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From the Board We are happy to report Trail Blazers had a rewarding and productive year in 2014. We continued to provide summer experiences at Lake Mashipacong, serving 400 children. We introduced Value Catchers©, a craft based on dream catchers that each camper creates to represent goals set and achievements fulfilled. Campers showed immense growth and pride as they built their Value Catchers – and Built Values for Life. Programming has never been stronger, thanks to our tremendous staff. We are experiencing a wonderful period of continuity, extending 2013’s successes through 2014 and into 2015. Under One Sky (UOS), our urban environmental education and leadership program, has been incredibly well-received and is growing rapidly: it will be part of programming in four schools and organizations in 2015. The Futures in Food (FiF) program is also taking off. FiF’s teens and young adults are learning about the connection between personal health, community health, and environmental health while developing skills that will help them gain access to careers of their choice. Currently, FiF’s 10 participants are preparing for their food-related spring internships. 2

In March, we moved our office to Brooklyn. In addition to reducing rent expenses, the new storefront location has helped us become an involved member of the ProspectLefferts Gardens community, allowing us to develop exciting, new partnerships with local schools and organizations. We have also been leading a consortium of youth development non-profits in the establishment of a shared-resources model to take advantage of economies of scale such as reduced bookkeeping expenses. The initial phase is already under way. Several new members joined our Board in 2014. We are very excited about Nihad Rahman, David Tcholakian, and Thomas Nakashian’s talent, commitment, and enthusiasm. We believe they will make a very positive impact on Trail Blazers’ future. Thank you especially, as always, to our many, many friends and supporters. Each of you is essential to our welfare as an organization and to the children we benefit. Sincerely,

Arthur Fishelman Co-Chair

Marc Hyman Co-Chair

Introduction Since our inception in 1887, as Life’s Fresh Air Farm, thousands of youth have participated in Trail Blazers’ various programs.

Our Mission Trail Blazers facilitates the development of values and skills essential for productive citizenship in youth through outdoor experiential education and leadership programs.

Our Youth Each year Trail Blazers programs serve over 400 youth, ages 4 -21, from New York City’s five boroughs and across New Jersey. Approximately 44% are Black, 30% Latino, 17% White, 6% Asian, and 3% multi-racial. 75% of our youth live at or below the federal poverty line. We are dedicated to ensuring all youth have access to essential programming, regardless of financial ability. This commitment is underwritten by our Scholarship Fund, which is financed by the generosity of our supporters. 3

Our Approach and the Value Catcher© Our unique program approach is now combined with an elegant way to capture our campers’ growth and progress made in just two weeks: Trail Blazers Value Catcher


While participating in a Trail Blazers program, each child chooses the value he or she will work on – his or her own “Value in Progress.” Each Value has specific behaviors and qualities that demonstrate growth, the achievement of which earns a bead for their Value Catcher. This

summer, each and every camper worked hard and earned at least one bead in their chosen value. We can see in the pride with which they carried and displayed their Value Catchers that our campers gained confidence in their own ability to learn, to grow, to achieve, and to be successful. 4

Summer Programs Trail Blazers’ award-winning programming emphasizes emotional, social, intellectual, and physical participation:

Summer Sleepaway Camp On our forested 1000-acre property in Sussex County, NJ, over 400 campers learned to swim and fish in Lake Mashipacong, went on naturethemed pirate treasure hunts, cooked with Chef Julia, practiced archery, pow-wowed around the campfire, and slept in teepees, hogans, or wagons. Vagabonds included backpacking the Appalachian Trail, canoeing the Delaware River, scaling natural rock at Allamuchy State Park, or biking 60 miles of trails.

Summer Montague Day Camp On weekday mornings and afternoons this summer, Montague Day Campers explored nature, especially Lake Mashipacong’s bounty of fish and frogs. Master Gardeners of the Rutgers Cooperative Extension in Sussex County led a flower harvesting and arranging workshop. The lessons paid off – they submitted a flower arrangement to a local a state fair competition and won! 5

Year-Round Programs Piloted in 2011 with just 7 teens, Under One Sky (UOS) Environmental Education and Leadership programs continue to grow and expand:

UOS After-School In elementary and middle schools, participants explore topics such as food systems, urban water cycle, pollution & community well-being, personal carbon footprints, and leadership styles. For the 2014/2015 school year, UOS After-School operates in Brooklyn schools and community organizations: Children of Promise, P.S. 705 Brooklyn Arts and Science, and P.S. 770 The New American Academy.

