Virtual info sessions coming soon. 

Take on the challenge of primitive living, outdoor skill-building, and exciting trip and trail expeditions.

Our overnight camp program helps your camper develop an appreciation for nature, a collaborative and self-determined spirit, and the ability to set and reach goals for themselves and with a group. Days are filled with small group adventures driven by a schedule that each group tailors to its interests – as such, no two sessions are ever the same. Every day brings your camper opportunities to develop care and respect for themselves, their friends, our community, and the environment.

why choose us?

Trail Blazers camp is 1000 beautifully forested acres on Lake Mashipacong in northern New Jersey. Camp features 14 campsites, dozens of activity areas, and a private 55-acre lake. Join us for our classic Outdoor Adventure program, where campers will develop the skills of a true backpacker and learn all about the nature that surrounds them. Or choose one of our specialty programs to hone biking, canoeing, rock climbing, farm and garden, or leadership skills. Whatever path you choose, Trail Blazers is an adventure unlike any other, open to campers of every background and all experience levels.

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.

Though many kids will be at Trail Blazers each session, your camper will live in a smallcamp group with just 7 – 9 other campers. Along with their group leaders (who come from all over the world!), they’ll plan their programs and days based on their interests. We believe that this smallcamp approach leads to deeper and richer relationships among the group and connections that will last a lifetime.

Trail Blazers offers campers an immersive experience in nature, which includes where we live and sleep. Campers will sleep under the canvas in tents and teepees. They will learn how to use mosquito nets and latrines. The challenge and simplicity of this engagement with nature is a tradition that goes back to the very earliest days of Trail Blazers. It is one thing we love most about our program.

A true highlight of the Trail Blazers program, the Vagabond is a multi-day travel adventure or hiking and camping trip, determined by the program you select. Vagabond is your child’s opportunity to trek around our 55-acre lake, hike down the Appalachian trail, bike through Stokes State Forest, or canoe down the Delaware River. Campers will put their newly acquired outdoor skills to the test while developing their communication, collaboration, and decision-making skills. We provide all the equipment for the groups to take on these challenges!

No cell phones, no tablets, no video games – no problem! We’ve been unplugged for over 130 years. By signing up for Trail Blazers, you are committing to your child joining an electronics-free community for the duration of camp. Without their devices, our campers re-learn what it means to sit and enjoy getting to know someone, to have meaningful conversations, and to be present in the beautiful nature they are surrounded by. They will come home with a new appreciation for the world around them. It’s totally worth it!

Our classic camp program: participate in a wide variety of camp activities while preparing for an exciting hiking trip. Try everything camp has to offer while developing into a skilled hiker, backpacker, and overnight camper! Your vagabond will be a 1-4 night trip, based on your groups’ age and preparedness, and will take you around our 1000-acre camp property or along the Appalachian Trail.

 

Campers entering Grades 2 – 10

 

Duration: 2 weeks

 

Program offered for both girls and boys in all sessions.

One week of overnight adventure! This 6 day program is a great way to be introduced to overnight camp and is designed specifically for children who have attended our Brooklyn Day Camp. Each mini session of will have 3 dedicated staff members who are with your camper 24/7, along with additional support.

 

Campers entering Grades 1 – 3

 

Duration: 1 week

 

Program offered for both girls and boys in all sessions.

 

Note: boys and girls participate in this program together, with separate sleeping accommodations.

Trail Blazer Camps at an organic farm! This is the third summer of partnership between Trail Blazers and Stony Creek Farmstead in Walton, NY. Caring for animals, harvesting and cooking our own food, and stomping in the beautiful creek that winds through the farm land – we have so much to tell you about! Find out details by visiting our Farmstead program page here!

 

Campers entering Grades 3 – 7

 

Duration: 2 weeks

 

Available Sessions 1, 2, and 3

 

Program offered for both girls and boys in all three sessions.

 

Note: boys and girls will participate in this program together, with separate sleeping accommodations.

Our classic program with the added adventure of daily canoeing. Build your small craft skills together with your smallcamp team. Learn advanced canoe strokes and deep water canoe rescue techniques. Put your skills to the test during your 3 day vagabond trip down the Delaware River!

 

Campers entering Grades 7 – 10

 

Duration: 2 weeks

 

Girl’s program: Sessions 1 and 2

 

Boy’s program: Sessions 3 and 4

Our classic program with added hyper-speed courtesy of daily biking treks. Ride through camp on a TBC mountain bike that is all yours for the two weeks that you are here. Learn how to maintain control over challenging terrain and how to perform simple bike maintenance and repairs. Put your skills to the test on your 3 day vagabond through the trails of Stokes State Forest.

