Pathway to a Brighter Future
STAFF DEVELOPMENT … ADVANCED SKILLS TRAINING … CREATING THE LEADERS OF TOMORROW
A pilot project to help camps find a more equitable approach to staffing.
Did you know that over 78% of camp staff in the US identifies as White and that 73% of all overnight camps rely on international staffing agencies to find summer staff? As individuals, potential BIPOC staff have little context for the value of a camp job and few support systems for feeling accepted and successful at camp. We believe that, as a group, well-trained teams of 5 BIPOC leaders will have a better understanding of camp, will feel more accepted at camps, and will be better prepared to provide a transformational camp experience for themselves which will benefit ALL children.
why Trail Team?
The Trail Team Pilot Project is part of a broader effort to make the summer camp industry more diverse, equitable, and inclusive, so all young people have the opportunity to experience the magic and power of being outdoors. While we are tremendously proud of the individual work Trail Blazers has done for over 135 years. The camp industry, including Trail Blazers, must pursue systemic change in order to truly meet the needs of all children. Trail Team commits to creating systemic change by borrowing wisdom from Margaret Mead that says, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” As applied to camping, the potential of Trail Teams rests on the power of small cohorts to change camps and for those camps to make the industry more just and equitable for everyone.
We at Trail Blazers understand how hard it is to recruit, hire, train, and manage a camp staff member– especially this summer. We also recognize that the best intentions of being more diverse, equitable, and inclusive to all staff and campers does not always match the realities of programmatic and economic survival. For pilot camps, we aim to show how, compared to contracting with an international staff agency, Trail Team is a “double bottom line” opportunity; camps save money AND make a social impact.
What Our Parents say
“We love Trail Blazers. I like that it’s not super fancy with tons of fancy equipment. I like that it is about surviving with what’s right in front of them. It uses nature itself as a teacher. And the diversity of campers and counselors.”~ Parent, 2020
“Trail Blazers Overnight Camp provided a rich, traditional outdoor camp experience for our daughter. The core values of the program, including the focus on developing independence, were evident in her behavior upon return and have stayed with her to this very day.” ~ Parent, 2019