Trail Blazers Camps
Trail Blazers; building values for life. Established in 1887, Trail Blazers is the oldest camp of it's kind and helps children to unplug and connect with the outdoors.
Trail Blazers offers overnight programs at their 1000 acre estate in Northern NJ, where campers enjoy a wide range of activities, including archery, boating, swimming, gardening, a ropes course, and more!
Or check out Trail Blazer's day camp which offers convenient locations in Prospect Park (Park Slope, Windsor Terrace, PLG, and Crown Heights) and Brooklyn Bridge Park (Brooklyn Heights)!
At day camp, campers get to enjoy their summer outdoors exploring our beautiful Brooklyn Parks. Campers will take trips throughout the city and to visit our overnight site for even more outdoor fun.
Trail Blazers is an SEL program that empowers campers to have a voice & a choice. They believe in the importance of play & teach campers how to work through everyday challenges to build important life skills.
Review from the 2023 Summer Camp SurveyLocation: Prospect Park: Prospect Heights/Crown Heights location How old was your child when they attended camp this summer? 4 Review: My four-year-old had such a wonderful experience this summer at Trail Blazers, where she spent seven weeks. My husband and I both attended camps growing up and cherished that time outdoors: soaking up nature and getting dirty, playing silly camp games, walking and running a LOT, and generally being unstructured and carefree. Trail Blazers provided exactly that experience for our kiddo. Her group met at the same tree in Mt. Prospect Park every morning and played games (e.g., red-light-green-light). Then they would all walk, carrying the excellent REI backpacks that Trail Blazers provides for each camper, a decent distance -- often to the Picnic House, for instance. I don't know exactly how they spent all their time, but get the sense that they were often "building bird houses" out of sticks or otherwise doing inventive things with natural objects, singing songs, playing on the playgrounds, doing arts & crafts, etc. On rainy days, they would take shelter in one of the tunnels or in the Picnic House and have dance parties. She came home every day sweaty and filthy and tired and happy. They also did field trips once a week -- to Shirley Chisholm State Park, the Museum of Natural History, a beekeeping garden in Sunset Park, the Botanic Gardens, etc. She loved those too. They went to the splash pad once a week. And the camp fairly regularly brought in surprise activities, like a talking parrot that they kids could touch. Of course it varies by kid, and certainly our daughter has always loved nature (and Prospect Park in particular) which I'm sure helped her acclimate, but we were thrilled at how quickly she took to Trail Blazers and how much she loved the counselors. She keeps asking us to take her back to Mt. Prospect Park so she can visit "my camp tree." We plan to send her back next summer too. What would you change about the program, if anything, and why? I wish they had done a weekly field trip to one of the NYC swimming pools. They went to the splash pad once a week, and the kids played in the playground sprinklers, but it would have been really nice if they had had some real water time during such a hot summer.
Review from the 2023 Summer Camp SurveyLocation: Brooklyn Bridge Park How old was your child when they attended camp this summer? 4.5 Review: My child loved Trail Blazers. Days are almost entirely outside. The camp counselors were super energetic and engaging. There was a really nice mix of different activities daily, but all centered around being outside and engaging with the world around us. My child, especially loved the field trips (to the urban farm in lower Manhattan for example) and the fact that each week has a theme ( for example survival skills, or the Brooklyn bridge). I saw a big improvement in my child’s self-confidence and critical thinking skills about the world around him. One of the best things about Trail Blazers is that their mission includes providing scholarships and sliding scale tuition, so kids from all economic backgrounds can participate. A rarity in children’s activities in my part (dumbo) of Brooklyn. What would you change about the program, if anything, and why? Nothing we loved it.
Review from the 2023 Summer Camp SurveyLocation: Park Slope How old was your child when they attended camp this summer? 7 Review: Loved the outdoor time. Learned things about the outdoors. Great staff. Inexpensive for extended day.
Where are you sending your 7-10 year olds for camp this summer?Trail Blazers is great! I guess it depends on the counselors you get, but my kid’s gone for the last few summers and I’ve never heard about them watching screens or playing board games — just lots of getting dirty, singing songs, learning about cooperation, etc. It’s pretty unstructured, which I think is great — just lots (and lots!) of being outside. It’s a nice counterbalance to all the programming, imo!
Experiences with Trailblazers?My kid did Trailblazers at 7. She was one of the oldest at that age. The physical activity was not too much for her even though she is not very sporty. She enjoyed it but didn’t ask to go back.
