Princeton-Blairstown Center: Historical Outdoor Education Center Working with Marginalized Youth

Exhibit Info


Princeton-Blairstown Center: Historical Outdoor Education Center Working with Marginalized Youth


October 26 to December 21, 2023


Princeton Public Library – Princeton Room


This exhibit was created to celebrate the 115th anniversary of the Princeton-Blairstown Center (PBC) and depicts its evolution and rich history of community service and youth development. It traces the journey from the small Princeton Summer Camp founded in 1908 and initially run by Princeton undergraduates for the benefit of disadvantaged inner-city kids, to its present status as an independent nonprofit youth development organization offering a wide range of outdoor education programs. The history of PBC is not just the history of transformation of this organization, but it is the history of evolution of racial justice and racial integration on college campuses and in youth programs. This exhibit highlights the role and contributions of Frank Broderick, Student Director, Princeton University Class of 1943, and a chairman of The Daily Princetonian, whose sheer determination mobilized those who advocated for racial integration on the Princeton Campus. His courageous efforts lead the way for the Princeton Summer Camp (PBC’s predecessor) to be the first camp in the United States to integrate in 1946, and for the eventual integration of Princeton University.

Dr. Robert J. Rivers, Jr., Princeton University Class of 1953, was one of the first African American campers at PBC in 1946. He went on to become a successful vascular surgeon and his incredible life and legacy is highlighted in this exhibit. The exhibit also shines a spotlight on the achievements of visionaries like John Danielson, PBC’s first executive director, who led the Center’s evolution from a summer camp to a year-round organization with adventure-based programs, serving urban youth and their families. He also led the green initiatives that resulted in the creation of wind, solar, and water-powered energy sources on PBC’s programming site – Blairstown Campus. Presently, Princeton-Blairstown Center has a deep commitment to sustainability and strives to live and model energy consciousness and resource conservation with the goal of inspiring its program participants to take this philosophy back to their homes, schools, agencies, and communities.

Today, Princeton-Blairstown Center (PBC) serves young people, primarily from historically marginalized communities, by nurturing their social-emotional skills through experiential, environmental, and adventure-based programming. If you would like to learn more about this event, please click here.

Presented with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this programming do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.


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