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HomeOur ProgramMain CampNavigators (Ages 6-13+)

200pixpic063The Navigators program is our core, traditional program for campers age 6-13. Campers generally spend the initial years of their Starfish experience participating in this program.

We call our core campers “Navigators” because, with the help of staff, they choose their activities in several-day bundles, allowing them to discover their interests and “navigate” the world around them. First-time and younger campers are strongly encouraged to choose from a wide variety of options. As they progress through the program, most begin spending more time in areas of interest to them and undertaking multi-day or even multi-bundle projects in those areas. All Navigators earn tags and “level up” through our Tag-Up program, which recognizes progressive skill achievement in activities.


In Navigators, our goal is to provide campers with an engaging, fun, safe, nurturing program that sets them up for success. Unique to Camp Starfish is our 1:1 staff ratio, which is maintained at all times. Each camper is part of a cabin group of 4-6 campers and at least that many staff members. Cabin groups spend time together each day at meals, rest hour, evening program, and during a nightly cabin meeting just before bed. The Starfish staff are mature, exceptional young adults who are extensively trained to help campers build social competency, interact appropriately with others, and develop their individual skills and goals while at camp. Our program integrates the Starfish Tools (coping skills) and Keys (social skills) into everything we do. Navigators offers our highest level of structure and is 1:1 at all times.

Surrounded by the support of our staff and the increased confidence which comes from positive interactions with their peers, campers participate in "traditional" camp activities, such as arts-n-crafts, swim instruction, boating, nature exploration, sports, drama, music, athletics, and more. Our camp days are structured, with plenty of forecasting and an emphasis on safe fun. And special events, such as Peace Games or Jamboree, fill each session with special memories.All Navigators are scheduled for a daily instructional swim lesson until they reach a basic stroke and water safety proficiency level, at which time they may opt out of lessons or choose to continue expanding their skills. All Navigators also participate in a daily elective where they choose a one-time activity that isn’t offered as part of the typical program options. AM and PM Free-Plays, cabin clean-up, goals meeting, and special events round out the program day. With rare exceptions, most Navigators are paired with a staff buddy for the twice-daily Free-Plays. Bunking for this age group is generally based on social and chronological age, emotional and behavioral factors, camper/staff matching and many other factors.


Navigator Activities

The goal of our Navigator activities is to help children to build individual life skills, stay active, practice the Tools and Keys, and improve their social pragmatics. Each period begins with re-explanation of the expectations for each activity area, instructions, and checking for understanding. At the end of the period, campers and staff discuss the Tools they used to participate and any Keys they practiced. Campers go to each activity in small, co-ed groups who travel together with a set of counselors. Campers never transition between activities on their own. 

Navigators choose their activities in 3- or 4-day bundles, which allows them to spend more time in areas of interest to them and undertake projects that last more than one activity period. There is plenty of staff support for campers as they choose activities, and on the opening day of their camp session, campers travel around to each area for a brief introduction and preview of the area's projects for the session.

Some recent Navigator Bundle choices have included:

Marvelous Masks - Create your own masks and do a short performance with them!

Bonkers for Boating Games - play some of your favorite land games on water!

Terrific Tool Boxes - be a pro carpenter and build your own tool box to take home.

Camping Pro - learn how to set up camp and follow trails while hiking with the Xplore staff!

Time Travel: Ancient Egypt - Learn about mummies, hieroglyphs & pyramids...and make your own!

Starfish TV - help us make a Starfish movie by narrating and filming your favorite parts of camp.

Stringtastic - show off your string and yarn skills while making bracelets and cats' eyes.

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