Each day with Trail Blazers will be different because we believe in tailoring programs to each group’s needs and interests, for a truly unique (and IMPACTful) experience!
This could include: Guided nature walks, Meditation, Self reflection and Journaling, group discussions and teambuilding challenges, Environmental education classes, arts and crafts, personal climate pledges, outdoor survival skills, boating, swimming, archery, solo time, group skills and more.
Every day has several key components designed to foster social emotional growth and learning.
Below is a sample of a potential day:
- 8:00 – 9:00: Breakfast & Pack Out Lunch
- 9:00 – 9:30: THEME SETTING: Community Sunrise Circle, setting tone and goals for the day
- 9:30 – 11:00: TEAM BUILDING: Challenge course and group games
- 11:00 – 1:00: NATURE & HARD SKILLS: Native plants, Environmental Education and Survival Skills
- 1:00 – 2:00: Picnic Lunch in a clean green space
- 2:00 – 2:30 SOLO: Journaling, Letters home or Personal reflection time
- 2:00 – 4:00: RECREATION: Boating, swimming, fishing, archery and more
- 4:00 – 5:00: FOCUS: Community project action plans. Discussions & activities focused on inspiring young activists
- 5:00 – 7:00: COOK OUT! Learn to cook over a fire, play games, and sing songs!
- 7:30 – 8:30: RECREATION: Community Games, Free Time or Talent Show!
- 9:00 – 10:00: REFLECTION: Sunset Circle and Bedtime (end-of-day debrief around the campfire with games, songs, acknowledgements, and get-to-know-yous!)
For a printable PDF version of the packing list, click here
Pack old clothing for your child, and label everything. Please do not bring anything valuable, or that you do not want to risk getting lost or dirty. Laundry is done for campers once per 2-week session.
If you are having trouble finding items on this list, please reach out to us – we are happy to help.
14 pairs of underwear
14 pairs of socks
3 pairs of pajamas
2 long sleeve shirts
3 sweaters or sweatshirts
4-5 pairs of shorts
3-4 pairs of long pants
2 bathing suits
2 pairs boots/sturdy shoes
1 high-quality rain jacket
1 hat or cap
Day pack (small backpack)
Flip flops, crocs, or shower shoes
1 laundry bag
Toothbrush and toothpaste
Soap and shampoo
Comb or brush
Stationary and stamps
Photos of family
Book to read
Do NOT pack:
Phones, tablets, or electronic games
Anything requiring a plug
Jewelry, money, or valuables
Where will my child sleep?
Everyone at NJSOC lives in dorms or shared cabins. Your child will sleep in a slightly-smaller-than-twin-sized bed with sheets, blankets, and a pillow in accommodation that they share with the rest of their smallcamp.
Campers must provide their own sleeping bag.
Accommodation is divided and boys and girls sleep separately. Trail Blazers and NJSOC welcome all campers and gender non-conforming campers may share with the gender they identify with.
What about bathrooms and showers?
Every dorm or cabin has flushing toilets as well as running water for washing hands/faces, drinking, and brushing teeth. Campers have hot showers daily at the shower house.
Throughout the property, there are also non-flushing latrines and hand wash stations.
FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions.
You will find the answer to the most common questions about the program below. But for any further information you need, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org and our registration team will be happy to help.
Where is NJSOC?
The New Jersey School of Conservation is located in Sandyston Township, New Jersey. This is in Stokes State Forest in Sussex County in Northern New Jersey and is about 2.5 hours from Brooklyn.
What should we pack?
Campers participating in the NJSOC program will need to provide their own sleeping bag. You can view a printable version of the packing list here.
What is a smallcamp?
Smallcamp refers to the name of your camper’s group. Smallcamp groups do almost everything together, including eating, showering, swimming, hiking, crafts, games, and activities around camp.
Small camps are comprised between 8 and 10 campers, two or three dedicated group leaders, plus additional group leaders and support staff members who may not spend the entirety of the day with the small camp group, but are there to join in and support as needed.
My child wants to attend camp with their friend – is this possible?
As long as they are both eligible for the same program, yes! Make sure that during registration, both your child and your child’s friend sign up for the same session and the same section of camp. There is also a space on the registration form for you to write in your buddy request.
Do you have a sports program?
No. While we actively play lots of teambuilding games, we do not offer competitive sports. While we definitely appreciate the value of team competitions, the focus of our program is on collaborative activities and unified group challenges.
