfasts may include pancakes, eggs, waffles, bagels toast, fruit (such as peaches, oranges, apples, or bananas), yogurt, and cereal. Lunches are typically packed out and may include hummus, cold cut wraps or sandwiches, bean salads, fruit, vegetables (such as carrots, celery, or salad), or soy butter and jelly. Dinner might include ginger sesame chicken, three bean chili, baked potatoes, tacos, always two vegetables, and on the last full day of each session, a full blown Thanksgiving-style feast! Snacks items such as pretzels, granola bars, or fruit are available throughout the day. Milk is served at every meal.

We are a peanut free camp, and can be inclusive of a variety of dietary restrictions whether they are due to food allergy, religious requirement, or personal preference.

Where do you find your amazing staff?

Trail Blazers hires staff from all over the country and the world who have a passion for working with youth in the outdoors. Each staff member must demonstrate a strong desire to take on a role with us over the summer, undergo a face to face interview, have great personal and professional references, and pass a thorough background check before arriving at camp.

Once arriving at camp, staff undergo 2 to 3 weeks of pre-camp training covering all aspects of the Trail Blazers program, to prepare for the important job of looking after your child’s physical and emotional safety.

Our lifeguards are American Red Cross certified, and their skills are extensively checked on site. All staff are trained in basic first aid, and every group has staff members who are CPR and First Aid certified.

Our camp wellness team works under the guidance of a licensed physician. Typically our wellness team consists of our supervising physician, an RN, an EMT in the role of health center manager, staff certified in Wilderness First Aid, and group leader in the role of wellness liaison, who floats between all of groups. Medical staff are on site 24/7 to ensure the health and wellness of our camp community, and to respond to any medical issues that may arise.

We will set up a staff page where you can meet the 2018 Overnight Team soon!

How will I be able to communicate with my child?

You will not have the opportunity to speak to your child over the phone during their session.

During the first couple days of camp, each child will send a letter or postcard home.

To aid your child in getting mail to you, consider sending them with pre-stamped, pre-addressed postcards or envelopes. If not, we supply group leaders with a list of parent contacts and home addresses for their campers, taken directly from your camp registration – please make sure this information is correct!

The amount of time it may take for mail to get from our outgoing mailbox at camp to your home can be wildly slow, especially in this day and age when we are accustomed to instant communication.

We will send emails out to you on a regular basis, featuring your child’s group and the activities that they have done and that they are looking forward to doing. These emails will introduce you to their group leaders and feature photo highlights from their session. Photos are uploaded onto our flickr page each evening.

Please send encouraging letters to your child often! You can send letters in advance of your child’s arrival so they are there on day one. You can send a package of numbered letters for us to give out throughout the week. You can send care packages with items such as socks and stickers, mad libs and magazines – no food or candy! (Each package is opened on the porch of the lodge so we can ensure no food sneaks into small camp).

You can also email our camper inbox to have a letter printed out and delivered with the mail that day.

If you have questions about how the session is going or any concerns at all, you can also call our camp office and speak to a member of our leadership team. We are a small program and our directors cross paths with groups daily, and our group leaders write daily reports that are turned in each evening – so we typically have very up to date information about how your child is doing at our fingertips. If not, we will be happy to find the answer to your question and call you back.

…you mean I really can’t call my child and speak to them over the phone?

That is correct.

…and you really don’t have cabins?

Also correct – hogans and teepees all the way!

Packing List

Pack old clothing for your child, and label everything. Please do not bring anything valuable, or that you do not want to risk getting lost or dirty. Laundry is done for campers once per 2-week session.

If you are having trouble finding items on this list, please reach out to us – we are happy to help.

Required Clothing

12 pairs of underwear

12 pairs of socks

3 pairs of pajamas

9 t-shirts

2 long sleeve shirts

4 sweaters or sweatshirts

4-5 pairs of shorts

3-4 pairs of long pants

2 bathing suits

1 pair of shoes/sneakers

1 pair of boots

1 lightweight jacket

1 rain jacket

1 hat or cap

 

Required Items

Day pack (small backpack)

Water bottle

Flip flops or shower shoes

1 laundry bag

1 set of twin sheets, incl. pillow case

2 towels

Toothbrush and toothpaste

Soap and shampoo

Sanitary supplies

Comb or brush

Stationary and stamps

Optional

Photos of family

Book to read

Disposable or battery operated digital camera

Flashlight

 

Do NOT pack
Food
Phones, tablets or electronic games
Anything requiring a plug
Knives
Jewelry, money or valuables