An outdoor rite-of-passage experience for urban youth


Camping to cONNECT

Our Program

Camping to Connect is an experiential learning and mentorship initiative for underserved young men from New York’s inner-city communities.

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Access to Nature


For youth living in America’s inner cities, nature is hard to come by.

Current research indicates that exposure to nature can have numerous physical, emotional and cognitive benefits for young people, including greater attention capacities, reduced stress levels, and improved self-esteem.

I feel like being around nature my mind is more at peace.
— Ryan V., Camping to Connect participant
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A Rite of Passage


Camping to Connect guides young men on an unfamiliar journey into the outdoors.

Created by Mastermind Connect, a 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.

Everybody was communicating, building new bonds, expressing themselves and letting their inner selves come out.
— Camping to Connect participant
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From sites that range from Governors Island in NYC, to the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, participants are offered a diverse program that combines fundamental camping and survival skills, leadership, self-reflection, peer bonding and an introduction to healthy living habits.

Activities include a scavenger hunt, fitness boot camp, hiking, mindfulness exercises, campfire rituals, and breakout sessions with mentors that explore leadership styles and goal setting.

Check out this recap from our weekend at Governors Island, in September 2018, and watch the video below:



Standout Results


Camping Experience of Participants

Data Source: Camping to Connect 2018, day one

Comfortable with the Outdoors

Data Source: Camping to Connect 2018, day two

Camping to Connect Overall Participant Satisfaction

Data Source: Camping to Connect 2018, end of experience
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Future Leaders

This program is geared specifically towards young men from underserved communities in the New York City metro area. We will soon be expanding to others cities across America. We’re now accepting applications for our Summer/Fall 2019 Season and Spring 2020 seasons.

Among others, participants in Camping to Connect include juniors and seniors in NYC Urban Ambassadors, an extracurricular program from the New York City Department of Education’s Office of Equity and Access that provides access to leadership training and mentorship to distinctive young men of color from across NYC's public high schools.





Camping to Connect relies entirely on voluntary contributions. Every donation counts.

  • $25 could provide for a full weekend worth of food for one participant.

  • $50 could provide for basic camping and hiking gear for one participant.

  • $100 could provide for the logistical and operational costs associated with this experience.

Please help us continue to do this work by donating today!


Sponsors and Brand Partners


Contact Us

From sponsoring to enrollment, please complete this form to ask any questions about our program.