This year, we have taken a creative approach to fall programs, that supports the diverse needs of our families while continuing to offer campers opportunities to play and grow – which is more important now than ever before. We have multiple program offerings available, designed to complement your camper’s school schedule (whatever that may be!) with a focus on social and emotional growth, building connections, and outdoor exploration, as well as remote learning support.
Whether traditional after school or remote learning bubbles, our programs rely heavily on partnerships with families, schools, and neighborhood organizations. More than ever, our programs will push each of us to connect with our communities on a deeper level and embrace the notion that it truly does take a village to raise a child. Keep scrolling to learn more about the exciting new programs we have to offer!
Our Traditional After School Program is offered on-site at your child’s school and looks a lot like the school programming we know and love. Staff greet your camper and the end of the school day and transition them into after school filled with outdoor play, team building, and environmental exploration. Registration is open but after school programs are not currently running. We hope to launch programs in January.
Trail Blazers After School offers holistic and innovative after school programming to elementary school students throughout New York City to promote critical thinking and a sense of wonder for the world around us. Our four core values – respect for one’s self, respect for others, respect for the community, and respect for the environment – guide all aspects of our program, ensuring that your child is growing and learning in the process of having an amazing time. Our After School program is modeled after 130 years of experience designing exciting summer camp programs. In after school, too, each day is filled with outdoor elements and a schedule determined by the interests of the group. The program differs at each school, as we customize this after school solution centered on environmental exploration and community engagement.
At Trail Blazers, we play – a lot! During After School, we spend time in structured and unstructured playtime, where campers practice voice and choice and exercise their imaginations. We believe (and research shows) that play teaches children valuable social and emotional skills that will help them become thriving adults.
We play outside every day, in all seasons, because there is no such thing as bad weather, only inadequate clothing! Active, outdoor play can relieve stress, promote the development of large motor skills, increase social skills, and inspire imagination and creativity. Positive outdoor experiences when it is cold or wet outside also develop resiliency and a connection to the natural world!
WHAT HAPPENS DURING A DAY OF AFTER SCHOOL?
Pick-up for all schools is at 4:30 PM, except BCCS which is at 4:00 PM.
We don’t have a set daily schedule but every day will include the same essential components:
Sunrise Circle – As students transition out of the school day into after school, our staff spends time checking in with each child. Guided by the Value Catcher, students determine an individual goal for the day.
Solo time (Homework) – Every day, we share snack and dedicate 30 minutes to homework time. We don’t offer academic tutoring or one-on-one support but our group leaders are always available to provide assistance and encourage kids when homework is tough. Campers who don’t have homework can read or participate in another calm, individual activity.
Teambuilding and play – We play – a lot! Play in after school is an important component for social learning, physical health and plain old fun! Not only do our groups receive at least one full hour of free play every day, but we also play outside year-round – in all types of weather! Time outdoors will certainly increase this year as well!
Science or Specialty Content – Each day includes one activity or experiment, either guided by the theme of the week or by student interest. We focus on environmental exploration through science experiments, nature crafts, and outdoor scavenger hunts.
Sunset Circle – The day ends with a Trail Blazers camp tradition – the sunset circle, singing songs, playing games and reflecting on successes and challenges of the day.
Every year, we partner with schools in our community that share our belief that play is a critical component in a child’s development. This year, we are excited to be partnering with the following schools:
- PS 56 Lewis Latimer (New!) – All Grades
- PS 316 Elijah Stroud – All Grades
- PS 770 The New American Academy – All Grades
- Brighter Choice Community School – 3K and PreK
- PS 241 Emma Johnston – PreK to 2nd Grades
- PS 896 (NEW!) – All Grades
Please note that all programs are currently pending and have not launched. After school at 316, 770, BCCS, and 56 will launch after the minimum enrollment has been met. All other sites are pending confirmation from the schools. Registration for all sites is open and when you register, you will begin to receive regular updates from our team with the program status.
Tuition rates are set at a weekly rate and charged to your account 4-weeks at a time. This 4 week period will commence on the date that the program launches, whether your camper attends the program or not.
There will be a $50 per camper annual registration fee applied when tuition is added. Due to increased building permit costs by the Department of Education, the program fees have increased.
Families needing additional financial support should communicate their needs by emailing email@example.com
What kind of homework support will my child receive?