UOS In-School Curriculum At Benjamin N. Cardozo High School in Queens, NY 30 freshmen participate in weekly UOS workshops as part of Social Studies elective “Critical Issues in Society.” Topics include urban waste streams, pollution & community well-being, land use & urban planning, urban energy use, leadership styles, and civic responsibility. This is UOS’ second year at Cardozo. Starting Spring 2015, the program will also run in Brooklyn High School for Leadership and Community Service. 6

UOS Highlight – Final Projects UOS programs culminate with community-oriented stewardship projects.

Final Projects (Spring 2014) • Children of Promise Participants took advantage of their move to a new site to develop green space remediation skills, preparing the site for a new garden. • Launch Expeditionary Learning Charter School (2013/2014 site) Students participated in an estuary conservation project with River Project Wetlab at Pier 40. • Urban Assembly’s High School of Green Careers (2013/2014 site) Students joined the Central Park Conservancy for an afternoon of invasive species removal in Central Park.

Results from Cardozo High School (Spring 2014) • 86% of students considered the environment to be a high priority, compared to other things in their lives. • 93% believe their personal choices impact the environment. • 96% believe their generation can change its habits so that future generations can continue to enjoy a good quality of life and environment. • 93% agree being informed about of state and local issues is an important responsibility for everybody. • 82% believe they can make a difference in their community. 7

Year-Round Programs UOS Leadership and Futures in Food provide opportunities for our older participants to develop skills, knowledge, and leadership capability:

UOS Leadership After their Summer 2013 two-week immersion session at camp learning environmental science basics, teens completed monthly urban stewardship workshops in NYC through Spring 2014. They developed their own final projects: organizing a beach cleanup, implementing an “Improve Your School Day,” and starting an after-school gardening club.

Futures in Food (FiF) – NEW! The camp tradition of tending and harvesting the vegetable garden and learning to cook healthy meals has grown into Futures in Food. Launched with 10 teens and young adults through a competitive grant from the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies, FiF helps our youth connect with the land, learn the land-to-fork process, develop healthy culinary skills, and transform their skills into a career. Workshops include ServSafe Certification, knife skills, kitchen experience, healthy recipes, and food entrepreneurship. FiF culminates with a 20 hour internship. 8

FiF Highlight – Apple Picking & Tasting

For their October 2014 workshop FiF visited Parks Farms in Chester, NJ to develop their taste palates and to discuss the local food movement and its environmental, economic, and health implications. Participants talked about the seasonal availability of produce and examined apples’ flavor profiles. They wrapped up the day sampling seasonal treats such as brussel sprouts and eggplant at the farmers market and taking home a bag of apples each to eat and cook.

From participant, Kyarrah Bender It was a very exciting first time experience. I learned a lot of new information that I never knew […] It was great that I was able to share this experience with people whom over time I grew to know and love.


Our Results To ensure we deliver a quality program that successfully impacts youth, we worked with Algorhythm, who specializes in capturing data to evaluate and improve social impact, through a collaboration with Youth, I.N.C. To learn how Trail Blazers experiences helps produce long-term youth outcomes, our program was placed within the Positive Youth Development Framework, an extensively researched model that considers the development of Caring, Character, Connection, Confidence, Competence, and Contribution – traits chosen for their demonstrated ability to help youth be successful in the long-term. In its pilot year, this tool was able to capture what thousands of alumni have experienced for decades: that Trail Blazers helps young people become more engaged and productive citizens/adults! For complete details on methodology and results, please refer to our website for a full report.

