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Introduction Throughout our 127-year evolution from Life’s Fresh Air Farm to the present day Trail Blazer Camps, we continue the mission of facilitating the development of values and life skills essential for productive and conscientious citizenship in youth through our outdoor experiential education and leadership programs: Summer Outdoor Experiential Education Program (Sleepaway Camp and Day Camp), Counselors in Training Leadership Program, BKB Trail Blazers (Climbing Camp), and Under One Sky (Urban Environmental Leadership & Education).

Using the natural environment as a catalyst, our programs foster youth development in the following dimensions, our Six Pillars, which address educational, physical, social, and emotional development: 1. Learning to Learn: Academics, research, presentation, curiosity, passion for learning 2. Being a Steward: Environmental science literacy and stewardship values 3. Self Growth/21st Century Skills: Collaboration, independence, leadership, communication, responsibility 4. Being a Friend: Social skills and character values including compassion, citizenship, respect, community 5. Being Healthy: Health literacy, land-to-plate process, food choices, active lifestyles 6. Learning to Survive: Outdoor skills and knowledge 2

Our Programs Trail Blazers’ award-winning programming emphasizes emotional, social, intellectual, and physical participation: Summer Outdoor Experiential Education Program – Sleepaway Camp On our forested 1000 acres, groups of 8 to 10 youth live for 14 days in a “smallcamp,” where they schedule their own program in collaboration with their Group Leaders. This structure, known as decentralized camping, is Trail Blazers’ unique, time-tested approach to Building Values for Life. Summer Outdoor Experiential Education Program – Day Camp Youth in Montague, NJ and surrounding areas spend weekday mornings and afternoons at Trail Blazers. Though they go home each night, they are immersed in the same activities that encourage learning, personal development, physical engagement, and health awareness. Under One Sky Education & Leadership Program Under One Sky (UOS) is a year-round program designed to develop our youth’s ability to be active participants in their communities through urban environmental education and leadership training. UOS runs as a teen leadership program, an in-school program for teens, and a community-based after-school program for children. Counselors in Training Leadership Program Teen-aged campers interested in working with children develop the leadership skills, communication skills and competency required to succeed in this field by assisting Group Leaders in the Day and Sleepaway Summer Outdoor Experiential Education Programs. BKB Trail Blazers Youth Climbing Camp BKB Trail Blazers is a new partnership between Trail Blazers and Brooklyn Boulders, NYC’s only fully-dedicated climbing gym and one of the East Coast’s largest. Our unique, one-week summer camp combines indoor wall-climbing with outdoor natural rock-climbing. Trail Blazers also provides Environmental Education day trips for schools and Conference & Retreat services. 3

From the Board 2013 was a rewarding year of growth and accomplishment for Trail Blazers. Most importantly, we again served more than 400 deserving youth through unique, decentralized, experiential programming that continues to “Build Values for Life.” Among our achievements was the launch of “Under One Sky (UOS),” our new year-round environmental education and leadership program. UOS educates participants about the urban environment in which they live and empowers them to be conscientious citizens who make positive contributions to their communities through stewardship. This was also the first year of “BKB Trail Blazers,” our partnership with Brooklyn Boulders. Children learned rock climbing at Brooklyn Boulder’s indoor climbing walls, then unplugged from city life to climb on natural rock at Trail Blazers. In addition to a fantastic climbing adventure, children learned about the natural world and shared in Trail Blazers’ traditional value-building experience. Our Day Camp enjoyed its 4th year in 2013. In addition to providing non-residential summer opportunity for children, Day Camp has helped us enhance our 4

relationship with the local community. We are finding many ways to be a resource for each other, to the benefit of all. There is a great momentum here at Trail Blazers as we approach 2014. Our programs have never been stronger. UOS holds incredible promise. We continue to identify new partners who recognize Trail Blazers’ empowering experiences help children develop a belief in their own potential in a uniquely effective way. Our successes are unquestionably due to - and depend on - the support of our extended Trail Blazers family. We hope you will keep in touch with us throughout 2014. We have rolled out a new website design to help you do so. Go to to view the new site and follow us as we continue to make an important, meaningful difference in the lives of our youth.


