Trail Blazers
Morningside Park

In Partnership with

Morningside Park Conservancy


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TRAIL BLAZERS MORNINGSIDE PARK IN PARTNERSHIP WITH
MORNINGSIDE PARK CONSERVANCY

Morningside Park Awaits!

JOIN US FOR A VIRTUAL INFO SESSION – NEXT SESSION IS MONDAY, June 13th AT 7 PM!


REGISTER TODAY

Develop a love for the great outdoors every day, right in your neighborhood. Our day camp program at Morningside Park 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.

Our programs are designed around small group experiences. 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.

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.

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 decentralized 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 “Call of the Wild.” 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 Morningside Park, another nearby park, or engaged in an exciting excursion.

 

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 believe there is tremendous value in learning to interact with those that are different from us.

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What is Day Camp Like?
Program Details
Locations & Fees
Is Your Child Ready?
COVID SAFETY
Gallery
What is Day Camp Like?

Diverse Staff
Small Groups
We Play a Lot!
Electronics Free
Diverse Staff

Your child’s group will have the same two group leaders each day throughout the summer. We hire local staff, many of whom work for our recess and after school programs during the year, to join our summer team. We have a diverse team of staff from many different backgrounds, but they all share at least one thing in common – they cannot wait to meet your camper!

Small Groups

Central to our philosophy has always been the smallcamp experience. In response to COVID-19, we have adapted to spend our days in even smaller groups. Smallcamps will consist of ten consistent campers with the same two leaders each week. Over the course of the summer, these groups will plan their days collaboratively, overcome challenges together, allowing for deeper relationships and connections that last a lifetime.

Trail Blazers at Morningside Park is designed for campers entering Pre-K through 4th grade, ages 3-9.

We Play a Lot!

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.

Electronics Free

We have been unplugged for over 135 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 day camp at Morningside Park, 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.

Program Details

Our Philosophy
Program Overview
Our Staff
A Typical Day
Dates & Themes
Trips
Our Philosophy

One hundred thirty-four 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:

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

Program Overview

Our Day Camp at Morningside Park offers:

Our Staff

Trail Blazer Camps are American Camp Association accredited. All leadership staff are trained professionals in their area of expertise.

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. This training has been expanded to meet all New York State, CDC, and ACA guidelines surrounding COVID-19.

We assign two staff members to each group for the duration of the summer.

We are also a partner and worksite for NYC’s Summer Youth Employment Program. In addition to our experienced team of group leaders, each camp group is supported by an SYEP intern or junior counselor. 

Meet the Day Camp Team

A Typical Day

Each day at our Morningside Park Day Camp is spent in ‘small camp’, a consistent group of 10 campers with 2 dedicated group leaders. Because each child’s group remains small and consistent throughout the summer, our campers and staff 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:

Dates & Themes

Summer 2022 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.

Weekly Themes for Day Camp at Morningside Park:

Week 1 (July 5 – July 8):

You’ve Arrived at Your Destination

Skill of the week: Orienteering

You are here and you belong here! 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 250 acres to discover, so let’s do it together!

Week 2 (July 11 – July 15):

Make Waves

Skill of the week: Water Ecology, Marine Life Identification

Shell yeah, whalecome to our water ecology week! We’ll be happy as clams as we dive deep to learn all aboat the organisms in the Morningside Pond, as well as the Hudson River, and how they interact with one another. It’s o-fish-ial, we’ll be shore to make a splash with fin-tastic theme.

Week 3 (July 18 – July 22):

Call of the Wild

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 25 – July 29):

Camp ROCKS

Skill of the week: Rock Identification, Built Environment

Halfway through the summer and we’re taking nothing for granite. Campers will lave this rocking Geology themed week packed full of hands-on experiments – minerals, volcanoes, earthwuakes & more! We’ll also dive deep into the history of where we live. Manhattan hasn’t always looked like it does today, we’ll explore how this land and it’s use has evolved over time. 

Week 5 (August 1 – August 5):

Harness the Power

Skill of the week: Weather, Renewable Energy

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

Week 6 (August 8 – August 12):

When Nature Calls

Skill of the week: Animal Idenitification, Adaptations, Migrations

As campers expand their understanding of New York habitats and ecosystems, it is time to look at the creatures that call these islands home – and explore how they adapt to the changing world around them. Campers will investigate unique animal characteristics, and inquire into the expansive impacts of a changing climate on our furry and feather park friends. 

