Founded by Princeton University Undergraduates & Alumni

In 1908, a group of Princeton University undergraduates and alumni founded the Princeton Summer Camp. They were determined to make a difference in the lives of disadvantaged inner-city children by offering healthy and character-building camping experiences.

In 1930, the Blairstown Campus, which eventually grew to 264 acres, was purchased and managed by Princeton undergraduates. In 1973, the site was winterized and professional staff began providing experiential education to urban youth. Princeton undergraduates continue to help staff the Center during the summer months and during our Campus Expeditions program to the Princeton University campus. As the needs of our urban youth have evolved, the Princeton-Blairstown Center has expanded programming into urban schools.

The Center has a longstanding and deep commitment to social justice.  Princeton Summer Camp student Director Frank Broderick, Class of 1943, who was also chairman of The Daily Princetonian, waged a tireless war at Princeton University working to mobilize those who advocated for racial integration.  While he was not successful during his undergraduate years, he convinced the faculty advisor of the Princeton Summer Camp to integrate the program during the summer of 1946 when, as a graduate student, he returned as a student Director.  His courageous efforts helped pave the way for the eventual integration of the University.  As a result of his efforts, the Princeton-Blairstown Center established the Frank Broderick Award.

To read more about the unique history of the Princeton-Blairstown Center, follow the following link: The Princeton Summer Camp Story by William K. Selden.

Our Mission

Princeton-Blairstown Center empowers young people, primarily from under-resourced communities, to strengthen their social-emotional skills through experiential, environmental, and adventure-based programming.

Social Emotional Learning (SEL) includes five core competencies: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making.  Acquiring these skills will enable Princeton-Blairstown Center participants to change their communities and the world.

Our Vision

We strive for a future in which young people exhibit personal resilience and compassion, embrace expanded possibilities for their lives and enact positive change within their communities and the world.

To see a copy of our 2017-2019 Strategic Plan, click here.

Our Values

At Princeton-Blairstown, we EMPOWER students.  We believe that powerful experiences in the lives of young people, in a wilderness setting or otherwise away from the patterns and distractions of their everyday physical, emotional, and social environments, can be fundamentally transforming, opening them to their individual potential and to previously unimagined possibilities and capacities.  By offering a safe haven in the wilderness of the Delaware Water Gap in Blairstown, we provide the setting and the facilitators for myriad social, emotional, and physical growth opportunities.

We maintain that effective social-emotional education is best carried out through deep and respectful COLLABORATION and a shared vision and purpose that draws upon the experience, expertise, and wisdom of all involved.  With this in mind, we build relationships with all of our client schools, their administrators, educators, chaperones, parents, and students with a view to a long and productive collaboration.

We hold that connecting deeply with others and the natural environment promotes a deeper sense of responsibility to oneself, to one’s community, and the spaces we occupy.  Therefore, all of our interaction with visitors to Blairstown include a reminder of our deep commitment to SUSTAINABILITY as we strive to live and model energy consciousness and resource conservation. Our goal is to develop a sustainable means of living at our Blairstown Campus which will inspire others to take this philosophy back to their homes, schools, agencies, and communities.  Whether through a STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) curriculum, or simply by exploring the natural world around the Blairstown Campus, all of our visitors are invited and encouraged to grow their understanding and appreciation for the natural world.

We are committed to SOCIAL JUSTICE.  We provide the tools for our participants and facilitators to create a world where all people share a common humanity and therefore have a right to equitable treatment, support for human rights, and a fair allocation of community resources

Recent Awards

  • 2018 - New York Life Foundation Founder’s Award from the National Summer Learning Association

  • 2017 - Community Impact Award from VolunteerConnect

  • 2015 - Harold Breene Youth Education Award from the American Camp Association New York & New Jersey

  • 2014 - Mildred Trotman Community Service Award from the Pete Young Memorial Safe Streets Weekend