Every day, we provide 30 minutes for focused homework time. Group Leaders will provide encouragement and support but cannot provide one-on-one academic support.
If I don’t want my child to go outside, can they stay indoors?
No, your child must remain with their group the entirety of the day.
Will they be with the same group of students in their regular class?
We understand that this would be ideal to avoid mixing groups, however it can only be accommodated if the full class is enrolled in the program. It is unlikely your camper will be with the same group of kids and it’s not something we can guarantee.
How will Trail Blazers ensure COVID-19 safety during the program?
We are developing a comprehensive safety plan guided by best practices from the DOH, CDC, and DOE. It will include protocols for daily screening, cleaning, distancing, and communication. All staff will be trained on this plan. When the full plan is available, it will be shared on this webpage.
Learning Bubbles are the newest addition to our school program offerings, designed to respond to the diverse schedule needs of our families. A Learning Bubble is a consistent group of 6 campers who learn and play together with a customized schedule and program plan. Bubbles are launching on a rolling basis.
A Bubble is a group of up to 6 campers who experience the program together. Each bubble will have a dedicated Group Leader and a consistent schedule each week. Bubbles may spend their time at a camper’s home, at the Trail Blazers center, or outdoors in Prospect Park or a garden. The bubble experience is highly customizable.
Who forms a bubble? Parents are expected to create their own bubbles of 6 kids (PreK to 5th grade) from their school or community. Bubbles can include multiple ages (we expect siblings to be in a bubble together) and schools, as long as they share the same schedule needs and remote learning expectations. We cannot assign campers to bubble but we can help connect families with similar schedule needs.
All bubble members will be required to complete a program waiver and a bubble agreement, to be provided before the program starts.
Do you need help forming your bubble? We have created 2 platforms for parents to connect with others in their community who have the same schedule needs and remote learning expectations. Bubbles
Please note, Trail Blazers does not monitor, moderate, or endorse posts made in these groups. These are simply spaces to facilitate connections between families. However, Trail Blazers may remove posts that are not focused on connecting families. Trail Blazers does not take responsibility for any bubbles that families form.
AM Programs: Group Leaders will supervise remote learning and facilitate play breaks and sunrise/sunset circles during morning programs. The amount of time spent on remote learning is customizable based on bubble preference. The Group Leader will provide tech support, encouragement, and keeping campers focused but they do not provide individual academic tutoring.
PM Programs: Afternoon programs will follow a model similar to traditional after school. They will start with a sunrise circle and then spend the afternoon exploring outside, completing team building challenges, and engaging in environmental science activities before wrapping up with a sunset circle.
To get your Bubble started, you’ll select 1 base schedule:
- 2/3 Days Per Week, AM Only (for Blended Learners) – 9:00 AM – 2:00 PM
- 2/3 Days Per Week, PM Only (for Blended Learners) – 2:00 PM – 5:00 PM
- 2/3 Days Per Week, Full Day (for Blended Learners) – 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
- 5 Days Per Week, AM Only (for Full Remote Learners) – 9:00 AM – 2:00 PM
- 5 Days Per Week, PM Only (for Full Remote Learners) – 2:00 AM – 5:00 PM
- 5 Days Per Week, Full Day (for Full Remote Learners) – 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
After your register with your base schedule, we will collect additional requests in the Bubble Information form. You can request only 1 day per week, adjusted start and end times, or whatever else your group may need. We will do our best to accommodate and we will communicate if we cannot fulfill a request. Each member of your bubble must agree to the same schedule.
Some requests may incur additional costs.
You may be wondering what your Bubble will do and where will they go? Each Bubble’s specific plan will include a schedule and location for each time they are with us. Your Bubble may be in one location for their full time together, or they may rotate through multiple locations throughout the week. We encourage parents to consider locations for their Bubbles and we can provide support for those who need it. Access to space will be a factor in determining if we can accommodate your schedule needs.
- Homes: If a family is able and willing to host their Bubble in their home, this is the most ideal. This increases the likelihood that we can serve your Bubble’s schedule. Bubbles can operate fully in one camper’s home, or rotate through different homes. This is determined by the Bubble.
- Trail Blazers Center: The Trail Blazers team is currently transitioning one of our offices into a TBC Center that can host multiple Bubbles simultaneously. Bubbles that do not have access to a home or other location, may be able to use this space, though capacity will be limited.
