The information below is a very general look at the schedule for the week, and is subject to change based on weather, etc.
We arrive at camp, get settled in, and enjoy some time at the waterfront swimming and boating, followed by a yummy dinner, free play, and opening campfire. Before bed, counselors will help campers select their Choice activities for the week.
Spend the morning enjoying Choice activities and waterfront time or choose to go off-camp to hike to the top of Mt. Watatic! Then its lunch, field time (GaGa anyone?), and bunk chill before Free Play followed by a cookout dinner and special game show evening activity.
We're sleeping in and then having a pajama breakfast in bed! Then it's Free Play and activities, including a canoe trip to Blueberry Island. There's a Goldrush happening in the afternoon and a movie under the stars before bed!
We're packing up a bus and heading out to Canobie Lake Amusement Park! We're taking a picnic lunch on our day of fun at Canobie, including their awesome waterpark! We'll be back to camp in time for a closing campfire with s'mores (of course!).
We've got just enough time to eat breakfast and pack up our stuff before saying goodbyes. Then it's time to head home and tell everyone about a great week at camp!
Is Weekenders Right For My Camper?
How is camp different from Weekenders programming?
Starfish is proud to be a program where campers with diverse needs can find success and have safe fun. While our summer camp programs are extremely highly structured and tightly scheduled, our respite program is significantly more low-key.
At Weekenders, our day has a schedule that is forecasted and previewed for campers, but activity periods are more loosely organized; for example, if campers choose to sit out and watch a kickball game, they will be encouraged to join in and given options for how to do so, but provided they stay safely with the group, that's OK. Transitions are more casual because campers are not split into activity groups; rather, we gather back up as a full group and announce where everyone is going next. This can take a little bit of time and a little more patience than when campers know that for each day in a two week session, they go to swim lessons after breakfast.
In addition, while we still expect campers (and staff!) to use the Starfish Tools and Keys, and we still have a 1:1 ratio, we do not work directly on individual goals during the Weekenders program in the way we focus on them during summer camp. Weekenders is a time for relaxation and a true "respite" - a break and a full focus on fun, within safe limits and while respecting others' right to also have fun.
If you aren't sure whether the Weekenders 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. Generally, the following criteria help us determine whether a camper is ready for the Weekenders experience:
1) They want to be there. Weekenders 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 Weekenders most when they are engaged and having a good time with staff and friends.
2) They are able to go out in the community safely and without behaving outside appropriately defined boundaries. Weekenders participants go on field trips which include car, van or bus rides, brown-bag lunches (that they make themselves with counselor help), time at a public playground where non-Starfish youth and families are playing, 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. Often times, our Weekenders campers do well on community trips with camp staff that they have not been successful participating in with family members because we do maintain much of our Starfish structure while on the trip. However, it is concerning for everyone if a camper becomes disregulated and overwhelmed while out in the community - so please let us know if you believe this will be a concern. Due to our staffing structure and strict ratios, we are not able to leave campers behind at camp during field trips.
3) They have minimal aggressive or high-attention behaviors/incidents. While at camp during the summer program we are prepared and equipped to deal with more consistently aggressive or high-attention behaviors, our Weekenders program is not appropriate for campers who are actively acting out on a routine basis. We do have certified intervention staff on our Weekenders crew; in addition, all of our Weekenders staff are part of our extensively trained summer teams, and at least one year-round director is always present. However, while we certainly expect behavior and are more than happy to encourage participation for campers with infrequently occurring higher needs, at Weekenders we are simply not set up for the constant greater-than-1:1 staffing that persistent heightened behaviors require.
4) They're ready for a great (unplugged) time! Weekenders is different than camp but it's still super fun! Staff make sure that there is lots to do, and we're basically unplugged just like at summer camp. During Weekenders events, especially those which begin at the end of a long week of school, we watch one movie, usually after dinner. Otherwise, there's no hanging out in front of the TV or immersing oneself in video games - 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 Weekenders 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 Weekenders is a good match for your camper!
Meals, Health Care & Etc.
Just like during summer camp, meals are cooked by staff in our kitchen and served in our Dining. Meals are served “family style" with staff and campers sitting together at tables of 8. Salad bar and either sandwiches or pasta are available as options during lunch and dinner; sugar-free cereal and hot oatmeal are always available at breakfast. Vegetarian options are always offered; additional dietary needs are easily accomodated with advance notice. Fresh fruit, water, and milk are always on the table, and water and fruit are available all day.
Our Healthy House is staffed by full-time, on-site nursing staff just like during summer camp. We always review health paperwork with you at drop-off and make sure we are all set with medications and any special care instructions.
2017 Dates, Rates & What's Included
Monday, August 14 - Friday, August 18
2017 August Respite Week Tuition:
$1475 - if your camper is attending only the respite week
$1350 - if your camper attends any summer camp session
The August Respite Week cost includes meals, snacks, activities, field trips, project supplies and staff supervision. If you receive agency funds to help cover respite costs, Starfish is happy to work with you and your agency to determine the best method for billing and payments.
Deposit & Cancellations
A non-refundable, non-transferable deposit of $50 per camper is due with registration. The balance of fees is due no later than June 30. After June 30, if you cancel and we are unable to fill your space, 50% of the tuition will be refunded to you. Cancellations after August 1 will not be reimbursed.
Because it is our intent to make our respite programs affordable while still covering our costs, we regret that we are unable to offer any financial aid for this program. We are, however, happy to extend payment plan arrangements with advance notice to our office.
Enrollment & Registration
All of our Weekenders programs are small and spaces do fill up quickly. We anticipate the same for the August Respite Week.
If you are a first-time family and would like your camper to attend only the August Respite Week, you will need to complete a full overnight camp application and go through our enrollment process, including having a conversation with one of our year-round Directors. A deposit will be required to proceed in this process, however it will be fully refunded should your we not be able to register your camper for the Respite Program.