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Crescent Camps

Choosing a camp for your child is one of the most difficult things a parent can do. When your child has extra needs - either social, emotional, behavioral or learning related - the challenge of finding just the right place becomes immense. Camp Starfish is a place where each child is celebrated for being the person they are, while at the same time, given space and support to grow their skills and self-esteem.
Summer Camps & Programs
B200pix45We offer overnight camp programs with a 1:1 ratio for children and teens ages 6-16+. We have a traditional overnight camp - our 14- or 19-day Navigators program or our 5-day, 4-night Lite or Fiver programs. For our campers ages 14+, we offer the Older Camper Program (OCP), designed with additional choice and priveleges and the l.e.a.d.e.r.s. program, designed to help teens build their self- and group-leadership skills. For campers looking for a bit of extra adventure, our Beachcombers program includes hiking, canoeing, off-site trips, cooking over the campfire, and rustic tent living. We also offer a camp just for siblings of Starfish kiddos - our Sibling Camp.  
For most of our camp programs, entry ends around the approximate age of 14, while current campers may continue on in teen programs after that time. TIDES offers a transitional independence program for older teens and young adults looking for continuing growth in leadership, personal development, and work skills through the age of 18 and in some cases, beyond.
We also offer Camp Havvago (a 5-day "try it" camp for children on the Autism Spectrum, in collaboration with the HMEA's Autism Resource Central).
Year-Round Programs 
100 0163Our year-round respite program, Weekenders, offers campers and staff the opportunity to reconnect between camp seasons, while providing caregivers with much needed down-time. Weekenders has limited availability, and is for campers who have attended at least one 5-day/4-night or longer summer session at Starfish. Our August Respite Week is an extended Weekenders experience that is extremely popular. 
We encourage you to look through our camp programs and learn more about how we provide summer opportunities that are full of learning, growing and having fun!

A200pix03By definition, a “beachcomber” is someone who searches out areas  to look for things of value or interest. Starfish Beachcombers will be doing just that in this exciting new program by stretching their horizons in the great  outdoors. By challenging themselves with tent living, outdoor cooking, hiking, rafting, canoeing, kayaking, and opportunities to experience nature at its finest, Beachcomber teens will learn, grow and have fun in new and exciting ways. Each Beachcomber session is open to both boys  and girls (of course, sleeping arrangements are always single-gender and  supervised by staff who live in the tents with teens).

Teens who sign up for  this trip must be willing and able to carry their own backpack, spend time outdoors, try new things, be a helpful and supportive teammate, and follow the Starfish Tools as modeled by their counselors. 

In addition to the Starfish staff your teens know and love, trip leaders with wilderness first aid certifications and extensive outdoor leadership training  will be supervising each trip, and professional outfitters will be guiding our  rafting and kayaking experiences. For teens ready to try a new experience  with familiar Starfish style and support, this is the chance of a lifetime. 

Off-Site Trips
The Beachcombers program is housed at a "base camp" on camp, and travels off-site regularly. The 5-day Lite program does day trips in the local area (such as climbing Mt. Monadnock) and a 1-night overnight at Mt. Sunapee. During the 9-day program, in addition to local day trips, the teens participate in a 4-day, 3-night trip which includes hiking in the Mt. Sunapee region of NH and white-water rafting the Zoar Gap on the Deerfield River in MA.

The "Comber Code" and "Waterways System"
As with all Starfish programs, the emotional and physical safety of campers is our first priority. Click any of the below documents to learn more about the way we make sure that teens (1) are held accountable for their choices and (2) can influence their own level of priveleges through safe participation.


In addition to the Tools and Keys, Beachcombers has a "Comber Code" which outlines the expectations of participants in the program. Beachcombers take great pride in Combing by the Code.

waterwaysagreement A level system called the Waterways has been designed to ensure that teens' priveleges and participation is on par with the level of maturity and safety they show staff. All teens enter the program at the neutral "Ponds" level and can "travel the waterways" from there. During the first afternoon at camp, the counselors explain to teens about the Waterways and everyone signs the agreement. Teens are very motivated to join the "Oceans!"

On the first afternoon in the program, each teen creates a walking stick from wood they find during an on-site hike. Each night at the campfire, teens (and staff!) explain how they earned the day's walking stick beads, and tie their new beads onto their walking stick. Sticks and beads go home with teens after camp. Click to see how beads are earned during Beachcombers.

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Sample Weekend Schedule

This is a sample of a Weekenders Schedule for October:

FRIDAY          100 0145
6:00 - 6:30 PM Arrival at Camp
6:00 - 6:30 PM Chill/Free Play 


Unpacking & Getting Settled
6:30 - 7:15 PM Expectations, Gathering, Dinner
7:30 PM Change into PJ's / Movie Night!

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9:00 AM Wakeup 
9:15 AM Gathering/Breakfast
Pack up picnic lunches for later
10:00 AM Field Time - GaGa, Soccer, etc.

10:45 AM

Activity Choice # 1
12:00 PM Field Trip meeting, get ready to go
12:30 PM Leave for field trip 
Picnic lunch, outdoor games
Field Trip - Apple & Pumpkin Picking
4:30 PM Return to camp
Snack & Rest time, Showers
6:00 PM Free Play
6:45 PM Wash up / Gathering / Dinner
7:30 PM Campfire-n-s’mores
8:00 PM Ready for Bed Routine, Bunk Chill



9:00 AM Wakeup
9:15 AM Gathering/Breakfast
9:45 AM Homework & Reading time or LC-style activity
10:30 AM Activity Choice # 2 (field games, canoeing, arts-n-crafts, etc)
12:00 PM Gathering / lunch
12:40 PM Bunk clean up and packing
1:30 PM Outdoor time, goodbyes  
2:00 - 2:30 PM Departure/Pick-ups  


Tuition & What's Included

100 0103The Weekenders 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.

Tuition for 2019 Weekends: $550

Is Weekenders Right For My Camper?

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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:
200pixpic0631) 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. 
100 08982) 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.
aaphoto23) 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. 
100 01914) 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!  

Enrollment & Registration

100 1020The Weekenders program is small and spaces do fill up quickly. Enrollment is limited based upon staffing ratios, available beds, successful completion of summer Starfish programming, ability to participate within behavioral guidelines for Weekenders programs, and other factors. 
To complete a request for participation in Weekenders, click here. This request form requires the signature of a parent/guardian. A member of our year-round staff will respond to the request within 4 business days* to confirm enrollment status (*starting from 8/28/17).

Other Logistics

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A complete Weekenders Guide will be emailed to you prior to the Weekend, including a packing list, weekend schedule, transportation details/confirmation, and more. Medication packets will be mailed to you directly at least one week prior to the drop-off. If you have any questions, please call our office or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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