Skill building at Greenwood Trails: How 21st century skills grow here each summer

Every year, new innovations change the way we live, work, and experience the world around us. As our children grow up in a world of constant growth and technological advances, it’s more important than ever that they learn skills that will help them adapt to change. In fact, many colleges and employers are now naming soft, adaptable skills like grit, creativity, communication, and collaboration as their top choices for successful leaders.

At Greenwood Trails, we know how important it is to give each child a meaningful summer camp experience. One where they can unplug, make face-to-face connections, and learn skills they wouldn’t normally gain from sitting in a classroom.  Here are a few of the ways we are helping campers gain 21st Century Skills every summer.

Choose Your Own Trail

At the core of our fun summer program is the ability to choose. Every camper is encouraged to make their own choices on what they would like to focus on during the summer, whether that is something in athletics, arts, adventure, or aquatics activities. This helps us instill a deep sense of individuality and personal growth in each camper as they dive into passions that inspire them.

Each camper is given the choice of two weekly majors where they can really learn and grow in something that interests them. Our focused program allows campers to explore their interests in a way that they may not normally have the time for during the school year. This encourages campers to think seriously about their passions and strengths on their own terms while at summer camp.

Building Resilience

Our dynamic program is accentuated by our Trails Program, which gives campers the option to reach specific goals during the summer. This program helps campers actualize their potential and be rewarded for all their hard work at camp. In our technological world, many children are being taught that they should receive immediate satisfaction from every task. Video games, social media, and other forms of technology encourage this behavior even though it does not translate in college or the workplace.

Our Trails Program instead rewards campers for working hard and building up the courage to complete their goals. Within each of our four trails – athletics, adventure, arts, and aquatics – there are a series of benchmarks for campers to achieve. For example, to complete the adventure trail, they need to climb all sides of the climbing tower; build and light a campfire without assistance; and successfully navigate three elements of the low ropes course, among other things. When campers fully complete a trail, they are recognized in front of the entire camp for their hard work.

Becoming Great Communicators

In every career path and goal, we know one thing to be true: communication is key! Communication skills can help children excel in a variety of areas in school and beyond, but researchers are noticing that these skills are being stunted by the very technology that is driving progress in other areas. At camp, children are challenged to unplug and build face-to-face connections with one another. Not only does this foster great friendships, it also helps children overcome feelings of shyness and stage fright. Breaking down these barriers can help children learn how to present ideas and find the confidence to be great leaders and innovators.

Resolving Issues

As our campers possess all types of colorful personalities, it’s normal for disagreements to happen every once and awhile. However, these moments quickly become learning experiences for campers as they use their camp values and communications skills to resolve issues themselves. Our counselors act as great role models and meditators, teaching campers how to find solutions to disagreements and establish respect for one another. This helps us build a rich family community at Greenwood Trails that inspires so many of our new campers to return for many more summers.

No matter what activity your child chooses, all trails lead to an uplifting summer of growth and exploration! The unique experiences at Greenwood Trails help campers stand out among their peers and build their futures in a meaningful way. While they are having the time of their lives, they are also growing into the best versions of themselves every day at Greenwood Trails.

We Hear You!

Parent and Camper Surveys: You Spoke and We Listened!

Over the summer, we ask both parents and campers for feedback about the Greenwood Trails Summer Camp experience. Campers filled out surveys at the end of each session, and parents filled out online surveys and, in some cases, had phone calls with a member of the leadership team. We received an incredible amount of helpful feedback from these surveys and calls.

We take all of your comments very seriously, as we’re dedicated to continuing to improve camp each summer. The leadership team has spent the fall discussing your comments and brainstorming the ways in which we can incorporate them into our programming for this summer. Here are some of the changes and improvements we’ll be making:

New Activities: We have some awesome new activities we’ll be introducing in 2017! These include podcasting, wilderness survival skills and digital photography. We love getting suggestions from campers and parents for new activities you want to see, so keep those suggestions coming!

Majors: We’re conducting an extensive review of all activities to ensure that each one provides campers the opportunity for personal growth and learning new skills, while always maintaining our fun spirit. There will be specific goals and outcomes for each, as well as opportunities for campers to showcase their talents if they so choose.

Swimming Instruction: A number of you said you’d like more swimming instruction for the Lenape campers (ages 8-12). We’re going to be enhancing instruction for Lenape campers, and will also have a time where it’s offered as an option to both Lenape and Delaware campers.

Food: According to our camper surveys, approximately 87% of the campers said they liked the food, 5% said they didn’t, and 8% said they sometimes liked it and sometimes didn’t. That’s a pretty good percentage when we’re serving so many kids with different tastes, however we want to do even better. We’ll be thoroughly evaluating our menu, bringing back all the favorites meals campers know and love, and will also be working with a professional nutrition expert to ensure that each meal is as healthy and balanced as possible. We’ll also be adding more options for vegetarian campers and staff.

Visiting Day: We’ll be keeping Visiting Day fun and relaxed, which is something many parents have mentioned that they particularly enjoy about it. But we will be adding a few details to highlight what some of your campers have been up to all summer, and to make sure parents have the opportunity to meet all their child’s counselors. In addition, we’ll have optional activities planned for children whose parents are unable to attend visiting day.