Experiences with Trailblazers?We had a similar mixed experience particularly with administrator communications. But, my kid also did like it -- she's easy going but she had a ton of fun in the end. I feel like it was more irritating for us as parents but she had a lot of fun.
Experiences with Trailblazers?Our twins did it last summer. They are turning 5 in February. They generally love being outside and preschool spent a lot of time outside on account of the pandemic the last 3 years. Maybe we just got unlucky, but I wouldn't recommend it. The main challenge is that it was extremely hot and after an entire day of being outside, they were exhausted. The kids really get into the dirt, so between the long hot days and the long bath that was necessary daily, it was overwhelming for them. Meltdown city. We were in backwoodies, so most of the kids were 4-6. The counselors are a mixed bag. They didn't seem that experienced and some were particularly poor communicators. The site supervisor was impossible to reach, which made it challenging to resolve issues.
Review from the Fall 2022 After School SurveyLocation: PS 9 How old was your child during the Fall 2022 semester? 4 What kind of program is it? play Review: Lots of games directed by staff, some time for free play and some limited time outside on the playground of the school. Did not take kids to local playgrounds as promised, and do not take kids to play in the school garden, despite marketing themselves as an outdoorsy program.
Review from the 2022 Summer Camp SurveyLocation: Brooklyn Bridge Park How old was your child when they attended camp this summer? 4 Review: All outdoor camp with great camp leaders. My son loved the different themes (water, garden etc) and that it was close to nature & had lots of unstructured time. What would you change about the program, if anything, and why? The Remind app didn't always work, but that's not their fault. Would you like to add anything related to COVID and how the camp handled it? It was all outside so COVID was not a big concern.
Review from the 2022 Summer Camp SurveyLocation: Windsor Terrace How old was your child when they attended camp this summer? 5 Review: Loved this experience!! My son developed such pride in becoming an expert on Prospect Park! Spending all day outside was awesome. He came home muddy and happy every day! What would you change about the program, if anything, and why? More flexibility with seeking out sprinklers on super hot days.
Review from the 2022 Summer Camp SurveyLocation: Park Slope How old was your child when they attended camp this summer? 4 Review: (Review is for 9th St location, Lafayette Memorial) Trail Blazers, for this age (4-5), is full days 9 to 3 outdoors in the park. The kids walk all over the park a lot, wearing small camp-supplied backpacks. They play in nature a lot and get very dirty. Our kid slept great after these long full days. Yet in the end, she felt mixed about going to Trail Blazers, and was more glad than sad when it was over. Some days I got clues that the program was good and fun and engaging for her, but other days she seemed under-stimulated and bored. I'd ask about her day, and she would complain about walking in the heat, sitting around in the grass, and waiting for it to be 3 o'clock. The counselors seemed like a mix of upbeat/engaged and downbeat/glum/not into it. The program has some good stuff in it -- a weekly field trip, and "Splash Pad Fridays" -- but I got the overall impression that my kid's days were more like a mix of summer-camp and mediocre kid-sitting. In August we left Trail Blazers and did a different day camp, and there was a much more positive energy in that other camp, and she was so much more enthusiastic about her days there.
Outdoor full day camps for 5 year old for this summerWe’ve loved Trailblazers in Prospect Park— it’s ALL outdoors, and a great, diverse group of campers and counselors.
Outdoor full day camps for 5 year old for this summerMy 5 year old went to Trailblazers last year and loved it (except for that ridiculously hot period early in the summer). It's less child-led than Brooklyn Nature Days (which I looked at but never used) but there is some unstructured play time, and plenty of nature-based activities. They also run a sleepaway camp in New Jersey, and my impression of Trailblazers in Prospect Park is that they adapted sleepaway camp to the day camp structure.
BIPOC summer camp?Trailblazers! Highly recommend -- my kids had a great time last year.
Review from the 2021 Summer Camp SurveyName of camp: Trailblazers Location: Prospect Park - 9th St drop off How old was your child when they attended camp this summer? 5 Review: Trailblazers Camp was extremely disappointing for both me and my child. They had under-trained, under-qualified (although perfectly nice) staff who didn't know anything about nature nor how to engage with children of this age group. My daughter had a terrible time and could not tell me a single thing they did all day. They did not interact with nature or learn anything or even do any crafts other than drawing with markers on paper. She was supposed to attend for 3 weeks but we only got through 2 and I withdrew her. They were understanding and gave me my money back for the week but I was still angry about the 2 horrible weeks she had. It makes me so angry to think about!!! What would you change about the program, if anything, and why? If they could only live up to the things they advertise, it would be wonderful. I'm pretty sure they just sat around with the kids in the park all day. Would you like to add anything related to COVID and how the camp handled it? Apparently they had trouble staffing because of COVID.
