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200pixpic003We know there are a lot of things you're looking for in a summer experience for your child. Fun, safe programs. Well trained and mature staff. A place where your child can grow, and where we know your child by name before the first day. Plus, if your child has some unique needs, there are things you're definitely not looking for - like big groups of kids without a lot of supervision. Or a camp where your child will have difficulty making friends and participating because the necessary individualized support simply isn't available.

Luckily, you've found Starfish. Welcome! We're unique: our staff-to-camper ratio at day camp is 1:2, all the time. Our program integrates the Starfish Tools (coping skills) and Keys (social skills) into everything we do! For many children, Starfish is the first place where they can truly succeed, and where they make their first real friend.

 

200pix-dan storyclick "dan's story" to learn how SFDC changed dan's life!

 

We encourage you to learn more about the philosophy behind our programs and what we offer in this unique program designed to set each child up for success by clicking through these sections: 

Activities

Activities at Starfish are fun - and help children to build individual life skills, stay active, practice the Tools, and improve their social pragmatics. Depending on their enrolled program, campers attend between 3 and 5 activity periods a day, including swim lessons. Activity areas include:

athletics

Athletics

instruction, drills, team play, individual sports, soccer, basketball, "tension tennis", flag-football, whiffleball, cricket, running club, ultimate frisbee, obstacle course, GaGa, and much more. Creativity is our only limit when it comes to planning activities to keep campers active!

craft Arts & Crafts drawing, painting, string crafts, papercrafting, stamping, murals, clay, lanyard, design, beading, jewelry making, and all kinds of hands-on activities designed to help campers build their artistic eye!
dance Dance & Movement dance styles, dance games, yoga, breakdancing, freeze dance, rhythm games, ribbons, baton twirling, talent show act practice, choreography and other activities designed to get kids active in creative movement.
discovery Discovery woodworking, manipulatives, raft-building, and activities designed to help campers discover new hobbies, interests and talents
drama Drama & Improv camp play, improv games, voice games, talent show practice, one-act skits, playwriting and other activities designed to engage campers' acting talents
interactive Interactive Teambuilding, Challenge Initiatives, Low Ropes Course, ToolsTime, and other activities designed to practice teamwork and intercommunication skills
LC Learning Center reading, multicultural activities, chess, science experiments, yearbook, creative writing, languages, CSI, mock trial, and other activities designed to minimize summer learning loss
outdoors Outdoor Skills tent building, survival structures, outdoor cooking, campfire building, and activities designed to foster an enjoyment of outdoor living
woodico rabbit Small Animals visit the Starfish Menagerie and meet our animal friends, learn how to take care of them, help feed them, and take them on walks around camp!
waterfront Waterfront daily individualized swim instruction, free swim, kayaking, canoeing, tubing, relays, water sports (volleyball, etc.), diving, beach (sandcastles, etc.) and other activities designed to teach water safety skills
xplore

Xplore!

nature, hiking, gardening, bug hunts, fishing, recycling, blueberry picking, tree transplanting, green living, and activities designed to learn about the natural world
music Music instruments, guitar lessons, drumming, rhythm, junk band, singing, songwriting, talent show practice

 

In addition to the activity times each day, there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy additional activities and events on camp, such as during Free Play. Some of these options include:

 

Beach Time

Zen Gardens Game Playce Basketball Tournament Canoe to Blueberry Island
Creative Writing Salon Night Let's Make A Deal Fishing Campfire & S'mores
Overnight Camp-Out Group Games Curious Creatures GaGa Ball Field Day
Carnival Dance Party Book Nook Stargazing Bubble Party
Peace Games Connect-4 Tournament Talent Show Sunset Kayaking Inflate-a-Day

 

 

Groups & Daily Schedule

100 0375Each group at Day Camp has a name related to an aquatic creature (Tadpoles, Guppies and Oysters). A typical group is co-ed and has 6 campers who are supervised by a team of 3 Counselors and, in some cases, additional Day Camp Assistants.

Our goal in creating groups is to provide the most appropriate social and interactional setting, rather than adhere specifically to a division by chronological age. Each group has a maximum of six campers and enough staff to ensure a 1:2 ratio at all times; frequently the ratio is actually closer to 1:1. Each group has special space with cubbies for their belongings and rest mats that is their "home away from home" for the week.

Each camper is greeted at the car each morning by a staff member and a camp administrator. As the administrator checks in with parents/guardians, campers and staff head off to join others for active play, games or crafts activities while waiting for everyone in the group to arrive. A200pix11Once everyone is at camp, there is a "Gathering," during which all campers and counselors sing songs, hear announcements and go over the schedule for the day. Afternoon Gathering includes a chance for everybody to share something about their day with the rest of their group before heading home. Plenty of daily activities, including instructional swim, fill up the time in between.

