Leadership Trainees Give Back: TEC Turkey Trot 2020

Through our TEC Cares program, we strive to instill the value of giving back to the community in every camper. Our annual Sports-A-Thon is just one way members of our camp community dedicate their time and resources to help others. Hosted by our Leadership Trainees (LTs), the Sports-A-Thon is an 8-hour event where our 8th through 11th grade campers participate in sports and team activities to raise money for a variety of amazing charities. 

Unfortunately, our 2020 LTs missed the chance to lead our campers through this special event. This is why we were thrilled and proud when two of our 2020 Leadership Trainees, Jack Feinberg and Layla Schechner, reached out in September to explore opportunities for our LTs to reclaim this important leadership and charitable experience. 

Jack and Layla proposed organizing Trail’s End’s first ever virtual Turkey Trot with the help of their fellow LTs. Not content to miss out on such an important aspect of their LT summer, they developed an event that ultimately made a big impact on two worthy charities. 

Leadership Trainee campers meet at New York City's Central Park to kick-off the Turkey Trot.

Marc, Rona, Sara and Kylie meet with some 2020 Leadership Trainees in Central Park to kick-off the 2020 TEC Turkey Trot.

Giving back to two great causes!

After discussing which causes the Turkey Trot would support, the Leadership Trainees decided on two charities: Sunrise Day Camp and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

Sunrise Day Camp, a charity the TEC Cares program regularly supports, provides children struggling with cancer and their siblings with a fun, carefree summer camp experience. Sunrise board member Jimmy Berg describes these camps as “a bright light in the lives of those desperately in need of sunshine and laughter.” How inspiring it is to see our campers give the gift of camp to those who need it most!

Layla Schechner explained the decision to also support the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention by saying “the LTs as a whole believe that mental health and suicide prevention are very relevant to what is going on in the world right now.” The AFSP supports survivors of suicide loss, educates the public about mental health and suicide prevention, and funds relevant scientific research, all to reach the ultimate goal of understanding and preventing suicide. 

Our 2020 Leadership Trainees mobilized to spread the word about this virtual TEC Turkey Trot, motivated by their desire to make a difference. From creating t-shirts, kindly donated by the Feinberg family, to bringing their friends, family, alumni and staff into the fold, all of us at Trail’s End were proud to see our LTs work so diligently to give back. 

Trail's End Turkey Trot participants wear their Turkey Trot shirts.

It’s time to trot!

Sunday, November 22nd marked the date of the inaugural Trail’s End Turkey Trot. As soon as the sun rose that morning, pictures and social media posts of people taking to the streets and their treadmills to support our Leadership Trainees came rolling in. From campers, to staff, to alumni, we watched as our TEC family walked and ran for a great cause. 

In the days leading up to the Turkey Trot, our fundraising goal was set at $10,000. Amazingly, by the end of the donation period our Leadership Trainees managed to surpass that goal and raise $13,130. That money will go on to do great things at Sunrise Day Camps and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

While we’re always proud when our Leadership Trainees take time out of their summer to give back, watching as the 2020 Leadership Trainees turned the loss of their LT summer into something that will help countless people is particularly inspiring. We thank our 2020 Leadership Trainees for showing true leadership and compassion in such a challenging year. We also thank every person who participated in our Turkey Trot and helped our LTs exceed their goals. We’re always touched by the kindness and generosity of our extended Trail’s End family. 

Winter Reunions 2019: Reuniting with Old Friends, Making New Ones, and Giving Back!

Everyone in the Trail’s End family lives 10 for 2, and there’s one thing that makes those 10 months we’re not in our summer home go by even faster – camp reunions! This past weekend, we hosted three get-togethers, and we all had an amazing time reuniting with old friends and meeting new ones we’ll be spending the next summer with.

Meeting friends, old and new!

On Saturday, we welcomed our current 5th and 7th graders to Bounce Trampoline Sports in Syosset. Catching up with camp friends is always great, but it’s even better when it’s done while bouncing on trampolines, climbing rock walls, and exploring a high ropes course – it’s almost like being back at Outdoor Adventure

On Sunday, we welcomed our youngest campers (those currently in 1st through 4th grades) to AMF Syosset Lanes for a bowling party. It was the perfect opportunity to meet up with camp friends both new and old!  We loved seeing old friends come together and watch new friendships form over bowling and ice breakers. The winter reunion is just one step in our transition program for new campers, in which introductions are made and friendships begin to form. These introductions encourage their success during their first summer at Trail’s End Camp.

Raffle time!

Of course, no Trail’s End Camp winter get-together would be complete without some raffles! All campers got a chance to win some exciting prizes, from TEC swag to help them show off their camp spirit year round, to #TEC2020 prizes such as ice cream sundae or pizza parties for their bunk, breakfast and boating down at the lake, or the opportunity to have their Group Leader clean their bunk! 

It’s not a reunion without some of our TEC staff family!