 

Campers entering Grades 7 – 10

 

Duration: 2 weeks

 

Boy’s program: Sessions 1 and 2

 

Girl’s program: Sessions 3 and 4

 

Program offered for both girls and boys in both sessions.

 

Note: boys and girls will participate in this program together, with separate sleeping accommodations.

Trail Blazers goes vertical in this edition of our classic program that incorporates indoor and outdoor rock climbing. You’ll spend a day at an indoor climbing gym building the skills you will take with you to Stone Mountain Farm for your 3 day hiking and rock climbing vagabond.

 

Campers entering Grades 3 – 5

 

Duration: 2 weeks

 

Available Session 4

 

Program offered for both girls and boys in both sessions.

 

Note: boys and girls will participate in this program together, with separate sleeping accommodations.

An extended program offering challenging and rewarding leadership opportunities for high school students. High school students aspiring to become strong leaders at camp or in their communities come together for 4 weeks of leadership, personal growth, community service, and environmental stewardship activities. Prior Trail Blazers experience not required – all teens who love the outdoors and want to be immersed in nature while developing leadership skills are invited to join! For more detail about this program, please visit our Youth Leadership program page.

 

Campers entering Grades 10 – 12

 

Duration: 4 weeks

 

Program offered for both girls and boys in both sessions.

 

Note: boys and girls will participate in this program together, with separate sleeping accommodations.

One Week Program

 

Mini Camp 1: June 28 – July 3
Mini Camp 2: July 12 – July 17
Mini Camp 3: July 26 – July 31
Mini Camp 4: August 9 – August 14

 

 

Two Week Program

Session 1: June 28 – July 10
Session 2: July 12 – July 24
Session 3: July 26 – August 7
Session 4: August 9 – August 21

 

(Note: not all programs run each session. See individual program tabs for more info)

 

 

Four Week Program

 

Leaders-in-Training 1: June 28 – July 24
Leaders-in-Training 2: July 26 – August 21

Trail Blazers programs are offered on a tier basis, loosely linked to family income. Your tier is self-selected during the application process. If the price of the program remains out of reach for your family, even with your tier discount, please feel free to select the next tier level down. Additional scholarship funding is available to families for whom the Tier 1 price remains out of reach, for all programs excluding Mini Camp and Farmstead. This scholarship can be requested after registration. Our aim is to make summer camp possible for all kids who are excited about Trail Blazers. We look forward to working with you to make this happen!

 

 

TIER 1 (Family Income up to $30,000 annually)

 

Mini Camp: $200
Outdoor Adventure: $400
Canoeing/Biking: $500
Rock Climbing: $600
Farmstead: $800
Leaders in Training: $800

 

 

TIER 2 (Family Income $30,000-$60,000 annually)

 

Mini Camp: $300
Outdoor Adventure: $600
Canoeing/Biking: $700
Rock Climbing: $800
Farmstead: $1100
Leaders in Training: $1000

 

 

TIER 3 (Family Income $60,000-$90,000 annually)

 

Mini Camp: $450
Outdoor Adventure: $900
Canoeing/Biking: $1000
Rock Climbing: $1100
Farmstead: $1500
Leaders in Training: $1300

 

 

TIER 4 (Family Income over $90,000 annually)

 

Mini Camp: $650
Outdoor Adventure: $1300
Canoeing/Biking: $1400
Rock Climbing: $1500
Farmstead: $2000
Leaders in Training: $1700

 

 

FULL PRICE

 

Mini Camp: $750
Outdoor Adventure: $1600
Canoeing/Biking: $1700
Rock Climbing: $1800
Farmstead: $2500
Leaders in Training: $2000

 

 

Transportation is provided from Brooklyn NY and Newark, Elizabeth, and Paterson, NJ. A one-time annual fee of $50 per child will be added to each account during registration (not included above). If you are currently registered for a different Trail Blazers program, this fee may have already been paid.

 

 

Enrolling and Payment

 

You can sign your child up for camp with no payment required up front. We ask that payment is made within two weeks of registering in order to secure our child’s spot. Additional scholarship requests should be made by that time. Payment in full is due May 1.