Review from the 2021 Summer Camp SurveyName of camp: Trail Blazers/Brooklyn Bridge Park Location: Brooklyn Bridge Park How old was your child when they attended camp this summer? 7-1/2 Review: My daughter loved the Trailblazer camp, Brooklyn bridge Park location. She loved as she put it that that all her camp counselors were brown and black. She loved the ecological activities and games they played and enjoyed the ferry trip into Manhattan. All and all she was very disappointed when her camp days ended. I will definitely be signing her up for a longer time next summer. What would you change about the program, if anything, and why? I have no complaints. The administrative staff is very responsive to concerns and questions. The counselors are friendly and engaging with the children. There is fast communication on remind app for any immediate information. And they are Covid protocol careful. Would you like to add anything related to COVID and how the camp handled it? Neither my daughter or I had any difficulties with the camp.
Review from the 2020 Summer Camp SurveyAge of child: Two kids, boy 5 yo and girl 6 yo Comment: Trailblazers did a seriously amazing job this summer!! Both my kids (boy - 5 yo, girl - 6 yo) absolutely loved it and they got so much exercise. It was entirely contained in the park and had very good but reasonable and age-appropriate safety precautions in place. The counselors were great. Due to the small group nature of the camp and consistent grouping from week to week the kids really bonded with each other and their counselors. There was frequent communication from the camp through the remind app. It was just very well run. They really did a wonderful job modifying their usual program to work for this particular summer. Highly recommend! What would you change about the program, if anything, and why? Would have been nice to have drop off locations at different points around the park as drop-off/pick-up was quite a far walk for us but obviously this summer was an unusual situation.
Review from the 2020 Summer Camp SurveyAge of child: 6 Comment: Wonderful, very active and a great experience. They were in prospect park all day and learned a lot about nature. Anything related to COVID and how the camp handled it you'd like to add? They handled it extremely well, temperature checks, masks, etc.
Review from the 2020 Summer Camp SurveyAge of child: 4 Comment: This was a perfect camp for a pandemic summer: it was 100% outside and my son truly bonded with his counselors and fellow kids. He came home exhausted and happy. What would you change about the program, if anything, and why? It would be nice it went past 3pm, but it is understandable since they are outside the entire time. Anything related to COVID and how the camp handled it you'd like to add? I felt like I could truly trust the counselors and fellow parents to be forthright about their risks and precautions. The fact that the program was 100% outside was wonderful.
Review from the 2020 Summer Camp SurveyAge of child: 5 Comment: I cannot say enough positive things about Trailblazers! It is a camp run entirely outdoors in Prospect Park (rain or shine). The kids learn about science, environmental conservation, self-care, and community building. My son is shy and has trouble with new experiences, so I wasn't sure how the summer would go. We enrolled him for 6 weeks, and he loved every day! The staff were exceptional, the content was exceptional, and the whole experience was great. They build a very inclusive environment and meet kids where they are at developmentally. My son came out of the experience more confident and more aware of how to care for himself, others, and the environment. The staff was also great with parent communication. What would you change about the program, if anything, and why? I can't think of anything I would change. Anything related to COVID and how the camp handled it you'd like to add? They were great about safety. It's an outdoor camp, so that made it easier. The kids were kept in separate pods of 8 kids the whole summer with the same teachers. They did health screenings every day and followed other safety precautions, such as masks, cleaning, etc. I felt they took it very seriously.