Not only did our campers get a chance to reunite with one another – they also got to meet up with some of their favorite Trail’s End staff members! We had members of our non-bunk staff team join us for the reunions, and we couldn’t be more grateful. It wouldn’t be a true Trail’s End Camp reunion without them! 

Giving back this holiday season!

This year we started an exciting new Trail’s End tradition! As part of TEC Cares, we encouraged our Trail’s End families to bring a new toy to the reunion for our first ever toy drive. These toys were collected and given to the John Theissen Children’s Foundation, which collects thousands of items each year and donates them to sick and underprivileged children in over 180 hospitals and childcare facilities. We collected over 100 brand new toys during our three get-togethers, and we’re so grateful to all the families that helped us give back to the local community! 

Now we’re looking forward to the Florida reunion this February, and we’re constantly counting down the days until summer is finally here again! 

 

“I honestly cannot put into words how special camp is.”

One of the things we pride ourselves on is our ability to create a true family at Trail’s End.  We tell our campers and staff that “you are never just passing through.” Whether you are a lifer who started as a Buddy or Ranger, or you spent a single summer at TEC as a counselor, when you enter our gates you are forever part of the Trail’s End family.

Meet Lindsay Darrow.

She came to camp in 2008 as an Upper Buddy and never left, returning summer after summer and ultimately completing her camper years as a Leadership Trainee in 2015. We were then fortunate enough to have Lindsay work for two summers as a Trail’s End counselor.

Lindsay had to make the challenging decision not return to TEC this upcoming summer to pursue other opportunities. When she realized she would not be able to spend the summer in Beach Lake, PA, Lindsay sent us a message reflecting on the TEC experience and how her summers at Trail’s End Camp have deeply impacted her life.  

She was kind enough to let us share her thoughts with you.

“The girls that I worked with and camp have taught me so many things and so many life lessons and I will always be grateful for the impact Trail’s End has on me. I honestly cannot put into words how special camp is – I’m sure you’ve heard that a million times before. It’s given me my best friends, my bridesmaids, my fake little sisters and memories that I will remember forever. I hope one day I can return to camp because every day I think about 18405.

Trail’s End will always hold a special place in my heart because it is a part of who I am. Little did I know in 2008 when I hopped off the Livingston 1 bus as an Upper Buddy how lucky I was to be able to call Trail’s End my home and how much this place would mean to me. Thank you for introducing me to Emily Wexler and Sydney Kayne in 2008, Jess Ehrlich in 2009, Samantha Kramer in 2010, Faye Sheffield in 2012 and Molly Shapiro in 2018. All of these people and more have come into my life and will forever be my lifelong friends because of Trail’s End.

Not only have the people I met impacted me, but the place has as well. There is something magical in the air that makes everyone happy, be their true self, and never feel judged. I have never been so comfortable around complete strangers in my entire life and Trail’s End has taught me to be myself and to embrace my weird, fun, silly side but also my serious, “normal” side. There are no words to describe how thankful I am for this special place in Beach Lake, Pennsylvania.

Trail’s End has not only impacted my life but my family’s. You have given my sister her best friends and a place that she can be herself also. I have never seen her smile as much ever in my entire life than I do at camp. I remember her first Visiting Day when you guys had to pull her off the tree sideways because she wouldn’t let go of my parents. I also remember having to do that same thing to her in 2017 when she was an LT. Trail’s End is the place she feels the most comfortable and is the happiest I have ever seen her. My parents always tell us when we got off that camp bus we had that Trail’s End smile, the smile that was pure, genuine, and full of happiness. I hope that every camper and counselor realize how lucky they are to be a part of something bigger than themselves and a part of our secret club because it is not common that people have something this special to them.

Once again, thank you for everything that you and Trail’s End have done for me, my sister and my parents. I wouldn’t be the person I am today and I really truly am forever grateful for finding a place that is more than just a summer camp, but an experience of a lifetime.

I’ll see you soon!

Lindsay Darrow”


Thank you to Lindsay for reaching out to share how much Trail’s End Camp means to her (and the many others that have spent a summer or more in Beach Lake – 18405).

If there is anything you would like to share about your time at Trail’s End Camp, send an email to marc@trailsendcamp.com. We love hearing from our campers and staff, both old and new!

 

Best Job Ever: 5 Reasons Why You Should Work at Trail’s End Camp!

At Trail’s End Camp we like to say “you’re better for having been at TEC”, and that adage doesn’t just apply to our campers! We strive to ensure our staff family is happy and thriving throughout the summer and beyond.

Now, if you’ve never been a camper or worked at a summer camp before you may be asking – Why should I work at Trail’s End? What makes the TEC Experience different from other camps?  We asked your questions to our TEC staff family who couldn’t wait to tell you why they love working at Trail’s End. Here are some of their answers!

You’ll be part of traditions that began in 1947!

Even as we prep for our 72nd camp session, we still hold on to traditions from Trail’s End’s first summers.  From Sing, to Olympics, to the creation of bunk plaques, and more – Trail’s End Camp wouldn’t be the same without these special traditions.