Arthur Fishelman, Co-Chair

Marc Hyman, Co-Chair

The Youth We Serve Trail Blazers’ programs serve over 400 children and young adults (ages 5-17) from all backgrounds each year – leaving no youth indoors. Our youth reside in New York City’s five boroughs and New Jersey’s Newark, Paterson, Elizabeth, and Sussex County. In 2013, 44% were African-American, 30% Latino, 17% White, 6% Asian, and 3% multiracial. The Trail Blazers experience is one youth look forward to: many return year after year, and some are even second and third generation campers! Youth learn of Trail Blazers through relationships with schools such as Newark’s Team Academy, whose students we have hosted for 10+ years, and social services agencies such as Elizabeth’s Elizabeth Coalition for the Homeless, whose youth have benefited from Trail Blazers experiences for 15+ years. Others include Paterson’s Eva’s Village, Paterson’s Boys & Girls Club, Newark’s I Have A Dream Foundation, Brooklyn’s Children of Promise, Brooklyn’s Ditmas School (I.S. 62), New York’s Harlem Dowling, New York’s Urban Assembly Schools, New York’s Episcopal Social Services, and Stamford, CT’s Matthew Gaffney Foundation, among many others. With over 75% of our youth below the federal poverty line, we are dedicated to ensuring all children have equal access to essential programming, regardless of financial ability. In keeping with our mission, we subsidize youth in need via our Scholarship Fund. All donations, in absence of directive, are allocated to this Fund.

Summer 2013 In our Summer Outdoor Experiential Education Program – Sleepaway Camp, which operates on our 1000 forested acres in Sussex County, NJ, youth live 14 days in a “decentralized smallcamp”: a family-like group of 8 to 10 children who schedule their own program of activities in collaboration with their 2 to 3 Group Leaders. We pioneered this model in 1925 and it is recognized for its ability to deliver life-long benefit to children. Group Leaders seamlessly integrate learning opportunities, encouraging campers’ curiosity and provoking critical thinking. Nature hikes are multi-part experiences where observations are researched in our libraries then presented to other campers. Experiments calculating water usage during long showers are math and problem solving exercises. Songs sung around the campfire replace texting and Facebook. With rugged and rustic accommodations of canvas tents and latrines, youth intimately experience nature. Our relationship with The Nature Conservancy in New Jersey bolsters our environmental science lessons. The highlight of the summer is Vagabond, our trademark multi-day hike down the Appalachian Trail or canoe trip down the Delaware River. It is a test of skills learned and instills confidence: the empowering accomplishment of completing Vagabond is a source of many college essays and alumni memories. 6

This year, over 400 youth unplugged from city life to create life-long memories, fish and swim in Lake Mashipacong, learn to identify red efts, ride bicycles on our trails, tend and harvest our vegetable garden, learn to cook over an open fire, explore a beaver habitat, share healthy meals family-style, make new friends, and then fall asleep in a canvas teepee or hogan under the stars.


Under One Sky Under One Sky (UOS), Trail Blazers’ new year-round environmental leadership and education program, emerged from the realization that a complete understanding of “environment” involves much more than experiencing the outdoors. UOS expands youth’s understanding of “environment” to include everywhere they live, work, and play and helps them translate their personal connection with the outdoors into practical meaning for their urban lives. Under One Sky grew from its pilot in 2011 to a full, year-round program in 2013 with a competitive grant awarded by Youth, I.N.C.’s BridgeFund program.

UOS In-School Curriculum: Currently running at Cardozo High School in Queens, two freshmen classes (over 60 teens) are participating in weekly workshops as part of their Social Studies elective “Critical Issues in Society.” Trail Blazers provides curriculum framework and program support to Cardozo staff.