 

During registration, you can set up an automatic payment plan or choose to make payments manually. Please email us at registration@trailblazers.org if you have questions or would like to discuss payment arrangements. If no payment is received within two weeks and we don’t receive communication from you within this time, we may move your child to the wait list. We’ll send you email reminders leading up to this point!

Program cancellation must be done 28 days prior to the first day of the program in order for a full refund to be considered. Program tuition may be refundable on a pro-rated basis, after the 28-day cancellation notice. During the busy summer months, please allow up to 3 months for refunds to be processed.

 

 

Please communicate with us if you have any needs or if extenuating circumstances arise. Whenever possible, we want to find a way to make things work as best we can for you.

Join us at camp to get a taste of summer! After a welcome introduction and some drinks and snacks, you’ll be invited to join our staff and leadership campers for a full tour of camp. See what a small camp looks like, visit our program areas, and discover how much beauty the forest has to offer.

 

 

After tours we’ll enjoy a lunch buffet in the Great Hall, where you will get a chance to sample some typical meal offerings. After lunch, our staff and leadership campers will lead games and activities on the Great Lawn while parents can settle in for an extensive Q&A session with the directing team. Our aim is to provide an enjoyable day for you and your family where you are able to get all of your questions answered.

 

 

The program runs from 10am – 3pm at camp. You are welcome to drive up to camp on your own, or we will have a school bus leaving from our Brooklyn office that departs at 8am and returns by 6pm.

 

 

2020 Open House Dates:

 

Sunday, May 17 or Saturday, June 13

 

There is no cost to attend, and no limit to the number of family members who can come along. (We do charge $5 per person if you would like to travel up to camp with us by school bus.)

 

Please note – Camp is a rustic, outdoor environment. Getting around the trails and walkways of camp can be challenging for anyone who may be using crutches, a cane, a wheelchair, etc. If this is the case, let us know in advance and we will do our best to accommodate your camp visit.

Where is Trail Blazers?

 

Trail Blazers is located in Montague, New Jersey. This is in Sussex County in Northern New Jersey and is about 2 hours from Brooklyn.

 

What is a smallcamp?

 

Smallcamp refers to the place where campers live, and also refers to the name of their group in general. 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.

 

Where will my child sleep?

 

Everyone at Trail Blazers lives in canvas-covered shelters: hogans, teepees, covered wagons, or platform tents – NO CABINS!  Your child will sleep in a slightly-smaller-than-twin-sized bed with sheets, blankets, and a pillow in a shelter that they share with 2 or 3 other campers. Each night, their counselors will make sure that their mosquito net is securely tucked in.

 

What about bathrooms and showers?

 

Every small camp has a non-flushing latrine toilet as well as running water from washing hands/faces, drinking, and brushing teeth. Campers have hot showers daily in one of our two shower houses.

 

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. For example, if your child signs up for “Session 3: Girls (7 – 9)” and her friend does too, they will be in that smallcamp group together. There is also a space on the registration form for you to write in your buddy request.

 

We strongly recommend signing up with a maximum of one friend. Because our groups are so small, a band of children who already know each other outside of camp can have a big effect on the group dynamic. A big part of our program is creating a diverse community, and learning how to work with people who you’ve never worked with before.

 

What activities are offered?

 

The beauty of Trail Blazers is that each smallcamp has a tremendous say in designing their own program. Campers are able to try out a number of different activities, and then work together to determine which ones they’d like to focus on.

 

Daily elements of the program include morning meetings (time for goal setting and getting excited about the day), meals (of course!), capers (individual or group chores) swimming, showers, solo (restful down time spent on your own or checking in with your group leader), unstructured play, and pow wow (our closing campfire, that serves as a time to play games, sing songs, reflect on the day, and plan the days ahead).

 

Each group will also plan a number of cookouts, hikes of varying distances, and outdoor skill building sessions – such as orienteering, fire building, and lashing – in preparation for vagabond.

 

Other activities include hiking, biking, boating, archery, low ropes, arts and crafts (both pre-selected activities as well as free-creation time), nature exploration, gardening, caring for the chickens and goats at our farm,. Groups also play tons of active games, sing lots of songs, participate in community service projects, perform in skits and plays, take on building projects, write poetry…it’s really up to your child! Our campers come with ideas of their own too, and we are always excited to see what unique plans each group will come up with.

 

Check out the “A Typical Day” tab on this page for more information!

 

Do you have a sports program?

 

No, we do not offer competitive sports at Trail Blazers. 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?

