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212-529-5113 info@trailblazers.org

Virtual info sessions coming soon. 

Develop a love for the great outdoors every day, right in your neighborhood.

Our Brooklyn day camp program helps your camper develop an appreciation for the environment while making memories and learning skills to last a lifetime. Our days are filled with hands-on science experiments, group play and group challenges, team building, nature exploration, art, and lots of singing. More than that, each day your camper will develop their ability to care for themselves, their friends, our community, and the environment.

Why Choose Us?

Looking for an exciting summer camp where your loved ones will develop valuable life skills, build meaningful relationships and have a ton of fun as they spend their days completely outdoors? Look no further than Trail Blazers.

Our Brooklyn day camp is designed around a small group experience. Campers enroll into the same small group for the full summer. We believe that challenges are essential to a child’s ability to grow and include team building activities each day. Through these activities, campers learn how to work together, how to problem solve, and in turn build more meaningful relationships with one another.

Many camps are planned down to the second and don’t allow time to wander off course, whereas at Trail Blazers we encourage this curiosity and desire to explore. We are the pioneers of de-centralized programming. Each small group develops their own personalized schedule that can be tailored to meet the needs of the group. Happen upon some tadpoles in the park, let’s stop and observe for a bit. Exploration is a great way to learn.

Each week offers an environmentally focused theme, from Camp ROCKS to Harnessing the Power. We’ll learn all about our planet, all the living things it is home to, and how best to take care of it! Campers will engage in hands-on activities focused on developing hard and valuable life skills. We’ll practice basic survival skills, knot-tying, plant and animal identification, and more!

At Trail Blazers we fully embrace the outdoors. Rain or shine, provided it is safe, we will opt outside. We spend our days exploring Prospect Park or engaged in an exciting excursion. Each small group will take one trip each week, either locally in NYC or to our beautiful, 1000+ acre estate in Northern NJ. Our excursions are designed to compliment the program and allow campers greater time to connect with the outside world.

We strive to make camp accessible to everyone! We serve a diverse community of campers and search for staff from all backgrounds that bring unique skills and experiences with them to camp. We are the only Brooklyn based camp that hires internationally and believe there is tremendous value in learning to interact with those that are different from us.

In response to the Covid-19 pandemic we will not be offering trips or swimming during the 2020 season.

Our staff hails from all corners of the globe! This adds a special international flair to each day and for every group. Your child’s group will have the same international leader, as well as a domestic leader, each day throughout the summer.

 

We also hire local domestic staff and participate in the Summer Youth Employment Program, which gives work experience to New York City youth ages 14-23. We have a diverse team of staff and interns from many different backgrounds, but they all share at least one thing in common – they cannot wait to meet your camper!

 

The Summer Youth Employment Program has been cancelled for the 2020 season. As a result, these youth will not be a part of our team this summer. 

Central to our philosophy is the smallcamp experience. We spend our days in consistent, small groups of 10-12 campers with the same leaders each day. Over the course of the summer, these groups will plan their days collaboratively, overcome challenges together, and make life long memories with each other, allowing for deeper relationships and connections that last a lifetime.

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we will not be offering any trips during the 2020 season. 

 

When we are not exploring all that Prospect Park has to offer, we will embark on new adventures throughout New York City or to our 1000 acre estate in Northern NJ to experience the great outdoors!

 

Swim Days: Each group will go swimming at the Sunset Park pool once a week.

City Trips: Every 2 weeks, your camper’s group will embark on a trip to one of the many cultural destinations that NYC has to offer, such as Governor’s Island, The Clifs, the American Museum of Natural History, and the New York Aquarium.

New Jersey Trips: Every 2 weeks, your camper’s group will visit our NJ camp property to swim, row boat, hike, practice archery, and so much more!

 

Check back soon for a complete program schedule for the 2020 season!

We believe, and research agrees, that children need to have time and space to play with each other. Unstructured play helps children develop important lifelong skills, such as communication, cooperation, self-management, and other social and emotional skills proven to lead to long-term development. Our staff are trained to allow real play to happen, so children can learn and grow together.

We have been unplugged for over 130 years so you can leave tall electronics at home! We have always been – and now more than ever – a program that emphasizes connecting to each other, through experience outdoors.

