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Camp Starfish was founded in 1998 by co-founders Deb Berman and Rick Hobish, on the very simple premise that children can succeed when provided with a structured and nurturing environment.  Originally conceived as a project in an MBA program, Starfish launched in the summer of 2000 on 15 rented acres in Brewster, Massachusetts and served 45 children in each of two sessions.  For four years, the organization grew and thrived, expanding the number of children served and establishing itself as a staple program for troubled children from the Boston area. 
In 2004, the site Starfish was renting became unavailable, and the organization moved our summer program to an unused camp facility in Rindge, New Hampshire. The facility, previously called Camp Monomonac (an homage to its waterfront location on Lake Monomonac), was owned by Christ Church in Fitchburg, MA and had been a choir camp for many decades in the mid-to-late 1900s. However, the church no longer ran the camp and was looking for a buyer who would utilize the property as it was designed to be - a safe place for children. During our years of renting the camp, the Starfish Board raised capacity building grants from The Putnam Senior Executives Foundation and others, and in 2008 we purchased the facility, officially establishing our Rindge, NH home as a permanent fixture for children in need of structured and nurturing programs.
Camp Starfish was developed to provide highly individualized attention to children who, in many cases, would otherwise not be able to access these crucial services. As such, the organization was named after a widely-known adaptation of The Starfish Thrower, originally by Loren Eiseley, inspired by the vision that individualized attention can help children to begin to see themselves as valued and valuable members of the community. Though throughout time there have been countless versions and adaptations from the original tale of The Starfish Thrower, the version linked to here is the first page of our Staff Training Guidebook and is well-known by counselors at the camp as they, too, try to make a difference for one child at a time. At Camp Starfish, the tale reminds all of us, variously, that we:
  • can make a difference in the lives of others
  • can take on that which society tells us cannot be done and effect life-change
  • will never be left alone to fend for ourselves
  • can do one small thing that inspires others to act, creating a ripple effect
  • are part of something bigger than any individual barriers we may face
Download The Starfish Thrower PDF from our Staff Training Guidebook
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