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Overnight Camps

200pixpic064The Older Camper Program (“OCP”) offers teens the opportunity to participate at camp while experiencing greater choice and a more relaxed structure in their daily program. While enjoying the outdoors and still receiving the individualized 1:1 support Camp Starfish is known for, teens in the OCP build the independence, social competencies and coping skills that they will need to successfully navigate their upper school years.

Teens who enjoy the camaraderie of making friends, spending time with staff, and in general participating in “camp life” will benefit from the enhanced privileges and freedom of OCP, provided that they can show daily effort in the areas of maturity, decision-making, safety, and respectfulness towards themselves, other campers, and staff. Choosing activities that appeal to them in the moment, earning a top bunk and later bedtime, having access to their headphones and music during downtime, as well as the ability to pursue individual areas of enrichment are all part of the OCP curriculum.

Each day, the OCP teens are scheduled to participate in a "Teen Chat" during one activity period. These Chats allow teens to discuss and gain confidence in areas relevant to their lives outside camp, including school pressures, social networking, bullying, and more. Previous topics have included bullying, how to know when to follow peers, future careers, school challenges, standing up for what's right, and determining if someone is a "friend" or a "crush."  

Throughout the session, staff help teens navigate the co-ed social experience safely and appropriately while maintaining a focus on personal growth.  Staff-led nightly cabin meetings also focus on the specific needs and interests of teenagers at this confusing and socially complex age - this time in a single-gender environment. All OCP teens earn priveleges based on a level system - the more they participate, show an effort towards maturity, and focus on their Tools and Keys, the more priveleges they earn. 

Younger teens who are chronologically old enough for OCP, but for whom the Chat is not a component of interest in their summer program, or who are not ready for the more "teen focused" discussion topics and general camp life, should consider additional time in the Navigators program. Please speak directly with our team if you are not sure whether your teen should participate in Navigators for another year! 

200pixpic100This entry-level leadership development program provides Starfish teens the chance to build self-and peer-leadership skills, with a focus on teambuilding, communication and group dynamics. In addition to participating in activities similar to the Older Camper Program, l.e.a.d.e.r.s. teens live together with other teens and are seen as role models in daily camp life, including helping to lead all-camp Gatherings, organizing service projects and helping new campers to get acquainted with camp. 

L.e.a.d.e.r.s. sometimes help out during Free Play or cabin times with our youngest campers, organizing (with staff support) games for our 5-10 year-old campers or reading to them at the start of rest hour. They also develop a plan for a community service plan and carry it out during the session. Each day, the teens participate in a "L.e.a.d.e.r.s. Forum" discussion about a different topic of leadership and complete a section of their L.e.a.d.e.r.s. Journal explaining how they have exemplified the l.e.a.d.e.r.s. characteristics of leadership, enthusiasm, achievement, determination, enrichment, responsibility and service during the day. By showing staff that they are actively working on their skills, these teens earn extra time to play board games, listen to music, and relax with friends in their own space, the “Leaders’ Lounge.” In addition, l.e.a.d.e.r.s. teens earn credits towards readiness for TIDES. A complete guide to the L.e.a.d.e.r.s. Credits system and preparation for TIDES enrollment will be made available to all l.e.a,d,e,r,s, families prior to camp. Towards the end of the session, L.e.a.d.e.r.s. teens participate in a special event to celebrate their achievements.

This program, which challenges teens safely alongside the individualized support Starfish is known for, is a great introduction to leadership.

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   [BEING UPDATED FOR 2020 - please check back soon]
   We encourage you to review the Teen Programs Guide to Entry to learn more about the expectations,
   opportunities and details of the l.e.a.d.e.r.s. program. If you have further questions about your teen's
   readiness for participation in l.e.a.d.e.r.s., please don't hesitate to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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!
   
SATURDAY     

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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
   
SUNDAY  

 

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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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