What Do We Believe?
We have had a lot of time to think about how we want to help young people grow, and what we feel really matters. Our program principles guide us every day, in our program design, our staff training, our meetings…everything! They are the foundation of all that we do.
We value diverse, equitable, and inclusive spaces with unencumbered access, where all youth and families know that they belong. Realizing that many learning spaces (schools, camps, extracurricular activities) are segregated by family income or culture, we work to actualize our vision of a space where youth of all backgrounds can come together.
The “outdoors” is at the core of what Trail Blazers offers. Our overnight camp site in New Jersey is 1,000 acres of untouched natural land, owned and operated by the Nature Conservancy. Our day camp is based out of Prospect Park and focuses on giving campers an immersive outdoor experience right in their neighborhood. Likewise, our after school programs utilize play and outdoor spaces in and around their school buildings daily.
We are dedicated to creating a space for children (and staff!) that is free from the business of our tech-heavy world, to facilitate a slower pace and deeper engagement with projects and each other. We believe that environmentally-focused outdoor exploration — and the social emotional learning that comes along with it — allows youth to connect deeply to themselves and the world around them.
An essential part of the group experience is figuring things out together, learning how to set and reach long-term goals, and persisting through difficulties. Whether tackling a new element on the ropes course, planning and implementing a community project, or settling a disagreement with a friend, we embrace rather than shy away from challenge. Our programs facilitate the development of a growth-mindset and highlight the plain joy that comes from persevering to develop new skills and discover new things.
We know that free play and exploration offer youth essential opportunities to develop interests and build positive social connections.
Our staff teams are our most valuable resource — program experience is built on the relationships between our staff and our campers.
Trail Blazers hires staff from throughout New York City, across the country, and around the world. Our teams are comprised of people committed to putting the needs of our campers first, and who believe in Trail Blazers’ values of showing care and respect for themselves, others, their communities, and the environment.
At Trail Blazers, our leaders are the most important resource for the success of our programs and our mission. We apply the principles of respect, honesty, trust and commitment to nurture and develop our teams for the benefit of each individual and our organization.