UOS After-School Program: Currently running at Children of Promise, a Brooklyn, NY organization serving youth with incarcerated parents. Trail Blazers runs weekly workshops as part of Children of Promise’s in-house after-school program that focus on environmental education and stewardship relevant to its Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn community. 8

UOS Leadership Team: Currently serving 15 teens, UOS Leadership builds upon lessons learned during a two-week summer immersion session run concurrently with the Summer Sleepaway Program. This summer, they visited a local farm to explore food sustainability, cleared a hiking trail to learn trail maintenance and its role in minimizing impact on surrounding nature, and ran a camp-wide “Trash Pick Up Challenge” to galvanize other campers’ stewardship passions. From September to May, the teens meet for monthly workshops with local New York City experts to learn about their communities’ challenges as well as opportunities to become involved. This fall, they have tested water quality at the Hudson River, volunteered to participate in urban greening with the Lower East Side Ecology Center, and made connections between the environment and community health with Harlem’s WE ACT. UOS Leadership culminates with a final project the participants will design themselves based on their understanding of their community’s needs. Check our blog to read about their urban workshops and their final projects in the Spring. “Usually I am an indoor person and now I enjoy my time outside. The camp helped me care more about the environment we live in.” – UOS Leadership participant


Day Camp 2013 marked four summers of Day Camp, and counting! The Sussex County, NJ community continues to be an integral part of our programming: last summer’s donated program services included Home Depot’s birdhouse building workshop and Montague Township’s Clean Communities Program’s reuse and recycle workshop, among others. This summer, we were happy to welcome even more local support including Mill Creek Apiaries for a beekeeping/honey workshop and National Park Service volunteers for a workshop on wildlife tracks and pelts.

BKB Trail Blazers Brooklyn Boulders is New York City’s only fully dedicated rock climbing gym and one of the East Coast’s largest. We partnered to launch BKB Trail Blazers, week-long youth climbing camp sessions. The week commences with a one-day basics course at Brooklyn Boulders’ indoor climbing wall. Participants then come to Trail Blazers to camp on our 1000 forested acres and hone their skills by climbing outdoors on natural rock.




Financial Statements Statement of Activities Trail Blazer Camps, Inc. Years ended October 31, 2012 and 2011 2012 2012 REVENUE Contributions




2011 $




Fundraising Benefits



Trust Fund & Investment Income



Registration Fees



Miscellaneous Income






EXPENSES Program Services



Management & General



















Financial Statements REVENUE 2012 2012 7%

6% 10% Contributions 3%

Fundraising Benefits Trust Fund & Investment Income Registration Fees Miscellaneous Income


87¢ of each $1 raised supports essential programming. Our strict fiscal monitoring and a shared resources arrangement with our partners enables us to maintain our nonprofit industry low of only 13% of total budget spent on overhead costs.

EXPENSES 2012 9%

4% Program Services Management & General Fundraising



Our Supporters It is the generousity of those who have faith in our programs and continue to support us that allows Trail Blazers to continue our work.

2013* $25,000+

ACA-SCOPE Anonymous City of Paterson, NJ Youth, I.N.C. $10,000 - $24,999

Laura J. Niles Foundation Victoria Foundation, $5,000 - $9,999

Brick Presbyterian Church Capital One N.A. Customers Bank Heidell, Pittoni, Murphy, & Bach, LLP / Luke Pittoni Hugh D. Babowal Leslie Ballantyne Matthew Gaffney Foundation Union Foundation $2,500 - $4,999

Brooke Borner Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies George Kunath Grace Kurdian Lorraine Greene Lee Memorial Foundation Macy's Inc. Marc Hyman Mertz Gilmore Foundation


Nick Krassy Jr. $1,000 - $2,499

Anna Krassy Anne Jones Anton Finelli, in honor of Life Lifers Louise Finelli, Joseph Finelli Sr. & Joseph Finelli Jr. Baco Che-Na-Wah Bazaar Foundation Barry & Jamie Hyman Catherine Nicholl Chantal Jane Bouw Charles Moyer E. J. Grassmann Trust James Pappas Jonathan & Sari Peris/Jewish Community Foundation Karl Hersch Leon Clarke Charitable Trust Sandy & Bryan Benjamin Steven Sorensen The Denver Foundation The Durst Organization Tom Riddleberger William Ernest $500 - $999

Bederson & Company Charles & Kay Smorto Donald Oberndorf

Eileen McEvoy Eric O. Fornell Heasung Minjung Park John Levesque Julie Skatoff Louis Milea Lynn Rudolf Marilyn Robinson Mark Siegeltuch Mor Wetzler Peter Riguardi Rebecca Byam Stephen Durkee William Hartman $100 - $499