Special events include our Wednesday Theme days (past theme days have included Pirate Day, Wild West, and Dinosaur Day) and our Thursday night camp-outs. On Thursday nights, campers ages 7+ can stay overnight at camp, enjoy extra activities and a traditional marshmallow roast (yummy...s'mores!). It might even include an early morning "polar bear" swim! Friday afternoons, a recognition ceremony highlights the achievements of each camper and allows everyone to celebrate a great week of camp.

Wednesday Theme Days

B200pix25Each week on Wednesday, it's Theme Day at camp! During Theme Days, campers are encouraged to wear character or costume items to camp, and each activity area is specially organized to relate to the week's theme. Past themes have included Dinosaur Day, during which campers made dino-inspired crafts, went on a dino search during Xplore, and excavated dino eggs in a real archeological dig! On Wild West Day, campers participated in a treasure hunt for gold, made sherriff badges and hats, and participated in field games with a rodeo theme.

This summer, Wednesday Theme Days will include some of the following: Detective Day, Wild West Day, Water World, Knights & Princesses, It's a Bug's Life, Disney Day, Dinosaur Day, Outer Space, Starfish Safari, SuperHeroes, Sports & Games, and more!

Optional Thursday Camp-Outs

B200pix53For campers ages 7+, we offer an optional overnight on the Thursday evenings of sessions B,D,E & G. The evening includes a campfire with s'mores, games, stargazing, and of course, camping! Thursday dinner and Friday breakfast is included. Our safe, cozy campsite has tents for protection from the elements and is nearby a full indoor washhouse with bathrooms and showers. Our 1:2 ratio (with additional supervision by trained Administrators) provides a great opportunity to try an overnight in a safe, nurturing, encouraging setting. The cost is $30.

Curious about overnights? Check out Dan's Story!

Our Day Camp Staff

200pixpic114Because our goal is to have staff on camp that are well-trained and confident in their abilities to create a wonderful experience for campers, all of our staff attend an intensive pre-camp training program which lasts at least 10 days and nights (and longer for lifeguards and supervisory staff). We cover an amazing amount of information during this time, including camp policies and procedures, child abuse awareness, basic safety, first aid and health care, waterfront safety training, teambuilding workshops, risk management, behavior management including extensive work with the Starfish Tools, Keys and Strategies, child and group development, outdoors orientation (campfires, etc.), how to effectively lead a group and activities, diversity, conflict resolution, bullying, teaching social interaction, practicing how to structure camper activities and learning the daily routines and camp traditions.

Before staff training even begins, our hiring process ensures that the staff working with your child are mature, professional, creative and caring, amongst many other talents and qualities. Staff complete an application, supply three written professional references (each of which is checked personally by a member of our year-round team) and have at least one interview. All staff are throroughly background checked, including a CORI (criminal record check), SORI (sexual offender record check), national data check, and others. We take the hiring and screening of our staff very, very seriously.

Unlike at many day camps where hiring is limited to a half-hour drive from the camp and training must be completed over a weekend or in weekly one-hour updates, our day camp staff comes from across the country (and even other countries!) and lives at camp during training and all summer long just like our overnight staff. It's unusual, but that's how we do a lot of things...differently!

Day Camp Assistants

200pixpic086Day Camp Assistants (“DCAs”) are young adults who live locally and want to help out at Day Camp to get experience working with children and participate in a leadership development program. DCAs are an integral part of Day Camp, and are attached to a small group of campers and counselors where they assist with daily camp life and help individual day campers participate successfully in activities. DCAs spend one period each day with senior leadership staff receiving ongoing training and participating in discussions with other DCAs and the S.T.A.R. Corps Apprentices from overnight camp.

DCAs are not "CITs" or staff and while they are a wonderful addition to our day camp community, they are not included in our staff ratios. Of course, when they're reading to campers during QT or playing "marco polo" with the Tadpoles swim group, campers love them just the same! After their DCA summer(s), these young adults are eligible to apply for the few, highly competitive Junior Counselor positions at Day Camp.

Meals & Snacks

starfish0025A full lunch in our dining hall is provided for all day campers, as is a morning and afternoon snack.

At lunch, campers eat "family style" at an assigned table next to the same counselor each day, and in addition to getting a yummy meal, campers practice table etiquette, social conversation skills, and manners. The main meal elements are served on each table on platters and bowls with easy-to-grip serving utensils. Approximately 3-4 campers and 2-3 staff sit at each table.