- Community Spaces: Trail Blazers is currently pursuing additional spaces in our neighborhood to support Bubbles. We also encourage families to see community spaces. For example, an apartment building may have a community or recreation space that is available.
- Outdoor Locations: Group can opt for a fully outdoor program, though it may not operate on days with severe inclement weather. We love this idea and we love being outside, but please note that this option is not functional for remote learning time if there is no access to an internet connection or electrical outlets.
All home-based bubble participating families must review and agree to the terms of the Service Agreement
Setting Up Your Bubble
- All members must register in Active and submit the Bubble Information Form (this is the form that gives the opportunity to customize your experience)
- Our team will confirm your Bubble schedule and location plan, tuition charges, and launch date
- Tuition charges will be added to your account and must be paid before the Bubble can launch (individuals can contact our registration team for payment plans)
- Bubbles will launch on a rolling basis, no sooner than September 21. Most Bubbles will start 2 weeks after we confirm your Bubble plan.
All prices reflect the cost for a Bubble for the 11 week program (January 4 – March 26, not including winter break). Tuition charges will only be added to your account after your Bubble’s schedule is confirmed.
We do have scholarships available for any family who needs it. Please do not let the cost prevent you from registering. Complete the winter bubble scholarship request form to submit a request.
Registration is open for the winter bubble session – January 4, 2021 – March 26, 2021.
To register, select the Winter Bubble session. After registering, you can submit additional schedule customization requests in the Bubble Information form on your Active Dashboard. When we receive this form from at least one member of your Bubble, we will confirm your schedule, match you with a group leader, and add the tuition charges. Tuition is due before your bubble’s first day.
Each member of your bubble must be enrolled in Active in order for your bubble to launch.
Does Trail Blazers provide meals or snacks for campers?
No, campers must bring their own nut-free snacks and lunch to the program. If the bubble is hosted in a home, the bubble host may only provide food for the group if the entire bubble agrees to it.
Will Trail Blazers provide devices for remote learning?
At the TBC Center, there is a limited number of devices available for those who do not have one or have forgotten it at home. Campers are expected to provide their own device, charger, and headset/headphones.
Can we increase our weekly hours after the program starts?
Yes, if staff and spacing are available. This will be determined on a case-by-case basis.
Will Bubbles continue to operate if schools are shut down?
If DOH does not require us to shut down programs, and we feel confident that we can operate safely, we will.
Can we form our Bubble with kids in different age groups?
Yes, your bubble can include ages that you are comfortable with. We expect siblings to share a bubble.
How will Trail Blazers ensure COVID-19 safety during the program?
View our full Covid-19 Safety Plan
What happens when schools are closed for a holiday?
If schools are closed for a single day, a bubble may maintain their regular program if the holiday falls on a day that their bubble was scheduled to run. These arrangements must be made in advance. There is no program available during Thanksgiving break.
When we can’t be together in person, join us for Virtual After School – We’ll meet on Zoom every day and offer campers homework support, art and science activities, movement games such as yoga or dance, and explore whatever new topics interests our e-campers. Campers will also gain access to MyQuest virtual platform with outdoor challenges and scavenger hunts for the whole family to enjoy together. This program is currently open only to students at PS 705 but additional spots may become available.
What is Virtual After School?
Virtual After School is just like regular after school but you can log in right from home. Each day, we’ll meet on Zoom for 3 hours filled with:
- Homework support from our staff
- Chat and chew – a time to eat a snack and hang out with your friends.
- Movement games including yoga, TikTok dances, and more!
- Environmental Science and Art projects
- Speciality Activities – We will have weekly sessions dedicated to our e-campers specific interests.
When you join the Virtual After School, you’ll also gain access to MyQuest, a learning platform that features many activities for your camper to do on their own or with the whole family, incuidng art and science activities, outdoor challenges, scavner hunts, and more! Each activity is a mission and when you complete multiple missions, you can level up!
Small groups and building relationships are a vital part of Trail Blazer’s mission. When you sign up for the MyQuest program, your camper will be a part of an active community, where they can interact with others and share photos and highlights!
Right now, this program is only open to students at PS 705.
There is no cost for the Virtual After School program.
This program is sponsored by the Empire State After School Program (ESAP).
We are currently working with the school administration to identify ways to use ESAP funding to provide additional in-person opportunities and will update all families when we have more information.