 

By signing up for our Brooklyn day camp, you are committing to joining an electronics-free community. Without their devices, our campers learn how to build relationships through meaningful conversations, and to be present in their environment.

Rain or shine – We are ready for it all!  Our campers wear raincoats, rain or hiking boots, and backpacks. When others seek shelter, we are out and about!

 

Positive and safe outdoor experiences when the weather isn’t perfect develop resiliency and a deeper connection to the natural world!

One hundred thirty three years is a long time to perfect the art of youth development. Formal metrics confirm what anecdotal reports have always shown us: building strong social and emotional foundations sets children up for true long-term success.

 

Every Trail Blazers program is designed with the same five building blocks – research-backed strategies, seamlessly woven into each day’s plan:

 

  • GOAL SETTING: deciding upon daily, aspirational group and individual goals and planning paths towards them
  • TEAM BUILDING and CHALLENGE: working together to solve problems and encouraging each other to persist when things get tough
  • FREE PLAY and EXPLORATION: letting wonder and imagination guide the program experience
  • SCIENCE and SKILL BUILDING: honing in on specific interests and developing a methodical approach to learning
  • REFLECTION:  reflecting on one’s performance, focusing on the day’s highs and lows, and getting excited about what tomorrow will bring

 

This approach – which looks different every day, within every program, and for every group – delivers a uniquely powerful youth development experience.

Our Brooklyn Day Camp offers:

  • Exciting weekly skills mastery
  • Three “home base” locations to choose from: Prospect Lefferts Gardens, Crown Heights, and Park Slope
  • Program hours from 8:00 – 4:00 pm, with aftercare available until 6:00 pm.
  • Day trips to Trail Blazers’ 1000 acre forested property in Sussex County, NJ, throughout the summer – archery, cookouts, boating, lake swims, and more!
  • Weekly swimming in a local Brooklyn pool, including swim instruction and recreational swim led by our American Red Cross certified lifeguards

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we will not be offering any trips during the 2020 season. 

  • Local trips all around the city, from museums to climbing gyms, and more
  • Healthy snacks and healthy habits incorporated into each day
  • Staff from Brooklyn and around the world!

Trail Blazer Camps are American Camp Association accredited. All leadership staff are trained professionals in their area of expertise. Trail Blazers certifies American Red Cross Life Guards and recruits staff members from across the country and around the world that have a passion for working with youth in the outdoors.

Each staff member undergoes an intensive interview and reference check process. We run criminal and sex offender background checks on every person employed by our organization. Before children arrive, our staff completes a thorough 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.

We assign one international staff member and one American staff member to each group, with the intention of keeping this co-working team intact for the duration of the summer.

Trail Blazers is also a Summer Youth Employment site – we hire wonderful young staff eager to work with children, who serve as extra sets of eyes and ears on each group. This means that, typically, each group has at least 3 adults present at all times.

The Summer Youth Employment Program has been cancelled for the 2020 season. As a result, these youth will not be a part of our team this summer. 

 

In response to the announcement that NYC Pools will be closed this summer, we will no longer have ARC certified lifeguards on our team.

Our Brooklyn day camp is designed for campers entering Pre-K through Grade 5 (ages 3-10). The Crown Heights location accepts campers entering Pre-K through Grade 3 only (ages 3-8).

 

All 3 year old campers must be turning 4 years old by December 1st. 

Each day at our Brooklyn Day Camp is spent in ‘small camp’, a consistent group of 12 campers with 2 dedicated group leaders – plus many more specialist and senior staff for support! Because each child’s group remains small and consistent throughout the summer, our campers and adults form very strong bonds!

