Camping to Connect is an experiential learning and mentorship initiative for underserved young men from New York’s inner-city communities.
Created in 2018 by Mastermind Connect, a membership-based resource group for progressive men, we use outdoor-based recreation to instill self-reliance, healthy lifestyle choices, leadership, introspection and brotherhood.
Immersed in nature, we help connect young men more deeply to their friends, their lives, and themselves. Through breakout sessions with peers and adult mentors, we offer them a space to be transparent, honest, and vulnerable, as well as a new perspective on what it means to be a man. Along the way, our program teaches basic outdoor skills, such as setting up a remote campsite, trail route finding, wilderness cooking, and leave-no trace-principles.
The results are big. Past participants have described their Camping to Connect experience as life-changing.
“I feel like being around nature my mind is more at peace.” — Ryan V., Camping to Connect 2018 participant.
We aim to grow Camping to Connect into a broad movement that addresses the issue of "nature deficiency " faced by urban youth, with multiple events held throughout the year that will affect the lives of promising young men of color.
After our official launch during Summer 2018, at Governors Island, we're taking young men to experience more challenging terrains and activities in remote sites in Upstate, NY and the Delaware Water Gap, New Jersey.
There are many costs associated with producing this unique experience, including, but not limited to: camping equipment; food and beverage; emergency medical services; insurance, operating expenses and transportation.
Camping to Connect relies entirely on voluntary contributions. Donations come from corporations and individuals. Every dollar counts.
Please help us provide this unforgettable experience with your donation today.
$50 could provide for a full weekend worth of food for two participants.
$100 could provide for basic camping and hiking gear for two participants.
$200 could provide for the logistical and operational costs associated with this experience.
We’re grateful for your support!
In 2018, Mastermind Connect successfully ran it’s most challenging and ambitious event to date; Camping to Connect at Governors Island.
We worked for over a year to build this experience. The goals were to introduce New York City’s underserved teens to the benefits of camping, to disconnect them from distracting technology, and to help them bond with one another.
Our intention was to use the island as a literal and metaphorical refuge away from these teens' normal lives in some of the city's roughest neighborhoods, where they'd be able to explore the outdoors, connect and express their feelings and desires with peers and supportive adults, learn new things, set goals for the future, and return transformed.
Our program, which was designed specifically to make the most of what the island had to offer, provided them with so much more.
Check out the recap of our camping experience at Governors Island here .