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Our Respite programs are designed to provide participants with a safe, supported place to spend time, engaging with friends and continuing to build their skills, while providing parents/guardians, caretakers, siblings, and others back at home with a break. Whether it's an extra week of camp in August or a series of monthly Weekenders up at camp in the winter, our Respite programs are distinctly Starfish in design. Our staff are the Starfish staff you and your participant know and trust. Activities, engagement and social skills are a priority, with very limited screentime. This isn't your typical respite experience!

Respite programs at Starfish include:

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Weekenders (1:3)
Weekenders offers year-round respite and reconnection in a safe, familiar camp setting. With drop-off on Friday and pick-up on Sunday, Weekenders offers a chance for participants ages 9-22 to reconnect with camp and change their scenery for a few days during the school year, and gives parents/guardians much needed respite. 

   
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Weekenders Week (1:3)
A fun summer week of Weekenders-style respite programs and fun. Maintaining the same 1:3 ratio, daily schedule, expectations, fun and excitement of our year-round program, Weekenders Week is an opportunity to extend the respite fun to summer for participants ages 9-22 already registered for one or more Weekenders series.

   
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August Bonus Week (1:1)
Bonus week is a fun week of respite at the end of the summer with a 1:1 staff-to-camper ratio! Our summer staff are all still on site to give campers another chance to have "s'more" fun with friends from summer sessions. Bonus week includes the highly anticipated trip to Canobie Lake Amusement & Waterpark.

 

Is Respite a match for your camper?
Starfish is proud to be a program where campers with diverse needs can find success and have safe fun. If you aren't sure whether the Respite style of Starfish programming is going to be right for your camper, we encourage you to talk with a member of our year-round team. In addition to the expectations for participants in our summer programs, generally, the following criteria help us determine whether a camper is ready for Respite programs at Starfish. Typically, successful Respite participants:

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Want to be at Starfish. 
Respite is not the place to push being away from home as an "experience" in the way camp can be designed to be. It is not a testing ground for independence. Kids enjoy Respite most when they are engaged and having a good time with staff and friends. 
   
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Are able to go out in the community safely, behaving inside appropriately defined boundaries.
Respite participants go on field trips which include car, van or bus rides, brown-bag lunches (that they make themselves with staff help), time at a public playground and activities at public places like aquariums, parks, bowling alleys, museums, farms, etc. Participants need to be able to stay with assigned staff, be flexible if plans change a little (with coaching and support from staff), and be able to follow directions. Due to our staffing structure and ratios, we are not able to leave campers behind at camp during field trips.

   
 100 0898 Have minimal aggressive, intense, high-attention, or high-need  behaviors/incidents. 
While at camp during our 1:1 summer programs we are prepared and equipped to deal with more consistently aggressive or high-attention behaviors, our Respite program is not appropriate for campers who are actively engaging in more intensive behaviors on a routine basis. We do have certified intervention staff on our Respite crew; in addition, all of our Respite staff are part of our extensively trained summer teams, and at least one year-round director is always present. We certainly expect challenges from time to time, and we do not disallow participants who have infrequently occurring higher needs. In general, however, we are not set up for the constant greater-than-1:3 staffing that persistent heightened behaviors require. 
   
 100 0191 Are ready for a great time...without a lot of screen time.
Staff make sure that there is lots to do during Respite programs, and we're mostly unplugged just like at summer camp. During Weekenders programs, which begin at the end of a long week of school, we often watch part of a movie on Friday night. Participants may listen to music or use tablets for reading, but otherwise, there's no hanging out in front of the TV or immersing oneself in video games for hours - it's all live, person-to-person interactions, just like at summer camp. It's not the way most respite programs work - but we like to be different. 


As with everything at Starfish, the respite experience is going to feel different for each individual camper. Please don't hesitate to reach out to one of us at the year-round office if you would like help deciding if respite is a good match for your camper! 

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