 

Each day includes the same mix of components, which your child’s group leaders will customize in real-time response to the group’s needs, likes and dislikes. These building blocks include:

  • MORNING CHECK IN – setting goals and talking through the day’s program
  • SKILL BUILDING  – each week features a skill campers will spend some time focusing on each day, so at the end of the week your camper can say: I learned that at camp!
  • ART/SCIENCE/GARDEN ACTIVITIES – each day includes an art project and/or a science experiment, all done right outside
  • HIKING/ORIENTEERING – campers read maps and go on treasure hunts, getting to know all corners of the park
  • TEAM BUILDING – specific games are used to bring the group together, teach group skills, and help groups overcome challenges
  • MUSIC/SINGING – we sing all the time, both during specific song session as well as while we move from place to place!
  • TRIPS/SWIMMING – campers will go on a trip once per week. This will either be a local city trip OR an exciting bi-weekly adventure day trip to our forested camp property in  New Jersey
  • PLAYGROUND VISITS – Prospect Park has many great playgrounds, and we want to try them all (including the awesome splash pad at LeFrak!)
  • RUNNING/ACTIVE GAMES – when you’ve got a lot of energy to burn, nothing is better than learning a new game to play with your friends!
  • LUNCH/SOLO – we value taking some time for ourselves each day – after lunch, campers spend some time napping, reading a book, or laying back and watching the clouds
  • UNSTRUCTURED FREE PLAY – campers spend time each day playing by their own rules in a pre-defined area where they learn how to negotiate rules, engage in creative play, and have fun with friends
  • END OF DAY DEBRIEF – the day always ends around the imaginary fire, singing songs, processing the day’s highlights and transitioning to the day end

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we will not be offering any trips or swimming during the 2020 season. 

Summer 2020 will feature an exciting Skills Mastery built into the theme of each week. Campers will be given opportunities to learn and develop a wonderful variety of hands-on skills that they may never have tried before:

 

Week 1 (June 29 – July 3):

Over the River & Through the Woods

Skill of the week: Orienteering

An introduction to all things Trail Blazers. Let’s explore our park as a team and learn about the different ways we can navigate towards adventure. There’s 526 acres to discover, so let’s do it together!

Week 2 (July 6 – July 10):

When Nature Calls

Skill of the week: Wildlife Identification

‘What’s that sound? Who’s tracks are these?’ Bird calls, track identification and more! The investigation is on as we learn about all the wildlife that shares our world. The fauna of the park await!

Week 3 (July 13 – July 17):

How Knot to Slack on Survival Skills

Skill of the week: Knot Tying & Survival Skills

A welcoming introduction to wilderness arts, including simple survival knots, how to raise a shelter, filter clean water and craft the perfect marshmallow roasting fire. It will be easy to get tied up in how much fun we’ll have with this extremely useful skill week.

Week 4 (July 20 – July 24):

Namaste Outside!

Skill of the week: Wellness, Yoga & Meditation

Whether it is something as small as knowing when to ask for help, or taking a big step towards helping others, this week presents plenty of opportunities to learn about the body and how to take care of yourself and each other. Campers will balance and breathe as they learn to strike many new poses. But, just because we will be calming our bodies and minds, does not mean we will be slowing down. There is plenty of exciting play to be had every day!

Week 5 (July 27 – July 31):

Harness the Power!

Skill of the week: Weather & Renewable Energy

Prepare to be blown away by our weather and energy themed week. Campers will be on cloud 9 as we learn all about weather and striking ways in which we can harness it’s natural power for renewable energy.

Week 6 (August 3 – August 7):

Getting Thready

Skill of the week: Sewing & Textiles

Spools out for summer and our tight-knit group of campers will be bursting at the seams for our sewing and textiles themed week. It’ll be sew much fun you’ll needle little rest before you carry yarn.

Week 7 (August 10 – August 14):

Park-itecture Adventure

Skill of the week: Lashing

In this building and engineering focused week, we will be crafting anything from picture frames to mega-structures! How big can you build? Your imagination is the limit.

Week 8 (August 17 – August 21):

It’s EASY being GREEN

Skill of the week: Gardening, Composting & Recycling

We’re rooting for you, there’s so mulch to learn about going green. As true Trail Blazers we need little encourage-mint to take care of this wonderful planet, but thistle be one exciting week as campers spend a little extra thyme in the garden, learning hands on how to compost and best take care of our environment. We’ll grow together with some unbe-leaf-able recycling projects.

Week 9* (August 24 – August 28):

Camp ROCKS

Skill of the week: Geology & Rock Identification

An extra week of summer? And we’re taking nothing for granite. Campers will lava this rocking Geology themed week packed full of hands on experiments – minerals, volcanoes, earthquakes & more!