Summer 2014 camper results showed that:

74% reported pushing themselves to try when something was hard


Returning campers (2 or more years) started camp with higher baselines in Contribution and Caring

75% reported trying something new at camp

77% reported making new friends they would not have made at school

71% felt they developed initiative, learning to take action when needed

Trail Blazers activities statistically shown to foster youth development: Group activities & Vagabond Living in rustic smallcamps

81% reported they learned a lot about outdoor safety; positive correlation with “Environmental Competence”

72% reported working in a group to complete a task; positive correlation with “Connection”

Supportive staff invested in youth

Value Catchers & Vagabond

66% reported setting goals for their selves and group; positive correlation with “Character” and “Contribution”

85% felt they were expected to try hard; positive correlation with “Connection” and “Academic Competence”


Decentralized structure & youth voice

71% felt they could and did explore their own interests; positive correlation with “Academic Competence”

71% reported helping other campers; positive correlation with “Caring” and “Environmental Competence”


Financial Statements Statement of Activities Trail Blazer Camps, Inc. Years ended October 31, 2013 and 2012

2013 REVENUE Contributions



2012 $





Fundraising Benefits



Trust Fund & Investment Income











Management & General












Registration Fees Miscellaneous Income TOTAL REVENUE

EXPENSES Program Services







Financial Statements Revenue FY 2013 Over 60% of Trail Blazers’ budget is funded by a combination of foundation support and the generosity of individuals, including alumni. 37%

23% 18%

Foundations &

Indiv iduals

Tuition Fees



Gov ernment



Expenses FY 2013 Through strict fiscal monitoring and collaborations with our partners, Trail Blazers is able to ensure that 87¢ of each $1 raised helps keep essential programming within reach for the families who need it the most. 87%


Program Serv ices





Our Supporters It is the generosity of those who have faith in Trail Blazers’ programs and supported us in FY 2014 we are able to continue our work and fulfill our mission.


E.J. Grassmann Trust Erica Rients George Kunath $25,000+ Good Food Jobs Inc. City of Paterson Grace Kurdian Jo Cormack Harris Gleckman & Riva Hyde and Watson Krut The John and Margaret Heidell, Pittoni, Murphy, & Post Foundation Bach, LLP $20,000+ James Pappas Jewish Community Federation of Protestant Endowment Welfare Agencies Foundation/Jon Peris GE Capital Josh & Robin Sadler $10,000+ Joyce Kurdian Laura J. Niles Foundation Karl Hersch Victoria Foundation, Inc. Leon Clarke Charitable $5,000+ Trust Brick Presbyterian Church Lorraine Greene Lee Gannett Foundation Memorial Foundation Hugh D. Babowal Louis Esposito Leslie Ballantyne Marble Collegiate The Bay and Paul Church Foundations Marc Hyman SCOPE Mark Siegeltuch Martha Washington $1,000+ Straus/Harry Straus Anna Krassy Foundation Anne Jones Martin Ruiz Anton Finelli Mertz Gilmore Foundation Baco Che-Na-Wah Nick Krassy Bazaar Foundation Nihad Rahman Barry Hyman & Jamie Paul Hastings, LLP Carmell-Hyman Scott Napolitano Brooke Borner Steven Sorensen Bryan & Sandra Benjamin Thomas Nakashian Capital One, N.A. UltraCamp Foundation Chantal, Chantal Jane, & William Ernest Bill Bouw $500+ Charles Hyman Charles Moyer Bederson & Company LLP David Tcholakian Eric Duenwald Anonymous


Frederick Jackson Janet Owen John & Janis Gasparich John Levesque Jonathan and Sari Peris Keating Crawford Foundation Laura Markham Louis Milea Lynn Rudolf Marshal & Anna Peris Marshal Shelby Patricia Boisvert Patricia Kall Rebecca Byam Ronald Rasdall Stephen Durkee Stuart Builder Suzanne Graver Thomas Paskowitz Tom Riddleberger William Supper

$100+ Adele Ervin Alexander Basse Andrea Dulberger Ann Grumpelt Anne McQuaid Anthony M. Heller Anthony Murrello Anthony Williams Arthur & Linda Fishelman Barbara Peters Brad Udoff Brikena Sadiku Cameron Page Carole Ferguson Celeste Frank Celeste Tate Charles & Kay Smorto Charlita Mays

