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We know you probably have lots of questions, and we're always here to help. Click on the pages at right to open a larger JPG image of the FAQs from our Staff Guide to Summer

We've answered some additional commonly asked questions below. Please feel free to call our office at 978-637-2617 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. anytime for assistance.

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Will I need to interview in person?

No, you will not need to interview in person. Our staff team comes from states and countries all over the globe! We conduct all interviews over phone or Zoom. Upon reviewing your application, we will reach out to let you know if we will be moving forward with scheduling an interview.

Is there a deadline for counselor applications?

You may choose when to apply, however the process is competitive and we do recommend applying as soon as possible. If you have interest in a very specific area of camp employment (for example you know you definitely want to teach in our Learning Center or be a swim instructor), we definitely encourage you to apply early in the year.

Is Camp Starfish a non-profit camp?

Yes, Camp Starfish is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, which is an educational not-for-profit. We are completely funded by grants from foundations, corporations and individuals, as well as from tuition which is often provided by agencies, but we do not receive any federal or government funding. We provide some kind of financial aid to a large percentage of the campers. 
The camp was founded in 1998 by Deb Berman and Rick Hobish. Our first summer of operation was 2000. We operated for the first 4 years at a rented camp on Cape Cod, and then rented our current home in Rindge, NH for the next few years, finally purchasing it in 2008. You can read more about the history of camp here.
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What if I need to leave camp on a specific day?

During a typical summer, if you have a specific day that you need as your time-off, and you inform us about it before the summer begins, we will make every effort to grant your request. In 2021, timeoff will look different due to Covid-19 policies. If you need a specific day off for religious purposes or a medical appointment, we can work with you to set up your time off and virtual access for these services.

Are room and board provided?

Yes, housing and all meals are provided for free while you are working at Starfish. And, actually while "camp food" is often kind of scary, food at Starfish happens to be pretty good. We have hot breakfasts with cereal and alternatives provided, fresh fruit and vegetables on the tables at every meal and well-balanced lunches and dinners. We have a salad bar at lunch and dinner. There are always vegan and vegetarian options, and we are able to accomodate gluten-free menus as well as most allergies. If you have other dietary needs, we encourage you to speak with us to ensure that we can accomodate them (something we try very hard to do). It is an expectation that all staff will live in a cabin with campers, and you will have your own locker for small personal items and a cubby next to your bed for clothes and larger items. You can learn more about "life in the bubble" (what we call living and working at Starfish) here

Will I receive time off while I'm working at Starfish?

Yes! You receive time off each day — one activity period during the camp day as well as a portion of time each night, after kids are in bed. You also receive 24 hours off for every 7 days you work, and this “day off” usually lasts from 7 AM to 7 AM the following day. In most cases, we are able to pair this with a night off. For example, you may have a night off on Tuesday and then be off all day Wednesday before returning to work duties at 7 AM Thursday morning. So, your 24 hours off likely looks more like 36 hours off. Everyone on staff will also enjoy 1.5 – 2 days off in between each camp session. During time off, you are welcome to stay onsite and enjoy staff-only areas and meals provided by camp or you can go offsite, following Covid-19 precautions. If you have traveled to camp from afar, don’t worry: we offer staff transportation to get off-camp.

What are some of the diagnoses campers may have?

While not all children at Starfish have diagnoses, most have been diagnosed with learning disabilities, psychological disturbances, developmental delay, or other similar challenges. Many of the children have either been clinically diagnosed with or exhibit behaviors associated with, but not limited to: Learning Disabilities, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Anxiety Disorder, Reactive Attachment Disorder, Intermittent Explosivity, BiPolar Disorder, and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. A large number of campers have also been placed on the Autism spectrum, with diagnoses of Autism, Pervasive Development Disorder, or Asperger's Syndrome. Regardless of any specific diagnosis, we focus on behaviors as they arise, working individually with each child on any challenges at camp and their ongoing goals.

How much time do the children spend at camp?

In most years, this answer varies a lot based on which program the camper chooses. Due to Covid-19, Camp Starfish is offering a standardized session length to account for best safety practices. In 2021, we will be offering four 14-day sessions. Each session is separated by time off for the staff and some in-service training. Children usually attend one session, though some will attend session 1 and then return later in the summer for a second session. It is intentional that campers do not spend the entire summer at Starfish; there are many campers on our waitlist to attend each year, and additionally, due to the intensive structure campers follow whilst at camp, a break between sessions is often beneficial.

What is the campers' age range? How many kids are there?

Our campers generally range in age from 7-15, and teens in our older camper programs are anywhere from 14-17. Our transitional independent living program, TIDES, serves teens 16+. We are a co-ed camp, usually with approximately 40% girls and 60% boys. Many of our campers have been coming for years and others are new each year. Each session has a maximum of 55 campers. Cabins on the girls’ side of camp hold a maximum of 7 campers; on the boys side, 5 campers. Due to Covid-19, Starfish will be implementing limits on group sizes in 2021.

Can I apply even if I don't have a lot of experience?

Previous experience with children will help you stand out in, and complete, our fairly competitive application process, but is not absolutely required for counselors. Our one-to-one staff to camper ratio helps provide an incredible amount of support for all staff. We also have an intensive 10+ day training before the campers arrive. The training (run by our Executive Director, Camp Director, Director of Staff Experience, Assistant Director and well-experienced leadership staff, along with guest speakers) helps provide counselors with a substantial foundation for working with children who have special needs. Our leadership & supervisory staff also provide the counselors with a significant amount of guidance and support throughout each camp day. During the summer, ongoing trainings and opportunities to enhance your skills will also be available. If you have absolutely no employment experience at all, please know that while your application will be considered, it will likely not be as competitive in our process as those of individuals who do have work experience in some field. 

Is this a volunteer position or are staff paid for their work?

All of the positions at Camp Starfish are paid. No camp pays their staff lots of money - for a few reasons. The first is that many camps are not-for-profit and have small budgets (like Starfish). The second is that working at summer camp is something that people do for the experience, the joy of changing lives, and the chance to be a part of an intentional, postive community, rather than to become wealthy. However, because room, board and laundry service are included (all meals and the cost of living), and time off is paid, most people find that they can enjoy trips off camp on their time off and still leave camp at the end of the summer with almost their entire salary to put in the bank. You can learn more about salary structure and staff bonuses here.

Can I recieve academic credit for working at Starfish?

Yes, absolutely! Lots of staff do. However, receiving credit for your work at Starfish must be approved and administered by a professor, academic adviser, department chair, or dean before you arrive at camp. We will, of course, be more than happy to complete any of the requisite forms and help ensure that once you arrive at camp, you have access to the resources you need to complete papers, time logs, etc., as required by your school. In the past, students have had requirements that included interviewing members of our administrative team or directors, writing stories or essays about their experiences, and meeting weekly with a supervisor to process their learning experience as they go. Any of these things are completely do-able...just let us know ahead of time so we can make sure your schedule at camp allows for these things to be completed in a timely manner! All staff working towards academic credit also participate in a weekly Interns Seminar to make sure you complete your requirements in style. 

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