*Please note: Week 9 has limited capacity, and is offered as a full 5-day week only

Week 10* (August 31 – September 4):

Ultimate Trail Blazers

We’ll revisit our favorite games, activities, and experiments from the summer!

*Please note: Week 10 has limited capacity, and is offered as a full 5-day week only. Week 10 will be offered from our Carousel site only, but is open to any campers that have enrolled in two or more regular summer weeks at any of our day camp sites.

All Trail Blazers programs are offered on a tier basis, loosely linked to family income, with additional scholarship opportunities available. Your tier is self-selected during the application process.

  • TIER 1 (family income up to $30,000)- $55 per day
  • TIER 2 (family income $30,000-$60,000) – $65 per day
  • TIER 3 (family income $60,000-$90,000) – $90 per day
  • TIER 4 (family income over $90,000) – $110 per day
  • FULL FEE – $125 per day

We encourage you to select the tier that makes the most sense for your family. Additional scholarships are available on a limited basis for families in the tier 1 range to further reduce the cost. Sibling discounts of 5% are automatically processed during enrollment.

 

If you are interested in being considered for additional scholarship assistance, first submit your registration, then complete the Scholarship Request Form and the Summer Food Service Form on your dashboard. Scholarship allocation are made on a rolling basis and as available. Please speak to our registration staff if you have additional questions or needs.

 

Trail Blazers Day Camp accepts HRA/ACS vouchers for full week campers. If this applies to your family, please contact us for more information about this process, before you enroll your camper with us.

 

Trail Blazers Brooklyn Day Camp offers three daily drop off and pick up locations. Groups at all locations follow similar weekly programs: Prospect Park adventures, swim days, New York City field trips, and day trips to our New Jersey campsite.

 

We anticipate that NYC DOE Buildings will be closed for the summer of 2020 and are exploring other options for indoor spaces. We will post further updates here as available. 

 

In response to the COVID-19 Pandemic, we will not be offering trips or swimming during the 2020 season. All days will be park based camp days. 

*Theme and skills of the week may vary by each site.

  • Prospect Lefferts Gardens – serving the greater Brooklyn area. Our home base is the Carousel Lawn, by the Empire Blvd entrance to Prospect Park. Our indoor and after care location is PS 375, Jackie Robinson. We also offer pick up options along the B/Q lines as far South as Newkirk Plaza, and from the Crown Heights Shuttle (S) connecting to the C train at Franklin Avenue. This service is offered at a fee of $5/day and is only offered at our PLG location.
  • Crown Heights – serving Crown Heights, Bed-Stuy, and beyond: We meet daily at PS 316 Elijah Stroud, on Sterling Pl and Classon Ave. This location also serves as our indoor space and aftercare location.
  • Park Slope – serving Park Slope, Gowanus, Sunset Park, and surrounding areas: We meet daily at Greenwood Baptist Church, on the corner of 6th street and 7th avenue in Park Slope, which also serves as our indoor and after care location.

All camp locations follow the same schedule for drop off, pick up, and after care.

 

Drop off is between 8:00 and 8:30 am. 

Regular pick up is between 3:30 and 4:00 pm. 

After care pick up is between 5:00 and 6:00 pm. 

Please note – Any campers still with us after 4:00 pm will automatically transition into our after care program. This will result in the $10 charge being added to your you account at the end of the week.

 

During the registration process you will be asked to list adults authorized to pick up your child. Your child will only be released to individuals on the list.

 

On New Jersey trip days, drop off and pick up times and location may differ from your normal location. We communicate extensively through email and cell phone app so you will always know where to drop off or pick up your child. 

We offer an option for Subway pick up and drop off for an additional $5 per day. This option is available at our Prospect Lefferts Garden location only. You can opt in or sign up for this program at anytime through our registration system.

 

This service must be signed up for in advance and will be billed to your account.

 

Campers registered for subway services will be picked up and dropped off at their selected stop just behind the turnstile. Drop off is between 7:30 and 7:45 am. Pick up is between 4:00 and 4:15 pm.