Trips

Special Events & Trips

During the 2021 season, we had great success in bringing the field trip experience to the park! This season will see a continuation of these partnerships with a handful of our favorite excursion locations and local environmental educational experts joining us right in Riverside Park to offer special events.

In addition to park based special events, we plan to see a return of field trips in 2022. While guidance from the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene will shape our ability to include such offerings, we intend for all smallcamps to participate in swimming once each week at the Sunset Park pool. 

Further planning includes a handful of city based field trips for all groups. Details and scheduling for special events, and field trips will be provided later this Spring.

Locations & Fees

Our Location
Drop Off & Pick Up
Fees
Our Location

Drop off and pick up for our day camp at Morningside Park is at 123rd Street and Morningside Avenue.

 

Drop off and regular day pick up is fully outdoors. Each smallcamp group is assigned a unique drop off and pick up location just inside Morningside Park .

 

Indoor space is available, but will be used only for aftercare and in severe weather. Indoor space is located at the Weekday School, 490 Riverside Drive.

Drop Off & Pick Up

Each camp group will have a unique location for drop off and pick up just inside the park at 123rd Street.

Drop off is between 8:30 and 9 am.

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

Aftercare pick up is available between 4:30 and 6:00 pm.

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.

Following New York State and the American Camping Association guidelines, limits will be placed on the number of adults permitted to pick up and drop off at camp. All authorized adults must be members of the camper’s household so as to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Fees

Registration for our outdoor day camp at Morningside Park OPENS 2/15.

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.

Weekly pricing:

TIER 1 (family income up to $50,000)- $315 per week
TIER 2 (family income $50,000-$75,000) – $455 per week
TIER 3 (family income $75,000-$100,000) – $560 per week
TIER 4 (family income over $100,000) – $630 per week

FULL FEE – $700 per week

 

4 day week pricing (Week 1 only):

TIER 1 (family income up to $50,000)- $250 per week
TIER 2 (family income $50,000-$75,000) – $365 per week
TIER 3 (family income $75,000-$100,000) – $450 per week
TIER 4 (family income over $100,000) – $505 per week
FULL FEE – $560 per week

 

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.

Tier discounts are applied as a coupon, you will receive a coupon code during the enrollment process. Apply this code to your cart to receive the tier discount.

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 is made on a rolling basis and as available. Please speak to our registration staff if you have additional questions or needs. 

We strive to make camp accessible to all! If you cannot access our registration system online, please call our registration team to enroll over the phone or to schedule an in-person appointment. 

Payment due in full June 1.

 

CAMP FEES

Terms & Conditions

Is Your Child Ready?

Is It a Good Fit?
Registration
Terms and Conditions
FAQs
Is It a Good Fit?

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 or new to our day camps, please try to attend one of our info sessions. Info sessions are held on a Monday each month and are a great opportunity to learn more about our Morningside and Riverside Park day camps 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, but our staff knows to map their program around bathroom locations. 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.

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.

OUTDOORS, RAIN OR SHINE – As a nature-loving outdoor adventure program, we opt-outside whenever possible. Our program will operate almost entirely outdoors – so long as conditions are safe we will remain outdoors and seek shelter within the park. Indoor spaces are available for all camp locations, but are only used during aftercare and in severe weather.

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?!

WE ARE READY!

Registration

Registration for our day camp at Morningside Park will open 2/15.

Minimum Registration: 1 Week

Ages: 3-9 years old, campers should be entering grades PreK through 4th grade.

The Trail Blazers approach has always relied heavily on the social experience within the group – recommending 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.

To minimize exposure to Covid-19, we have eliminated single day enrollments and are requiring campers to enroll for full weeks this season. Health screenings will be completed upon arrival each day.

How to Register:

As you begin the registration process, you will select a small camp at your desired location that is suitable to your campers age. Then you will select the weeks you wish to enroll. Campers must enroll into the same small camp for all weeks.

Our program is designed to ensure that all small camps have an awesome (and consistent) experience – groups will engage in similar activities, team builders, and games throughout the season. 

Once a small camp is full, a wait list for that week will begin. If you questions about a wait list, please contact our registration team at registration@trailblazers.org.

If you wish to be placed with a friend, simply select the same small camp when you enroll.

We strive to make camp accessible to all! If you cannot access our registration system online please contact our registration team to enroll over the phone or to schedule an in-person appointment.