What is the food like?
We serve healthy, home-cooked meals each day. We do not order pre-prepared or frozen meals and we do not have a deep fryer! As a New Jersey Summer Food Service Program, we follow – and exceed – federal guidelines for components of each meal.
We have a menu that strives to be kid-friendly, while honoring the diversity of our camp by offering foods through the session that will always be familiar to somebody and always be brand new to somebody else. Many of our meals are vegetarian – we typically serve meat only once per day.
We do not serve candy, juice, or soda. Everyone is expected to try everything that is served, so we have what we call our “Three Bite Rule”. If we’re serving something you don’t like or are unsure of, you can ask for three bites, which is a small taste. If you like it, you can get more; if not, that’s ok!
Typical breakfasts may include pancakes, eggs, waffles, bagels, toast, fruit (such as peaches, oranges, apples, or bananas), yogurt, and cereal. Lunches are typically packed out and may include hummus, cold cut wraps or sandwiches, bean salads, fruit, vegetables (such as carrots, celery, or salad), or soy butter and jelly. Dinner might include ginger sesame chicken, three-bean chili, baked potatoes, tacos, always two vegetables, and on the last full day of each session, a full-blown Thanksgiving-style feast!
We are a peanut-free camp and can be inclusive of a variety of dietary restrictions whether they are due to food allergy, religious requirement, or personal preference.
Please ensure you complete your dietary needs and allergies in your registration.
Can you accommodate my child’s special needs?
Though we are not a special needs camp, our excellent staff-to-child ratios and small group program approach make us able to accommodate a wide range of needs. Please call us to discuss your particular needs or concerns!
Though our high staff to camper ratio allows for an extensive amount of caring, individual attention, our terrain and staff structure do not allow for individualized programming or one-on-one supervision required by a child with pronounced physical or emotional limitations.
If your child cannot hike or swim due to physical limitations, needs special medication and constant medical attention, or for any other reason cannot fully participate in our very active outdoor program, we urge you to discuss this matter with the Camp Director prior to camp in order to determine whether or not your child can be served by Trail Blazers.
What kinds of wildlife is there at camp?
Due to our location in the woods of New Jersey, we are surrounded by a wonderful, diverse population of animals, ranging from chipmunks and raccoons to deer and black bears, as well as mosquitos and ticks.
While we peacefully share the woods with them, there are strict safety precautions we take. For example, tick checks are performed regularly, and absolutely no food is allowed in living areas. Every staff member is extensively trained on how to deal with wildlife encounters by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s Division of Fish and Wildlife.
Where do you find your amazing staff?
Trail Blazers hires staff from all over the country and the WORLD who have a passion for working with youth in the outdoors. Each staff member must demonstrate a strong desire to take on a role with us over the summer, undergo a face to face interview, have great personal and professional references, and pass a thorough background check before arriving at camp.
Once arriving at camp, staff undergo 2 to 3 weeks of pre-camp 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.
Our lifeguards are American Red Cross certified, and their skills are extensively checked on site. All staff members are trained in basic first aid, and every group has staff members who are CPR and First Aid certified.
Our camp wellness team works under the guidance of a licensed physician. Typically our wellness team consists of our supervising physician, an RN, an EMT in the role of health center manager, staff certified in Wilderness First Aid, and a group leader in the role of wellness liaison, who floats between all of the smallcamp groups. Medical staff are on-site 24/7 to ensure the health and wellness of our camp community, and to respond to any medical issues that may arise.
How will I be able to communicate with my child?
Campers will have the opportunity to write letters home.
To aid your child in getting mail to you, consider sending them with pre-stamped, pre-addressed postcards or envelopes. If not, we supply group leaders with a list of parent contacts and home addresses for their campers, taken directly from your camp registration – please make sure this information is correct!
Photos are uploaded onto our google photos page each evening.
You can send letters in advance of your child’s arrival so they are there on day one.
You can send a package of numbered letters for us to give out throughout the week. You can send care packages with items such as socks and stickers, mad libs, and magazines – no food or candy!
You can also email our camper inbox to have a letter printed out and delivered with the mail the following day: email@example.com
Am I allowed to visit my child during camp?
No. When camp is in session, we have a no visitors policy.
Disruptions to the flow of the program will interfere with your child’s independence and engagement with the program. It may also trigger homesickness in other campers.