A Legacy in Need

Founded more than a century ago, Trail Blazers' campgrounds are located atop a thickly wooded ridge in the hills of northwestern New Jersey. Every summer the program offers about 350 youths, aged 8 to 18, the opportunity to escape the inner city for the pristine wilderness. Campers' families are charged only what they can afford.

Small groups of campers and counselors live in the smallcamps, where they are called upon to make all equipment--including the canvas-covered shelters but not the sleeping cots--using only wood planks, logs, and rope. A fire pit and some basic, hand-built furniture constitutes a smallcamp kitchen. Kerosene lanterns, not flashlights, light the night sky. The latrine faces away from camp because it has no door. One luxury comes in the form of running water--from a faucet tied to a tree. But the old equipment and shortage of supplies often encountered are aspects of primitive camping that were never intended.

Throughout its history Trail Blazers has relied on gifts from alumni and government funding to meet its expenses, but these sources can no longer meet all the camp's needs. Five years ago cuts in government funding forced Trail Blazers' officials to close part of the facilities, reducing the number of children the camp can serve by half. Every summer camp administrators must turn away childeren because there isn't enough space for them.

If you would like to learn more abnout Trail Blazers, or if you can contribute in any way, write or call: 45 E. 20th St. 9th Floor, New York, NY 10001. Phone: (212) 529-5113. E-mail:tbcny@aol.com. -EF

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