Camping to Connect: An Outdoor Rite-of-Passage Experience for Urban Youth



Camping to Connect: An Outdoor Rite-of-Passage Experience for Urban Youth

Governors Island, New York (September 20, 2018) - Camping to Connect, a new experiential learning and mentorship initiative for underserved young men, kicks off this month with a special two-day, overnight camping experience on historic Governors Island, a 172-acre park in the heart of New York Harbor that is normally closed to overnight visitors.

On September 29 & 30, 2018, thanks to the Trust for Governors Island, Camping to Connect will bring local high school juniors and seniors for a “rite of passage experience” that begins from the moment participants, leaving their familiar world behind, arrive by ferry onto Governors Island. The young men will be offered a diverse program that combines fundamental camping and survival skills, self-reflection, peer bonding and an introduction to healthy living habits. Activities will include a scavenger hunt, fitness boot camp, urban farm workshop, mindfulness exercises, campfire rituals, and breakout sessions with mentors that explore leadership styles and goal setting.

Camping to Connect is an initiative created by Mastermind Connect, a national membership-based resource group for progressive men.

“We are changing the narrative by creating safer, healthier environments for our youth, particularly those in underserved communities,” said Manny Almonte, co-founder of Mastermind Connect. “Governors Island is a very special place, and we’re proud of having been granted access as the first overnight mentorship experience to stay there under the watchful eyes of Lady Liberty, and with the NYC skyline as our backdrop.”

Nature deficiency is becoming an epidemic in urban environments, stunting academic and developmental growth. Current research shows that providing youth with access to nature and green environments will develop cognitive, emotional and physical benefits, such as increased ability to concentrate, improved academic performance, reduced stress and aggression levels and reduced risk of obesity which leads to long term health issues in adulthood.

Camping to Connect aims to grow into a broad movement where young men of color will benefit and use the learned skills as they develop into progressive adults. Generous support in the form of in-kind donations from brand partners including Eddie Bauer, The North Face and Eagle Creek, has helped to jumpstart the first Camping to Connect initiative.

For more information and to donate visit:

About Mastermind Connect:

Mastermind Connect, a membership-based resource group for progressive men, has been reframing the paradigm of masculinity by helping their members elevate personally and professionally through their pillars of resources, reciprocity and respect since 2016. Using outdoor based recreation as one of their tools to instill self-reliance, leadership, introspection and brotherhood, Mastermind Connect has been successfully producing events, mentoring and supporting local charities since September, 2016.

To learn more, visit:

Contact: Manny Almonte, co-founder, at

Mastermind Connect, 68 Jay Street, Suite E6, 2nd Floor, Brooklyn NY 11201