Our kid, parent and nutritionist-approved menu and snacks have no added sugars, candy, caffeine or junk. We bake everything - no frying! Each item served is separated in its own dish on the table (pasta, meatballs, sauce, etc.) so campers can plate the combinations that feel right to them. Fresh fruit, milk, 100% juice and water are on the table at each meal, and a full salad bar allows campers plenty of options. Gluten-free, vegetarian and other plans are all easily accomodated.

Examples of our campers' favorite lunch meals include:

  • Hamburgers/Cheeseburgers, Buns, Lettuce/Tomato/Onion/Pickles, Condiments, Tater Tots, Sliced Pears
  • Chicken Fingers with BBQ, Honey Mustard and Ranch Dipping Sauces, Corn on the Cob, Coleslaw
  • Make Your Own Tacos w/ all the Fixin's, Spanish Rice, Pineapple Pieces
  • Hot Dog Bites w/ Mac-n-Cheese, Carrot-n-Celery Dippers w/ Ranch Dressing, Grapes
  • Grilled Cheese, Tomato Soup, Corn Niblets, Fruit Salad
  • Pizza Day! with Veggie, Plain, Peperoni and Chef's Special Pizza, Baked Smiley Fries, Watermelon

Session Details

A200pix30SESSION LENGTH

Sessions are Monday-Friday (except weeks C & F which are Tuesday-Friday). Some campers attend one week of camp, and others attend all summer or anything in between! We encourage you to sign up for as much or as little of the summer as makes sense for your family.

 

 

B200pix06REGULAR CAMP HOURS

Regular camp hours are 9 AM - 4:45 PM.

We have lots to do and want to make sure that campers get the most time possible to learn, grow and have fun! We do not have half-day programs for young campers, however each day incorporates a rest hour where campers may nap, read, or play quietly on their cot.

 

B200pix18EXTENDED DAY OPTIONS 

Need flexibility with drop-off or pick-up times? Looking for a longer camp day? Have drop-off or pick-up anytime you need it to be, between the hours listed below. A $10 discount is offered for campers using both AM & PM Extended Day.

                    • AM Only:  7:45 - 9:00 am ($50/week; $40 for 4-day weeks)
                    • PM Only:  4:45 - 6:00 pm ($50/week; $40 for 4-day weeks)
                    • AM & PM: $90/week ($10 discount!)

2015 Day Camp Dates & Rates

The 2015 Day Camp Dates are as follows (please note that Sessions C & F are 4-day discounted sessions):
 
2015daycampdaterategrid

Applications & Forms

200pixpic098Thank you for choosing Camp Starfish as part of your child's summer experience. We look forward to receiving your child's application and to meeting you and your camper soon. If you have not already done so, please take a few minutes to browse the website, as we hope it shares useful information to you about Camp Starfish.

We accept applications on a rolling basis beginning in November for returning campers and January 1 for new campers. We therefore recommend sending in applications as soon as possible to ensure your preferred session dates are not yet full.

Once we receive your application and deposit, a member of our Admissions team will be in touch shortly to confirm details and answer any questions you may have. Of course, you are always welcome to contact us by phone at 978-637-2617 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

 

NEW DAY CAMPERS:
Please follow these steps to complete a first-time day camp application (click any image to open a PDF/link to the form in a new window):

dcapp 1. To reserve a space in any session, complete the Day Camp Application and mail it with a $50 deposit per child, per session to our Stow (Year-Round) office.
network

(Optional)  Provide this online link* to the Professional Recommendation form to classroom teachers, therapists, workers, etc., outside the home who knows your child well and who you believe can offer valuable input on your camper. No recommendations are required, but it is often a helpful tool as our Camp Directors plan for your child's attendance and success at camp.

http://tinyurl.com/csfprofessionalrec

It is much preferred that professional recommendations are completed online; if the individual does not have access to the web, a paper version can be downloaded by clicking here for school personnel or here for all other professionals

opt1

(Optional) Agency Support Details (Form OPT-1)

If an agency is helping you fund camp, this is a convenient and quick way to provide camp with the details and contact information.

 

RETURNING DAY CAMPERS:
This year, you have two choices to complete your camper's returning day camp application. You can: (click any form image to open a PDF/online link to the form in a new window):

network 1. Complete the application ONLINE and
authonly thumbnail1 2. PRINT/MAIL just this Authorizations Signature page with your deposit.

OR, you can:

retdcapp

1. PRINT AND MAIL the entire application including Signature page with your deposit

 

Please note that you will be required to complete additional paperwork, such as health forms and an updated Camp Life/Set Up for Success Form, prior to attendance at camp.

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