Thanks to all of you who took the time to fill out the surveys and participate in the end-of-summer phone calls. Your feedback is truly valuable and it only helps us to improve the camp experience for everyone. As always, if there’s ever anything you want to discuss, please reach out to Owen ([email protected]) or Kate ([email protected]).

2017 Reunion Was a Hit

Camp friends make even the coldest of winters so much warmer. Over 70 Greenwood Trails campers attended our reunion on February 4th.  We are so thankful to have a chance to catch up with our campers during our off season.   If you attended our reunion, please complete our survey to help us make it even more awesome next year!


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Choosing Greenwood Trails part 2

Why should you choose Greenwood Trails over another camp? We’ve got another answer for you in our blog series “Choosing Greenwood Trails.”

We want to make sure that our campers are able to control their lives at camp so we have created an autonomous environment at Greenwood Trails. Our motto is “Choose Your Own Trail,” which can be interpreted in a couple of different ways:

  • Our camp is choice based, which means that campers get to participate in activities that they choose.  Our younger campers will have a couple of activities scheduled for them during the day to ensure they bond with their cabinmates.  BUT even younger campers will have four activities a day that they choose. Our older campers will have 6 periods a day to choose.
  • Campers can be who they want to be at Greenwood Trails.  Choosing their own trail could mean that campers can choose to take risks that aren’t available in a school environment.  Because we encourage our campers to be their best selves, campers gain confidence to be the people they want to be… and that’s a powerful experience!

When campers get to choose who they are and what they want to do, we get to see kids breaking social barriers, being braver than they’ve ever been, and excelling in activities that they really enjoy.

You’re Invited to Our Reunion!

We miss you so much and we can’t wait for the summer to see all of you again.

That’s why you’re invited to our reunion!


When? Saturday, February 4, 2017 from 2pm-4pm
Where? Dave & Buster’s, 881 Pelham Parkway, Pelham, New York
Details: GWT has reserved a private room for catching up, eating snacks, and remembering amazing times with our GWT friends. Power cards will be provided to all 2016 campers for even more fun!

AND- FINGERS CROSSED!  You might also get to meet the NEW GWT puppy!!
RSVP by January 10 here: RSVP Sign Up

Campers are Venturing Off Camp Next Season!

We’re Bringing Back D Session in 2017!

Our special one-week D session is happening again this year, and it’s going to be better than ever! Campers who are attending D session in addition to another session in 2017 will be going on two fun trips during changeover weekend (August 5-6). After saying goodbye to their C session friends, campers attending D session will be hopping on the bus to Lake Compounce Amusement and Waterpark in Bristol, Connecticut!

Here are the details:

  • Campers will depart at 11am on Saturday and will arrive back to camp after dinner.
  • Park admission, transportation, lunch and dinner are included in the D session tuition.
  • If you’d like your camper to have spending money, you will be able to arrange that through camper bank.
  • Campers will be in groups and accompanied throughout the park by a counselor.
  • In case of inclement weather, we will reschedule for Sunday, August 6th, or go on a rainy day alternative trip.
  • Visiting Day between C & D sessions is optional and will be available on Sunday so that our campers don’t miss out on our Lake Compounce fun! We will not have any formal visiting day activities or lunch on site but parents are welcome to take their children off camp from 10am-3pm. For those who are not participating in visiting day, campers will be traveling to the Shoppes at Farmington Valley or another local trip. Transportation will be included. Campers can choose to bring a bagged lunch which we’ll provide, or bring spending money to eat at the Shoppes.

We can’t wait for this experience!  Sign up today!


We Are The Coolest!!

How cool are we?  We are SO cool, we were just announced the WINNER of Red Tricycle’s 2016 Totally Awesome Awards in the “Coolest Camp in NYC” category!

Red Tricycle first noticed Greenwood Trails this past winter when we began training Neutron, our Guiding Eyes puppy in training.  Read their article about us here!

We could not have won the “Coolest Camp” title without the coolest campers and families around.  Thank you so much for your support and love!  We can’t wait to be even cooler in 2017!




Neutron’s Turning 1!

Our Guiding Eyes for the Blind puppy Neutron is coming to New York City on Sunday, October 23rd to celebrate his birthday and he’s hoping you can join him!


We’ll be celebrating and singing the Greenwood Trails “Happy Birthday Song” to Neutron from 3-4pm at 16 Handles on 325 Amsterdam Ave between 75th and 76th!. Since he will soon be moving onto his next step in Guiding Eyes for the Blind training, we’d like to make sure that he and his pals have everything they need in order to enjoy their stay. That’s why we’re also donating toys and gift cards to Guiding Eyes in Neutron’s honor!


If kids bring a donation to his birthday celebration, they’ll get a free ice cream on us!

If you can’t join us but would still like to donate, you can either mail a donation to us or we’ll have three drop off locations:  Greenwood Trails (390 Winchester Road, Winsted, CT), Merrick Woods (1075 Merrick Avenue, Merrick, NY) and Guiding Eyes’ facility (611 Granite Springs Road, Yorktown Heights, NY).

Because these puppies are very special, Guiding Eyes asks for specific donations.  Their wish list can be found here:  Guiding Eyes Amazon Wish List but other items of similar quality are also accepted.

We can’t wait to see you! RSVP here!