Our Organization

Our Organization

Message from the Founder

The seeds of Trails were planted in 1992 when Peter Daglish, the founder of Street Kid's International asked me, Jim Hayhurst Sr. if I would work with him in Africa. I replied, "Thanks Peter, but there are a lot of challenges with vulnerable youth in Toronto, and I would rather volunteer here and try to make a difference in my own home town".

Peter decided to join me, a retired advertising man and the former Chair of Outward Bound. The principles from Outward Bound, along with our genuine love for kids ignited the spark to develop Trails Youth Initiatives. We knew that we wanted to challenge and equip vulnerable youth to be contributing members of the community. A simple concept, but not easy to execute. The strategy was simply to develop skills, knowledge, and self-confidence. The execution was based on lessons from other programs to create a Four Seasons, Four Years, For Life Programme that had never been done before.

Twenty-four years later, with incredible staff, trusting funders, and committed kids and their families, we have a greater than 90% retention rate out of our four year programme. In addition, an incredible rate of participants go on to pursue college and or university educations.

Thanks to all of you!
Jim Hayhurst Sr.


  • 1992: Trails Youth Initiatives became a registered charity
  • 1992: (July): 46 youth enrolled in the programme
  • 1992 to 1998: Trails operated out of Kettleby and other camps in the area for year-round programme
  • 1997: Trails begins its partnership with the Lake Simcoe Conservation Authority
  • 1998: Rotary Club of Toronto Eglinton helps to complete the building of the main lodge
  • 2000: Initiated our 5th year Leader In Training (LIT) programme
  • 2000: Establishment of the Danielle Dion and Wendy Anderson Bursaries to provide financial assistance to Graduates attending post-secondary education
  • 2001: 14 of 20 Trails graduates received the prestigious Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award
  • 2001: Designated as a Privately Inspected School by the Ministry of Education
  • 2003: Established relationship with five schools in Toronto District School Board to recruit participants
  • 2007, 2008, 2010: Recipient of the Toskan Casales Youth Philanthropy Award
  • 2010: Founder, Jim Hayhurst Sr. and Jack Cockwell, Group Chairman at Brookfield Asset Management Inc. form the Trails Board of Governors
  • 2010: Created a mentoring programme with our alumni to work with 5th year Leaders In Training
  • 2010: Became a Community Partner with the Toronto District School Board
  • 2010: Became a member with the  Ontario Camping Association 
  • 2013: Integrated Facilitated Equine Experiential Learning as part of our core programme in partnership with Horse Spirit Connection
  • 2013: Developed the outdoor education Outreach programmes in partnership with York Catholic Regional School Board and York Region District Schoolboard
  • 2015: Implemented the mentoring programme for all Year 4 graduates
  • 2017: Doubled enrolment, recruiting an additional 20 (total 40) year 1 participants. Built an addition to the lodge and a new cabin. Development of the Alumni Association