Our Mission - Environmental Adventure Programs Build Values for Life
Through outdoor experiential education and adventure programs, Trail Blazers helps people of all ages build the values and life skills essential for productive citizenship.
Trail Blazers is an award-winning youth development organization that, for 125 years, has touched the lives of thousands of young people from New York and New Jersey. Each summer, over 400 children attend Trail Blazers’ core program, the Outdoor Experiential Education Adventure, a unique sleep away and day camp program. Since 1887, Trail Blazers has sponsored thousands of children to take part in these outdoor adventures where learning happens experientially — by living and playing together, and experiencing the challenges and opportunities the natural environment offers. Today, Trail Blazers remains the second oldest summer program in existence in the United States, and the first to offer environmental education.
The Trail Blazers Approach
Trail Blazers’ program approach has been developed over the course of 125 years. We believe that being in groups and being deeply involved in your own experience is the best way to learn and grow. We facilitate this process by using nature: our 1000 acres of beautiful, untouched land and lake remove the distractions of modern life and is a place to connect to both the natural world and oneself. The learning and growth process is further developed through a range of non-competitive activities, group-oriented focus, and the individual’s input in creating their own experience. This approach establishes a program that is unique and personal to each participant and offers opportunities for personal growth and educational development.
Excellence in Experiential Education since 1887
In 1887, John Ames Mitchell, editor of Life magazine, raised $800 to send 266 children from New York City to the Life Fresh Air Farm in Brancheville, Connecticut. Since that first summer, Trail Blazers has sponsored thousands of children to take part in outdoor adventures where learning happens experientially – by living and playing together, and experiencing the challenges and opportunities the natural environment offers. Today, Trail Blazers remains the second oldest summer program in existence in the United States, and the first to offer environmental education.
The Trail Blazers operates on 1100 acres of beautiful natural land, managed by the Nature Conservancy of New Jersey, and is known as the Mashipacong Bogs Preserve. The preserve is home to many endangered, rare and common species such as bobcat, black bear, beaver, waterfowl and songbirds. The Nature Conservancy manages the land to protect the fragile communities on the preserve. Campers have traveled to this pristine environment since 1938, when Trail Blazers first began to operate from this site.
We look forward to hosting you at one of our programs soon!
Riel Peerbooms, Executive Director
Click here to learn more about the Mashipacong Bog.