Registration for the 2021 season will OPEN 2/15. A non-refundable down payment of 30% is due at the time of enrollment to secure you space in the program. Payment due in full June 1.

REGISTER TODAY

Terms and Conditions

Please familiarize yourself with our Terms and Conditions, which includes our participation waiver. These documents will also be available on your ACTIVE enrollment portal.

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

Terms and Conditions

FAQs

What ages can attend day camp?

Our day camp at Morningside Park is designed for campers entering PreK through 4th grade (ages 3-9).

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

Do you accommodate requests for friends to be grouped together?

You will select your child’s group during the enrollment process. If you wish to be placed with a friend, simply coordinate to select and enroll into the same small camp group.

Do you offer payment plans?

A non-refundable down payment of 30% is required at the time of enrollment to secure your space into the program. Payment plans are available, as you enroll you can select a payment plan of either 2 or 3 installments. Full payment is due May 1st.

What do I need to pack?

Hiking backpack – all campers in our program will receive a hiking pack. Packs are fitted to campers and a great way for camper to carry around their belongings. These hiking packs must be used each day.

Lunch and snacks – Pack enough for a full and active day.

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 showers or shine. If the weather predicts light rain please pack a water-proof jacket and shoes. Please note we will close in the event of extended rain or inclement weather.

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.

Mask or Face Covering – campers are required to wear a face covering, excluding during meals. For more information about our safety protocols you can view our full safety plan here.

Hand sanitizer – we ask that you send your camper with hand sanitizer to ease in our transitions between activities. Our group leaders are stocked with plenty of personal protective equipment (PPE) each day and carry hand sanitizer, hand soap, disinfectant spray, sanitizing wipes, and spare face masks at all times.

Where and when is drop off and pick up?

Drop off is between 8:30 and 9 am each day, all groups will have a unique drop off and pick up location just inside the park at your selected location. Details of your group’s location will be communicated via email before beginning the program.

Regular pick up is between 3:30 and 4:00 pm each day to the same location as drop off. Aftercare is available for a flat fee of $65 per week to extend your child’s camp as late as 6 pm. Aftercare will utilize the indoor space. Pick up during aftercare is rolling and from the indoor site, campers can be picked up anytime between 4:30 and 6:00 pm.

My cart is showing full tuition prices, how can I apply tier discounts?

Tier discounts are applied as a coupon. During the enrollment process you will receive a coupon code based on your selected tier. Apply this coupon code to your shopping cart to add the tier discount. Please reach out to our registration team if you are having trouble.

How can I apply for a scholarship?

We strive to make our programs affordable for all through a tiered pricing system – simply select the tier that best describes your household. Additional scholarships are available for families that identify as tier 1. To apply you must first enroll into the program, you will be provided a coupon code during the enrollment process that will allow you to register without making payment. Upon registering, you must complete the scholarship application and SFSP form in Active. Our staff will follow up about additional scholarship funds.

When and where can we pick up our hiking pack?

Packs are available at drop off each Monday.  You will receive your hiking pack when dropping your camper off at our day camp at Morningside Park for the first time.

COVID SAFETY

After successfully running in-person programs throughout this pandemic, including day camp in 2020 and 2021, we learned a thing or two about keeping families safe. All our counselors have been trained on COVID best practices, following CDC and DOH regulations, and strictly adhere to our Safety Plan and guidelines to ensure the safety of our campers, families, and staff. Below is our 2021 safety plan, our 2022 plan will be available this Spring pending the latest guidance from the American Camping Association and NYC DOH.

 

SAFETY PLAN

Gallery

Photo Gallery
Photo Gallery

Check out some of the highlights from summer 2021!

Kaleidoscopes

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What Our Parents say

Testimonials From Summers Past

” My son’s camp experience is something he will remember forever. Every single counselor is kind and enthusiastic, and every activity so well planned. As a single parent who struggles to find a work-life balance, I truly do no know how I would manage without Trail Blazers. My son is excited for camp each and everyday, and can’t wait to tell me about his adventures each evening.”

~ Parent, 2020

“Even when it poured unexpectedly, my kid had a great time. He was clearly convinced that being outdoors, even in the rain and wind, was the best — I thought he’d be tired and want to take the bus home, but he walked the whole way! I think Trailblazers helped him build some stamina and resilience!”
~ Parent, 2021