 

Trail Blazers serves healthy, home cooked meals each day. We do not order pre-prepared or frozen meals, and do not have a deep fryer on property. 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! Snacks items such as pretzels, granola bars, or fruit are available throughout the day. Milk is served at every meal.

 

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.

 

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 at 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 to deer to black bears as well as deer 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.

 

What is Vagabond?

 

Vagabond is a 1-4 night trip that provides the perfect chance for campers to use their newly-developed wilderness and survival skills as well as test the bonds they have formed with their group members. Vagabond duration and location varies based on the age, skill level, and program of the group. Our Vagabond locations are as follows:

 

Trail Blazer Camps


Our youngest camper groups typically embark on a 1-night Vagabond excursion to a camping site on Trail Blazers property.

 

Appalachian Trail

Most of our small camp groups head to the Appalachian Trail for Vagabonds of 2-4 nights, carrying their personal and group gear along with them, and sleeping in the designated camping areas along the trail.

 

Delaware River

Campers in our canoeing intensive program take off on 2-4 night excursions down the Delaware, bringing their boats to shore every evening and camping at designated sites along the river.

 

Stokes State Forest

Campers in our biking intensive program take a 2-4 night tour of Stokes State Forest via mountain bike, breaking each evening at pre-selected camp sites.

 

Allamuchy State Park

Campers in our rock climbing program embark on a 2-4 night trip hiking trip that involves two days of climbing on the natural rock walls of Allamuchy Mountain State Park.

 

Stony Creek Farmstead

Campers in our Farmstead program embark on a 4-5 night trip to Stony Creek Farmstead, incorporating hiking and farm exploration adventures into their time living, working and playing on the farm.

 

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 1.5 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 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 group leader in the role of wellness liaison, who floats between all of 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.

 

We will set up a staff page where you can meet the 2020 Overnight Team soon!

 

How will I be able to communicate with my child?

 

You will not have the opportunity to speak to your child over the phone during their session.

 

During the first couple days of camp, each child will send a letter or postcard 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!

 

The amount of time it may take for mail to get from our outgoing mailbox at camp to your home can be wildly slow, especially in this day and age when we are accustomed to instant communication.

 

We will send emails out to you on a regular basis, featuring your child’s group and the activities that they have done and that they are looking forward to doing. These emails will introduce you to their group leaders and feature photo highlights from their session. Photos are uploaded onto our google photos page each evening.

 

Please send encouraging letters to your child often! 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! (Each package is opened on the porch of the lodge so we can ensure no food sneaks into small camp).

 

You can also email our camper inbox to have a letter printed out and delivered with the mail that day.

 

If you have questions about how the session is going or any concerns at all, you can also call our camp office and speak to a member of our leadership team. We are a small program and our directors cross paths with groups daily, and our group leaders write daily reports that are turned in each evening – so we typically have very up to date information about how your child is doing at our fingertips. If not, we will be happy to find the answer to your question and call you back.

 

…you mean I really can’t call my child and speak to them over the phone?

 

That is correct.

 

…and you really don’t have cabins?

 

Also correct – hogans and teepees all the way!

 

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.

 

(Please note: this packing list is suggested for 2- and 4-week programs. Mini Campers will receive a modified packing list in their confirmation email upon registering!)

 

Required Clothing

12 pairs of underwear

12 pairs of socks

3 pairs of pajamas

8 t-shirts

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Required Items

Day pack (small backpack)

Water bottle

Flashlight

Flip flops, crocs, or shower shoes

1 laundry bag

2 towels

Toothbrush and toothpaste

Soap and shampoo

Sanitary supplies

Comb or brush

Stationary and stamps

Suggested

Photos of family

Book to read

 

 

 

 

 

Do NOT pack:

Food
Phones, tablets or electronic games
Anything requiring a plug
Knives
Jewelry, money or valuables

Download your copy of the Trail Blazers Parent Handbook here.

Loading
x

tell me more

Enter your details below and learn about all the perks you get by using Xtrail Explorer.



Or call us for more info:

x

Program update: if we CAN, we WILL, and NOW WE ARE!

We continue to monitor all guidance from the state, local health departments, and the American Camp Association, just to name a few, so that we can fulfill our mission and continue to be a resource to families while keeping everyone safe. After a successful and COVID-free summer at Family Camp and Brooklyn Day Camp, the Trail Blazers Team is currently working with schools and community partners to support students in learning and growing through this novel school year. Learn more about our current Fall 2020 programs HERE.

To be notified of updates in real time, subscribe to our mailing list HERE.