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From the Board This year’s accomplishments set a strong foundation for Trail Blazers’ future as we continue to be guided by our theme of going outside to grow within. As always, credit is due to our staff, Board, and many friends. We had a full summer with strong programming. Our Value Catchers© continued to support each child as they worked towards learning and growing in one of our Six Pillars, marking each successful step achieved during the camp session with a bead, serving as a tangible record of their accomplishment. Our new Day Camp in Prospect Lefferts Gardens, Brooklyn was a success, with over 100 children in its inaugural year. Trips to natural sites across New York City and our Mashipacong Estate introduced our newest campers to Trail Blazers experiences and connections to nature. Our year-round program, Under One Sky AfterSchool, continues to thrive. This academic year we are operating in two schools and are looking forward to expanding and connecting even more youth to our urban environments. Long-time Board Co-Chair Arthur Fishelman became the newest member of our Emeritus


Board, joining initiating Emeritus Board Members, George Kunath and Bill Bouw. Board Member Hugh Babowal has become Board Co-Chair. His commitment and guidance have been exemplary. Also, John Howie, Laura Markham, and Ronald Rasdall, Jr. (alumnus) have joined the Board. Trail Blazers is fortunate they all will contribute their talent, experience, and wisdom to strengthening us for the future. Lastly, a Trail Blazers funder has increased its challenge grant for 2016, matching Scholarship Fund donations dollar for dollar until June 1, 2016. This is a huge vote of confidence in our mission, our program and the constancy of your support, financial and otherwise. Without you, Trail Blazers would not be Trail Blazers. We hope you will continue to support us in the years ahead. Sincerely,

Marc Hyman Co-Chair of the Board

Hugh Babowal Co-Chair of the Board

Mission & Programs


Since our inception in 1887, Trail Blazers continues to believe going outside is the best way to grow within. It is our mission to facilitate the development of values and life skills essential for productive citizenship in youth through outdoor experiential education and leadership. Through our programs:

We Camp. Our Summer

We Lead. High-school students in our Leaders in Training

Adventures and Winter/Spring Adventures are our flagship sleepaway programs, running at our 1000-acre site in New Jersey. In our Brooklyn Day Camp, younger campers connect to nature in NYC.

Program develop leadership potential during a four-week summer experience and year-round Leadership Summits.


We Connect. Groups of all ages are invited to connect

Learn. Our Under One Sky After-School program builds environmental science knowledge and supports the development of life skills, with an emphasis on community.

We Prepare. Teens and young adults prepare for adulthood through our culinary themed Futures in Food, where they learn transferable career skills through year-round workshops, including real-world experience in a camp kitchen.

to nature and each other at our unique forested New Jersey site through field trips, conferences, and other events.

We Engage. We serve as a community resource for learning, service, and opportunities at our Outpost.

Going outside to grow within at Under One Sky After-School

Program Highlights


PLG Brooklyn Day camp Since we moved our administrative office to Prospect Lefferts Garden (PLG), Brooklyn, we explored how to best serve the children and families in our new community. The result: a partnership with Lefferts Gardens Montessori to launch PLG Trail Blazers for campers ages 4-9. Over 100 campers joined us in our inaugural summer! As with all our other programs, we spent most of our time outdoors, connecting to nature. Our home base was nearby Prospect Park, and field trips to natural sites around the city including the High Line, Wyckoff Farmhouse, and our very own Mashipacong Estate provided additional experiential learning opportunities about our environment. Stephan Lendor lead program staff comprising Lefferts Gardens Montessori staff and Trail Blazers’ international and American staff. It was a truly unique experience for our newest campers. We can’t wait for next summer!

Program Highlights


Under One Sky Under One Sky supports city youth in exploring the links between our natural environments and our urban environments – because we all live under one sky! We integrate hands-on environmental science education with personal development and a sense of community, empowering youth to affect their environments for the better. Under One Sky runs through the academic year at P.S. 770 and P.S. 705 in Brooklyn. January – May The Spring semester at Under One Sky concludes with a Final Project that students design themselves as a group, based on their understanding of community and their environment’s needs. The Final Projects included: a habitat awareness campaign in their school; creating a pollinator garden in their school yard; a school beautification day, complete with planting and litter pick-up; and the building of an edible wall, a rain harvesting system, and a pond at their school. September – December The fall season brought many hands-on opportunities for our campers to learn about autumn in the city! Lessons and projects included animal adaptations, how animals prepare for winter, bird migration games, how plants eat and drink, why leaves change color, endo & exoskeleton demonstrations with boneless hands and molting hands, crazy cranberry science, air pollution detectors, water pollution and building our own watersheds.