Trail's End Camp counselor takes part in Olympic Tug-o-war

When you enter the gates of Trail’s End, you’re immediately part of a long history. When you take part in the Opening and Closing Campfires, run the bases on College Day, or cheer for your campers as they sing on stage during the 4th of July show, you quickly see how you’re now part of the fabric of Trail’s End Camp. It’s an amazing feeling to be part of something so special!

You’ll make lifelong friends with people from all over the world!

Mycha Owens, basketball specialist, put it best when she told us about her experience coming to Trail’s End Camp for the first time:

“From the time I stepped into the Newark Airport, I knew I was about to experience the most crazy summer of my life. TEC does an amazing job at hiring employees, how do I know this? Because of the bonds I formed with other staff in the airport. From the moment I stepped off that plane, before we even got to camp, it was like we were family.”

Trail's End Camp Lifeguards

You may enter your first summer not knowing anyone, but after Staff Education Week you will have developed friendships that last a lifetime.  Just take a look at all the #TECreunions we post on social media. You’ll find pictures of TEC staff visiting each other, going on vacation together, and in some instances, even getting married! You never know who you’ll meet while working at Trail’s End Camp!

Once you start working at Trail’s End Camp, you become a part of the TEC family. James Gardin, our Rock Band Director, told us:

My favorite parts of working at TEC are getting to come back home catch up with my summer family and picking up right where we left off from the previous summer.”

You’ll make a positive impact on a group of campers!

Of course, what would working at  camp be without the campers?! As soon as your campers step off the bus, you start to build a special bond. You’ll surprise yourself when just after one week of knowing your campers you’ll be enthusiastically cheering them on as they perform in a talent show, or taking pride in the new skills you taught them at their favorite sport. There’s no feeling quite as great as knowing you’ve made an impact on a camper’s life. James Mayden, Flag Football Director, touched on this when we asked about the best part of his summer:

“My favorite part about camp is being able to give back to something bigger than myself. I was able to positively affect the kids by spreading my knowledge of football and my love for music and dancing.”

You are better for having been at TEC!

Yes, you’ll improve the life of the campers you work with, but you will experience some self improvement of your own. Working at a summer camp helps you develop vital skills that will help you throughout your life, such as leadership, teamwork, and communication. Maybe this is why more and more people are championing camp jobs over traditional summer internships, or why businesses see the benefit in hiring a former camp counselor!

You’ll have fun!

We can tell you all the ways working at a TEC will benefit you as a person and allow you to become part of a camp family that stems all the way back from 1947, but there’s one important thing we can’t forget — working at Trail’s End Camp is tons of fun!

A day at TEC can involve playing sports, dressing up in wild outfits to perform in a lip sync competition with your co-counselors, taking part in a giant food fight, doing your craziest dance moves in the dining hall, and laughing till your stomach hurts. How many other summer jobs can boast all of that?!


After all of that, we know what you’re going to ask next!

How do I join the Trail’s End Camp staff family?

If you’re interested in working with us this summer, check out our staff page on the TEC website for more information and to apply! Also check out our Staff Experience video. If you have any questions, feel free to email us at: sara@trailsendcamp.com

Trail’s End Camp Reunions: Celebrating camp friendships all year long

While camp lasts only 51 days, the bonds we make at Trail’s End extend well beyond the day the buses depart. Throughout the off-season, we love seeing and hearing about all your TEC get-togethers.  

As 2018 comes to an end, we feel very grateful for all of the wonderful Trail’s End memories and friendships that we made this year. This past weekend, campers came together to reunite with old friends and to start to form bonds with those new campers that will be experiencing TEC for the first time next summer.Boys hanging out at a Trail's End Camp Reunion

On Saturday, our 2019 Debs, Kadets and Lowers reunited at Bounce Trampoline Sports. From the moment they arrived, it was as if we were back in 18405 with lots of smiles and laughter all around us.   

The youngest TEC campers met up on Sunday for bowling, pizza, and group games – the boys started off the day and the girls followed in the afternoon. The bowling party is one of our transition events which allow new campers to get comfortable and start to develop friendships that will help them to succeed next summer.  For our returning campers, we are amazed how welcoming they are as they help the first-time campers become a part of the TEC family. We also want to thank our staff who play such a large role in facilitating the ice breakers and helping to make the connections of new and returning campers.Girls hanging out at Trail's End Camp Reunion

Of course, there’s no better way to end a Trail’s End reunion than with a few raffles! Some lucky campers went home with brand new TEC swag, while others won great prizes for their bunk.  Winning bunks will be enjoying pizza and ice cream parties, counselor clean-ups, and late wake-ups with breakfast in bed.

Please mark your calendar for the next get-together in Florida on Sunday, February 17th. We will also have the Varsity Reunion for our oldest campers in NYC on Saturday, February 3rd. Invites for both events will be sent by email next week.

Wishing everyone a happy, healthy, and peaceful New Year.

Only 27 Saturdays until Opening Campfire!