A response to a changing world, Trail Blazers Academy offers young people comprehensive work-readiness experiences that prepare them to meet the challenges of life, work, and college.
“My biggest related takeaway is that I’ve learned to step more into my leadership role so that way I can become a better team supervisor and continue to provide support to my team and my campers and also being able to go back to school so I can have a better future for myself and my daughter.”
“[The program] opened…my mind to all the different possibilities and opportunities, inspiring me to explore career paths I’d never thought of.”
“I learned how to better understand children’s mindsets and how to be able to work with them and learn more about myself and how I can adjust to everyone.”
“I felt very supported outside of my very strict home and I had a lot of help around me that I had no idea I could have.”
“The biggest take away from my one on one experience is that I was able to better sort out some of my short and long-term career goals.”
“I would 100% do it again!
More than just a professional development program
We believe that a truly robust and effective workforce development initiative (eg. work/learn programs dedicated to creating pipelines) must live alongside ongoing professional development (eg. skill-training specific to program quality and leadership training needed to rise to senior positions). Therefore we are rethinking professional development and have tailored three pathways to engage and support young people along the various stages of their career journey.
We know that many working families rely on summer camps, after schools, and other youth development programs as part of their childcare and education solution; however many programs are challenged in finding and retaining staff who are equipped to deliver high quality program experiences. Staff matters: they have a direct impact on children’s cognitive and linguistic competencies, school readiness and achievement, and social interactions. When staff are undertrained and undersupported, program quality suffers and the children in the program suffer. The Academy makes it possible for youth programs to serve their communities.
We also believe that nurturing staff, particularly early-stage professionals, is a programmatic end in itself. The 16-21 age range is fraught with many transitions, including: leaving high school, first jobs, choosing colleges, new financial pressures, and new challenges to mental health. We are working to equip young people in this age group with the life skills, practical knowledge, and social capital needed to pursue the path of their choosing and to thrive.