Helping Youth Grow


To ensure we successfully impact youth, we evaluate our program along statistically validated constructs of Social Emotional Learning and Positive Youth Development. The research demonstrates how we develop the skills and values that contribute to thriving and productive lives:

Strategies that work Proven strategies such as: • Developing Growth Mindset: Setting goals such as hiking farther and celebrating effort with our Value Catchers© and corresponding beads – a tangible representation of skills/values gained. •Developing Social Capital: Camper and staff diversity creates a unique space where campers meet people they wouldn't ordinarily meet. • Exploring Interests: Our decentralized model encourages youth to design their own program. • Supportive environments: Small groups, high staff-tochild ratios, and team-building activities in favor over competitive sports.

Skills & Values Our Six Pillars are essential skills/values specifically chosen for their proven role in long-term success: After just two weeks of camp: • Self Growth: 83% of parents reported improved confidence. • Being Healthy: 70% of parents reported improved activity level. • Being a Friend: 72% of parents reported improved respect/care for peers. • Learning to Survive & Being a Steward: 85% of parents reported increased interest in being outdoors and caring for the environment. • Learning to Learn: 71% of parents reported improved resilience.

Success in Life A survey sent to alumni who attended camp from 1940 –1982 revealed: • 64% reported Trail Blazers influenced their ability to work in a team/with others on their job. • 53% reported Trail Blazers influenced their curiosity and interest in learning. • 51% reported Trail Blazers influenced the role of environmental stewardship in their lives. • 66% reported Trail Blazers influenced their current relationships with family and friends.

Helping Youth Grow


“I want to let you know what a wonderful experience Trailblazers has been for my child. You’ve managed to squeeze into these weeks everything that I think is lacking in his public school education!.� - Parent, 2015 Our program evaluation revealed that after just two weeks of summer camp, 91% of all campers improved significantly* in at least one of the six skills/traits below, proven to help them grow, thrive, and be successful in the long term:

Self-Management: 46% of campers made significant * gains in this skill, which correlates with higher grades and increased resilience. Positive Identity: 46% of campers made significant* gains in this skill, which correlates with higher confidence, sense of empowerment, and resiliency. Academic Self-Efficacy: 28% of campers made significant* gains in this skill, which correlates with confidence in ability to learn and career growth.

Social Skills: 46% of campers made significant* gains in skills/traits such as caring and empathy, which correlates with positive social interactions. Social Capital: 39% of campers made significant* gains in building these positive bonds, which correlates with building a support network and sense of belonging in their environment. Contribution: 45% of campers made significant* gains in this trait, which correlates with positive purpose and positive societal development.

*statistical significance, based on effect size benchmarking

Financial Statements


Statement of Activities Trail Blazer Camps, Inc. Years ended October 31, 2014 and 2013



REVENUE Contributions


Fundraising Benefits




1,000,686 27,286

Trust Fund & Investment Income



Registration Fees



Miscellaneous Income







Management & General













EXPENSES Program Services







Our Supporters


The generosity of our donors and funders enables Trail Blazers to deliver essential programs and opportunities. Our Scholarship Fund is an essential part of ensuring true accessibility to all youth, regardless of family income.

30,000+ 100% 75% 600+ 4-17 Children Served Since 1887

Receiving Scholarship

At or Below Poverty Line

Children Annually


Our Supporters


It is the generosity of those who have faith in Trail Blazers’ programs and supported us in 2015 that we are able to continue our work and fulfill our mission. $200,000+ Anonymous $25,000+ City of Paterson, NJ GE Capital $10,000+ Hyde and Watson Laura J. Niles Foundation The Bay and Paul Foundations Victoria Foundation Leslie Ballantyne $5,000+ American Eagle Outfitters Brick Presbyterian Church David Tcholakian F.P.W.A. S.C.O.P.E. Union Foundation Hugh D. Babowal $2,500+ ConEdison E.J. Grassmann Trust

Heidell, Pittoni, Murphy, & Bach, LLP Anna Krassy Grace Kurdian Jonathan Weiss Keith Forman Marc Hyman Scott Napolitano $1,000+ Baco Che-Na-Wah Bazaar Foundation Jewish Community Endowment Foundation Leon W. Clarke Charitable Trust Lorraine Greene Lee Memorial Foundation

Mertz Gilmore Foundation Microsoft Anne Jones Anton Finelli, in honor of alumni Louise Finelli, Joseph Finelli Sr. & Joseph Finelli Jr. Barry & Jamie Hyman Bouw Family