Speaking of Sleep-Away Camps...Whowent?Why?andWill...I know that Trailblazers is both ethnically and socioeconomically diverse
2018 Summer Camp ReviewsSummer 2018 Review: We were very disappointed in Trail Blazers. It is billed as an outdoor exploration camp where kids get to explore prospect park through interaction with nature. Instead my son came home almost in tears on day 1, and described an experience of glorified babysitting. The staff was unenthusiastic and apathetic and seemed like their job was a punishment. The activities were bland and mostly consisted of marching on the paved roads chanting camp songs. This camp totally missed an opportunity for intrepid exploration, outdoor education, and gleeful dirt digging. I am not the only parent who felt this way and I would highly recommend against signing up for this camp. Age of child: 6
Review from the 2017 PSP Summer Camp SurveyGreat camp! Outdoors all day even in the rain. They also went on a field trip and swimming each week. My son loved visiting their overnight camp in New Jersey for a day. Staff is fantastic and my son talks about them incessantly. Also they have lots of options for drop off, pick up and bus shuttles. If you could change anything, what would it be? Nothing Age of child: 5 Based on a Summer 2017 experience
Review from the 2017 PSP Summer Camp SurveyThey spent the entire summer running around Prospect Park, with enthusiastic counselors, getting filthy and being outside. Trips to Trailblazer's camp in NJ woodlands every 2 weeks got them out of the City (though it's a long bus ride!). A reasonably affordable option, with multiple dropoff/pickup location options, and flexible aftercare. If you could change anything, what would it be? Administration isn't as tight as I've seen for some other camps, but the tradeoff is that the camp structure is more flexible and (for my kids) fun as compared with the more rigid camps they've attended. Though they still didn't love the weekly visit to the pool, for which staff (quite reasonably) erred on the side of safety caution, which strong swimmers viewed as overly restrictive. Age of child: 9 and 6 Based on a Summer 2017 experience
Review from the 2017 PSP Summer Camp SurveyReview: My son liked that the camp was relatively unstructured. The kids had lots of time to play and just be kids, rather than "improving" themselves in some way. He also loved the day trips out to the overnight camp that is also run by Trailblazers. On those trips they got to swim in the lake, make smores etc. The city trips were also popular (climbing gym, Governor's Island), as were the weekly trips to Sunset Park pool for swimming lessons. He was not a keen swimmer but the instructors were really good and now he likes going to the pool. He was usually exhausted at the end of the day because they are outside all day in the heat and do a LOT of walking. If you could change anything, what would it be? I wish the day went a bit longer or that the aftercare did not happen so far from the rest of the camp (after care is on Rogers Ave in Prospect Lefferts Garden, and the camp's "home base" in Prospect Park is the Carousel). Getting to the aftercare location was enough of a hassle that we never used aftercare, which made for short work days for me (working in the evening to catch up). Age of child: 6 Based on a Summer 2017 experience
[ANONYMOUS] Affordable local summer daycamps?I second Trailblazers. Sliding scale, although I think the lowest cost tiers are probably filled by now. But even the highest tier is less than $500/week. My four year old had a wonderful summer last year and will be returning this summer.
[ANONYMOUS] Affordable local summer daycamps?I know of two reasonable (and great!) summer camps in NYC: Trailblazers operates on a sliding income scale: http://trailblazers.org/plg/
[ANONYMOUS] Affordable local summer daycamps?My grandson is going to trailblazers. Check it out.
Summer Camp Survey 2016Age of child: 5.5 Review: Awesome, love it, so much fun What would you change about the program, if anything? Nothing!
Summer Camp Survey 2016Age of child: 4 Review: This camp meets in the children's corner of Prospect Park and spends most days —except for field trip days— in the park itself. Kids were grouped according to age and the counselor/camper ratio seemed great (about 1:4). The counselors, who came from both Brooklyn and many countries, were kind and very engaged with the kids, as was the camp director. Their days seemed filled with pretty intense play. Every day when I picked up my four-year-old she was covered in dirt, and quite happy about it. Each week has a different theme. There's also swimming every week and a daylong field trip to the Trail Blazers camp in NJ every couple of weeks, I believe. I also like that they have a pay scale to make camp affordable to familie
Review from 2013 Summer Camp ExperienceProgram: Brooklyn and Delaware Water Gap, NJ Age of Child: 10 Likes: rock climbing! What would you change? more days of climbing (they got rained out one day). Would you send your child(ren) again? Yes Do you recommend? Highly recommend Do you have any other information to add? this was my son's first sleep away experience, and he really had a good time. He was gone from Monday - Saturday. The first day was spent at Brooklyn Boulders, learning climbing basics. The campers left from there with their (2) counselors, and spent the rest of the week at Trailblazers camp. For two of those days, they left the camp, went rock climbing and slept in tents on the ground (instead of the raised wood floor tents back at base camp). The camp also had swimming, canoeing, archery, and bicycling.