Christine Brandt Christine Howell Christopher Craddock Christopher Rodriguez Claire Kircher Craig Meyers Cynthia Delaney Daniel May Daniel Ratner Darlene Lapola David Calamari David Hedden Debra Dolph Debra Neiderfer Dexter Henry Diandra Hansen Dirk Van Heyst Dorothy Ames Dorothy Spencer Edward W. Ibold Eileen Struna Eric Berniker Erica Lee Frank & Francine Candela Friedman Michelle Garret Fitzgerald George & Prilla Brackett George Buddensick Gerard Collins Gloria Greenbaum Habte Demis Heasung Minjung Park Helen Lunday Hilde Adler J. Charles Riecks Jacob Danielski Jacqueline BrownRichardson Jacqueline Ramirez James Key James Richards Jane Berkey Jane F. Kortz Jane Granzow Janet S. Poriadjian

Jasmine Farrier Jean Worthley Jeff Wedge Joan Dickie Joann Lyden John Colletti John Hackney John Marinuzzi John Oliva Jordan & Keri Sadler Juanita Barrena Julia Enerson Julie Skatoff Karen Burston Kate & Dean Ellison Kathryn Cadotte Kathryn Riecks Kelly Oberndorf Kevin Salzmann Kim & Joseph Martens Kristen Felker Lawrence Shawe Lesley Tarleton Julian Libby Mitchell Lisa Mitchell Lois Bayern Loren Blackford Luke Pittoni Maria Celina Trzepacz Marjory Smith Martha Grace (Price) Lawrence Mary Alice Scully Mary Brown Matthew Wang Michael Ambrose Michael McGowan Michael Shecora Michelle Friedman Mirna Landrau Natural Gourmet Institute Nicki Wallhofer Pamela Abernethy Paul & Cynthia Clauss Paul Gravenese Paul Marcus

Peter Layton Petra Hall Philip Baird Philson Yim Ralph & Evelyn Christensen Robert Kenney Ruth Gregg Samuel Gilmore Sandra Catania Shan Anwar Shawna-Gay White Sobel Affiliates Sonia Moodie Stephen Griffin Stephen Gruber Stephen Sonnenberg Steven Borner Steven D. Gaudreau Stocker Bus Company Stuart Hodges Susan Dolin Suzanne Schaefer Tammy A. Nelson Tammy Dominique Thomas Chacko Tiffany Caton Timothy Mellitt Veronica Banek William & Marilyn Hartman William Hines William Koch

In-Kind Bruce Borngiorno High School for Public Service Youth Farm Joe Cooper Jenny Dye Montague Grange Ridgefield Bicycle Company Rutgers Cooperative Extension Tea & Jam Bakery WEACT


Board of Trustees and Staff 2014 Co-Chairmen Marc Hyman (Heidell, Pittoni, Murphy & Bach, LLP) Arthur Fishelman (Trade Winds Lake Camp)

Secretary Leslie Ballantyne (Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center)

Treasurer Louis Milea, CPA (DeGraw Tompkins Solutions)

Trustees Hugh Babowal (Wells Fargo) Sandra N. Benjamin (Paul Hastings LLP) Brooke S. Borner (JP Morgan) Anna Krassy (Alumna) Grace Kurdian, Esq. (NRG) Jonathan Peris (Merrill Lynch) Nihad Rahman (GE Capital) Thomas Nakashian (Wells Fargo) Scott Napolitano (Nomura Securities) Julie Skatoff (Deloitte Consulting) David Tcholakian (UBS)

Emeritus Trustees George Kunath William D. Bouw

Honorary Trustees Catherine Smorto (Alumna) Eli Wallach (Alumnus, 1916-2014)

Executive Director Riel Peerbooms, MSW

Staff Steve Bates – Property Manager Tiffany Caton – Development & Communications Molly McCue – Camp Operation and Recruitment Director Jen Ugolino – Year-Round Programs Director

394 Rogers Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11225 T: (212) 529-2113 E:

Profile for Riel Peerbooms

Trail Blazers Annual Report 2014  

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 2014  

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