Caroline Jensen Charles Hyman Charles Moyer James Pappas, in honor of alumna Martha Pappas Mills John Howie John Petitt Jonathan & Sari Peris Josh & Robin Sadler Joyce Kurdian Karl Hersch Laura Markham & Anthony Murrello Louis Esposito Nihad Rahman & Naureen Kabir Raed Elkhatib Thomas Nakashian $500+ Bank of America Bederson, LLP Camp America Maher Terminals Arthur & Linda Fishelman Catherine Nicholl Crystal Chukalas

David Newman Diron Jebejian Frank Kellner Gregory Cashman & Peggy Neal Habte Demis John Hackney Louis Milea Lynn Rudolf Paul & Cynthia Clauss Philson Yim Rebecca Byam Ronald Rasdall, Jr. Stephanie Lazar Tom Riddleberger $100+ Algorythym Sobel Affiliates Adam & Laura Berger Alexander Basse Andrew Kaempfer Anne McQuaid Appolonia Thomas Barbara Chen Barbara Peters Barbara Sheehan Bradley Kranz Brikena Sadiku


Carol Serrano Caroline Rostant Celeste Frank Cezary Nadecki Charlita Mays & Mattjis Limberger Christine Howell Christopher & Karen Rodriguez Chrystal & Anthony Williams Corey & Erica Geis Costantinos Ziozis Daniel Ratner David & Karen Hedden David Calamari David Fisher Dawn Ulley Diandra Hansen Dorothy Ames Dov Gertzulin Eduard Thijs Elena Crotty Elizabeth Cornacchio & Anthony Heller Elizabeth Hendry Els Thijs Emily Viola Eric & Stephanie Fornell Gary Schulze Fernando Ruiz

Hugo van Hueven Ivan Martin Ivette DeLaCruz Jacqueline BrownRichardson Jacqueline Ramirez Jane Granzow Jeannene Smith Jeffrey Miller Jennifer Wittmer Jessica M. Gerber Jessica Whittet Joanne Sepetjian John Blatt John Broaddus, III John Colletti John Touhey Jordan & Keri Sadler Julia Enerson Kate Sullivan & John Leach Kathleen Ugolino Kathryn Cadotte Kay & Charles Smorto Kevin Mears Kiersten Zimmerman Kim & Joseph Martens Kimberly Wittmer Lenore Skenazy & Joseph Kolman Lesley Tarleton Julian Luke Pittoni Maria Trzepacz

Maria Ruben Marilyn & William Hartman Mark Siegeltuch Marshal & Anna Peris Mary Alice Scully Mary Frances King & Joanie Jones Maryellen Barlow Matthew Rubin Maureen Sullivan Michael & Lauren McGowan Michael Labadorf Minjung Park Nicholas Picinich Nii Adjei Pam Gregory & David Palladino Patricia Iandoli Patricia Miller Peg Noal Philip Baird Phillipa Saffin Pierre Kory Ralph & Evelyn Christensen Rayf Berman Riel Peerbooms & Donielle Lee Riva Krut & Harris Gleckman Ryan Newton

Samantha Lee Sarah Fitts Sebouh Nahabedian Shant Mardirossian Shaun Monroe Stavros Tsibiridis Stephen Gruber Susan Dolin Terrence St. John Thomas Paskowitz Tiffany Caton Trina Storfer William Lee Davis In-Kind Amir Program Bruce Borngiorno Education Resource Company Joann Lyden Joe Cooper Joe Falu Lesley Jane Booth Liz Abbene Partners P.S. 775 – B.A.S.E.S. P.S. 770 - TNAA The Nature Conservancy in New Jersey Youth, I.N.C.

Board of Trustees and Staff 2015 Co-Chairs Hugh Babowal (Wells Fargo) Marc Hyman (Heidell, Pittoni, Murphy, and Bach, LLP) Secretary Leslie Ballantyne (Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center) Treasurer Louis V. Milea, CPA (alumnus, DeGraw Tompkins Solutions) Trustees John Howie (Willett Advisors) Anna Krassy (alumna) Grace Kurdian, Esq. (NRG Energy, Inc.) Laura Markham (Maher Terminals) Thomas Nakashian (Wells Fargo) Scott Napolitano (Nomura Securities International, Inc.) Jonathan Peris (Merrill Lynch) Nihad Rahman (JP Morgan) Ronald Rasdall, Jr. (alumnus, HUDRON, Inc.) David Tcholakian (UBS) Emeritus Trustees William D. Bouw Arthur Fishelman George M. Kunath Honorary Trustee Catherine Smorto (alumna)

Executive Director Riel Peerbooms, MSW Senior Staff Steve Bates, Property Manager Tiffany Caton, Development & Communications Molly McCue, Director of Summer Programs Jen Ugolino, Director of Year-Round Programs

394 Rogers Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11225  212-529-5113  

Profile for Riel Peerbooms

Trail Blazers Annual Report 2015  

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 2015  

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