Adam & Hillary Comora Adam Turteltaub Adele Ervin Alexander Basse Ann Grumpelt Anne Chiapella Arthur & Linda Fishelman Barbara Peters Barbara Wentworth Bridget Rebich Brikena Sadiku Brittany Lowe Carl & Erin Cetera Celeste Frank Charles Bach Charlita Mays Christopher Sadoux Corey & Erica Geis

Daniel May Daniel Ratner Danielle Campisi David Calamari David Cannon David Dietze David Fisher Debra Dolph Diturije Jakupovski Doreen Cunningham Dorothy Ames Dorothy Spencer Elizabeth Cornacchio Elizabeth H. McMullan Erica Rients Gary Shaw George Brackett George Buddensick Gloria Greenbaum Gloria Pflanz Heather Cacci Helen Lunday Houghton Mifflin Harcourt J. Charles Riecks Jacqueline BrownRichardson Jacqueline Ramirez James Key James P. Simon Jane Berkey Jane Buchanan-Banks Janet Owen Jasmine Farrier Jean Worthley Jeff Wedge

Jessica M. Gerber Joan Dickie John Colletti John Hackney John Marinuzzi Jordana Kozel Julia Park Katharine Bradbury Keith Derman Jordan & Keri Sadler Kim & Joseph Martens Laura Markham Maria Celina Trzepacz Maria Ruben Marjory Smith Martha Grace (Price) Lawrence Mary Hollenbeck Megan Le Merrily S. Haas Michael & Jenna Butz Michael Hicks Michael McGowan Napoleon Georgatos Nicholas Krassy Sr. Nicki Wallhofer Nicole R. Brown Nirja Mahenthiran Patricia Iandoli Patrick Hendricks Paul & Cynthia Clauss Paul Hastings, LLP Paul Leggett Paul Marcus Ronald Rasdall Ruth Gregg

Shawna-Gay White Stephen Gruber Stocker Bus Company Suzanne Graver Tammy A. Nelson Thomas (TJ) Wagner Thomas Nakashian Tiffany Caton Todd Whiting William Koch In-Kind

Abraham Puchall & Herald Square Hotel Debbie Hotalen Green Valley Farms Grove Street Bicycles Home Depot Janet Owen Joe Cooper Joe Legg Mill Creek Apiaries Montague Bagel Montague Township Clean Communities National Park Service Ridgefield Bicycle Co. Rizzo's Reptiles Sharon Orce Skylands Astronomy Village Pizza *from Jan 2013 to Oct. 31, 2013


Board of Trustees and Staff 2013 2013 Co-Chairmen

Marc Hyman (Heidell, Pittoni, Murphy & Bach, LLP) Arthur Fishelman (Trade Winds Lake Camp) Vice President

George Kunath, CPA (retired) Secretary

Leslie Ballantyne (Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center) Treasurer

Louis Milea, CPA (DeGraw Tompkins Solutions) Members

Hugh Babowal (Wells Fargo) Sandra N. Benjamin (Paul Hastings LLP) Brooke S. Borner (JP Morgan) William D. Bouw (Alumnus) Napoleon Georgatos (Deloitte Consulting) Anna Krassy (Alumna) Grace Kurdian, Esq. Jonathan Peris (Merrill Lynch) Scott Napolitano (PJ Solomon) Julie Skatoff (Deloitte Consulting) Steven W. Sorensen (Manhattan Regional Center) Honorary Trustees

Catherine Smorto (Alumna) Eli Wallach (Alumnus) Executive Director

Riel Peerbooms, MSW Staff

Steve Bates – Property Manager Tiffany Caton – Development & Communications Kelly Oberndorf – Director of Programs Jen Ugolino – Under One Sky Program Director Contact Us 153 West 27th Street, Suite 1102, New York, NY 10001 (212) 529-5113

Profile for Riel Peerbooms

Trail Blazers Annual Report 2013  

If you would like a print version mailed to you, please contact Tiffany Caton, Development and Communications Director, at tcaton@trailblaze...

Trail Blazers Annual Report 2013  

If you would like a print version mailed to you, please contact Tiffany Caton, Development and Communications Director, at tcaton@trailblaze...