 

Crown Heights Shuttle 

For families in Bed Stuy and Crown Heights, staff will pick up on the S (Shuttle line) at the Botanic Garden Station (2/3/4/5 lines) and at the Franklin Ave Station (C line). 

 

B/Q Lines

For families in Ditmas Park, Midwood, Sheepshead Bay, and surrounding areas we offer pick up and drop of at Newkirk Ave, Cortelyou Rd, and Church Ave.

After care services are available at each of our Brooklyn Day Camp locations. There is a flat fee of $10 per day for after care services. In order to give you as much flexibility as possible, you may indicate whether you wish to use the after care service during registration or at the start of the day. If you did not pre-register for aftercare,  charges will be added to your account at the end of the week.

 

Campers that are not picked up by 4 pm will automatically transition into our after care program for the day and charges will be added to your account. Pick up from after care is available between 4:15 pm and 6 pm.

We believe our program is the best – but is it the best fit for you?

 

We really care about being outside and are passionate about the program that we offer. If you are new to Trail Blazers Brooklyn Day Camp, please plan to attend one of our info sessions if you can. Info sessions are held twice a month and are a great opportunity to learn more about our Brooklyn day camp program and to ask any questions you may have!

 

Because we do things differently from most other camps, we hope that you will take time to consider the following in order to ensure that we are a good fit for you and your family:

LITTLE LEGS AND BATHROOMS – Being in the park means we may not be directly next to a bathroom all the time. Sometimes, we have to walk a little. Our staff knows to map their program around bathroom locations, and we equip our youngest groups with emergency potties. Your camper should be able to recognize the need for a bathroom trip, communicate this need to their group leader, and then possibly hold on for a few minutes!

INDEPENDENCE AT A YOUNG AGE – Throughout the program, our campers learn a lot about self-management: packing their own backpack, getting ready for lunch, hiking in the park, etc. Your camper has to be ready to take on those challenges in increasingly more independent ways.This includes traveling to our New Jersey site with us, if you choose to enroll on those days.

UNSTRUCTURED PLAY – We believe that children learn best from things they experience on their own, and that the process of figuring out an activity is of equal or greater value than the activity itself. Unstructured free play allows kids to learn more – and learn differently – than during highly structured, instructor-led activities. Each day has lots of play built in, during which we explicitly train staff to step aside into the role of an observer and facilitator, but not teacher.

RAINY WEATHER – As a nature-loving outdoor adventure program, we are not easily scared inside! While hugely inclement weather may bring us indoors, we’re much more likely to seek shelter from rain under a tree – if at all! Puddle jumping and mud pies are right up our alley, and in order for you to have a great experience with us this summer, this needs to be something you’re excited about as well.

LOUD SINGING – Your camper will come home and sing camp songs incessantly, and will more than likely require you to participate. Are you ready for that fun?!

 

Minimum Registration: 2 days per week

 

The Trail Blazers program approach relies heavily on the social experience within the group – we recommend you enroll for several consecutive days at the start of the summer, so your camper can get used to the group and get to know their group leader. Be sure to consult the summer schedule – this way, you know on which days your camper will attend a city trip, a NJ trip, will go swimming, or will mostly be in the park. We give you full flexibility.

 

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we will not be offering any trips or swimming during the 2020 season. 

 

Because consistent grouping is so important to what we do, we require you sign up your camper for the same group in each week. If a group is no longer available, you may not sign up for a different group. Doing so will result in your registration being cancelled. We reserve the right to change group assignments. If you encounter the wait list, please contact registration@trailblazers.org.

Please familiarize yourself with our Terms and Conditions. This document will be available on your ACTIVE enrollment portal as well.

If you have have any questions, please contact our office.

 

Coming soon! Check back for our Parent hand book and prep list for our Brooklyn day camp.

Which group should I sign up for?

You can choose to enroll in whichever group makes the most sense for you. First select your pick up and drop off location, then select the group with the appropriate ages for your camper. Oftentimes there are multiple groups for the same ages, you can select any of the groups. All groups will have similar experiences, participate in the same trips and engage in similar activities. 

 

We also offer groups that span different age groups. For example ‘Pathfinders’ is a 4-5 year old group, whereas ‘Conestoga’ is a 5-6 year old group. If you have a five old camper you can select either group. If your child is a young five year old, perhaps go with the 4-5 year old group. If they are an older five year old or enjoy a challenge perhaps consider the 5-6 year old group. 

 

Three year old campers should be registered into a 4-5 year old group. 

 

How old do campers need to be to attend day camp?

We accept campers as young as three years of age, so long as they are entering Pre-K and will turn four by the end of the calendar year. Please review the ‘Is Your Child Ready’ tab to make sure your loved one is ready for our program. 

 

Our oldest groups accept campers up to age ten. 

 

Please contact our registration team at (212) 529-5113 if you have questions. 

 

My campers group is full one week, can I register for a different group for those days?

Our program is centered around a small group experience, where campers can build stronger and more meaningful relationships with their fellow campers and staff. For these reasons campers must enroll into the same small group for the duration of the summer. If the group you have selected is wait-listed for select days you can either choose another group of the same age group to enroll into for the full summer. Or you can add yourself to the wait-list for the group you initially selected. Our registration team will reach out to coordinate with you. 

 

Do you offer payment plans?

Yes, we offer payment plans. When you register through Active you can select payment plans of either 3 or 6 installments. Full payment is due at least two weeks before beginning the program. 

 

What do I need to pack?

Lunch and snacks – Pack enough for a full and active day. An additional snack will be provided to campers attending aftercare.

Water bottle – Campers will need a refillable water bottle each day. We will refill our bottles often as we travel around the park. Our backpacks can also accommodate water bladders.

A change of clothes – We recommend packing a full change of clothes for all campers, including our older groups. We are outdoors all day and there is always the possibility that campers clothes will get wet or dirty. 

Rain gear – We spend time outside every day – rain or shine. If the weather predicts rain please pack a water-proof jacket and shoes.

Sunscreen – even on the cloudiest of days. A hat is also great for protection from the sun.

Sturdy, closed toe shoes – Comfort is key! We will be active throughout the day walking all over the park. We suggest something that is water resistant as well. 

Layers – If the weather predicts cool temperatures in the morning or early evening we also recommend packing or wearing layers. Campers may get chilly and want a light sweater or long sleeve shirt. 

 

Where and when is drop off?

Drop off is between 8 and 8:30 am each day, please pay attention to which location you register for. Drop off will either be to P.S. 316 in Crown Heights, the Greenwood Baptist Church in Park Slope, or directly to the lawn behind the Prospect Park Carousel for our Carousel site, based on whichever location you enrolled into. 

 

Pick up?

Regular pick up is between 3:30 and 4 pm each day to the same location as drop off. 

 

Campers enrolled in aftercare or still with us after 4 pm will transition into our aftercare program. Aftercare pick up is available between 4:15 and 6 pm. Pick up in Crown Heights and Park Slope is at your normal pick up location. Campers enrolled into our Carousel location will transition to P.S. 375 at 46 McKeever Place for aftercare. Parents should pick up at this location, it is just a short walk from our drop off site in the park. 

 

What about pick up and drop off on trip days?

On city trip and swimming days, drop off and pick up is normal. 

 

On NJ trip days, groups will meet at their indoor space at 7:15 am. Groups will depart at 7:30 am sharp. If you miss the vans to NJ, you will not be able to join another group for the day so it is imperative that you are on time. Camp groups typically return to Brooklyn around 6 PM. We use the remind app to communicate with parents, and will send updates with their estimated return time. 

 

What do you do if it rains?

Trail Blazers embraces the outdoors in all weather, so long as it is safe to do so we will spend time outside each day. Please pack accordingly if there is rain in the forecast.

In cases of severe weather, such as a prolonged thunderstorm, we have indoor spaces that we will use to continue with our normal programming. The indoor space varies by location. For Park Slope this location is your normal pick up and drop of site at the Greenwood Baptist Church at 461 6th Street. In Crown Heights this location is P.S. 316, your normal drop off and pick up site. For our Carousel site, the indoor location is P.S. 375 located at 46 McKeever Place. This is the same location we use for aftercare and is located just a short walk from the park.  

 

All of our camp groups use the Remind app to communicate with camper families. If we need to head indoors, we will communicate the change via email and Remind.

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