What are meals like at Starfish?

No matter what role you take on this summer at Starfish, you will be eating with everyone in the Dining Hall! After your bunk is called by the do-it song to head into the dining hall, it is time to eat! You stop at the door, answer a quiet-hand-question (my favorite is blue or red), get hand sanitizer, and then find your seat.

You typically sit with your cabin mates, using 2-3 tables. Campers and Counselors sit in the same seat daily. While assigned seats can be annoying, it helps our healthy house staff find your seat and administer medications as smoothly and as quickly as possible!

How meals work:

As for the meals, the important part of the day, we eat “family style”. This means that we prepare foods separately just in case you like your food a certain way, or have sensory needs. So say we are having spaghetti and meatballs for dinner; the meatballs will be in one bowl, the sauce in another, broccoli, garlic bread, etc. all in its own bowl. We try to make our meals child-friendly as best we can!

For staff, while everyone is eating during this time, it is also your responsibility to engage campers, monitor portion control, and encourage and model appropriate behavior at the meal table.

Still hungry?

No worries! We offer other options just in case you don’t like what is on the table, or already finished your first plate of food. For breakfast, we offer multiple sugar-free cereal options, fruit, and yogurt. With lunch and dinner, we provide a salad bar, with many different topping and dressing options! We will also have either a make-your own sandwich bar or past bar. With sandwiches, we put out meat and cheese, and wow butter and jelly. Typically the pasta bar is just marinera, spaghetti noodles, and parmesan cheese.

We accommodate most allergies, and can make a plan if necessary. While we are making food for 100+ people, we aren’t able to make food “to order”. Please let us know if you have any dietary needs or questions we should be aware of before you arrive at camp.

1% Milk and ice water are always on the table; at breakfast we offer 100% juice, and at lunch, sugar-free, kid-friendly flavored juice (lemonade, punch, etc.). We don’t drink carbonated beverages or eat sugary desserts (we do s’mores on occasion and popsicles on hot days!).
Fresh fruit is always out and available at any time during the day. In the mornings at breakfast, coffee and tea are available for staff only.

Along with three meals a day, we offer two snack times as well. We always offer fruit, but otherwise we have snacks including cheese sticks, pretzels, goldfish, or something similar. Along with snack times, we encourage water at all times of the day!

A sample menu for a day at Starfish:

Breakfast:
Egg Patties
English Muffins
Sausage
Cheese Slices
Sliced Peaches
Tater Tots
Juice

AM Snack: Sun Chips

Lunch:
Grilled Cheese
Tomato Soup
French fries
Celery and Carrot Sticks

PM Snack: Cheez -itz

Dinner:
Tacos – Ground Beef
Hard shells
Soft shells
Tri-Tray: Salsa, black beans, lettuce
Shredded Cheese
Sour Cream

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Campers roasting marshmellows at Camp Starfish
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Danielle Lubbers

Danielle joined Camp Starfish in the spring of 2023 as Camp Director. Originally working with the Girl Scouts of the Chesapeake Bay, Danielle has ten years of experience providing programming to children, outdoor skills training for adults, and directing overnight summer camp experiences.

In her spare time, Danielle enjoys spending time with her two-year old Dalmatian, Mia. Danielle’s favorite activity at camp is raft building, as she enjoys seeing campers and staff work together to complete a team goal. Her favorite Camp Starfish Tool is “We are here to learn, grow, and have fun!”

Staff photo of David

David Mahnken

David Mahnken is Camp Starfish’s Mental Health Consultant. He provides staff training each summer on topics such as self-care, trauma-informed care practices, and health & wellness. David also provides support and consultation to the organization throughout the year. David holds a BA from St. Olaf College and an MSW from Simmons University. David is a LICSW who works in emergency services in addition to his own private practice in Massachusetts.

Prior to becoming a social worker, David’s first experience at camp was as a counselor in the early 2000s before becoming an administrator and member of the year-round team. His favorite camp activity is swim-I (swim instruction), and his favorite Camp Starfish Tool is: “We make camp a safe place.”

Staff photo of Joe

Joe Clark

As the Assistant Director at Camp Starfish, Joe is a seasoned professional who is well-versed in all aspects of camp life. With five years of summer work at Starfish, he brings extensive experience and expertise to the camp year-round. Joe is from the UK, and holds a degree from Keele University. Joe works as a support worker in the UK, providing care to individuals with disabilities, since 2019. Joe also engages in volunteer work, including spending three months in Abrobiano, Ghana.

Joe is known at camp for his charming English accent, which campers often try to replicate! His favorite camp activity is playing soccer (football) on the field, and his favorite Camp Starfish Tool is: “I take responsibility for my actions.”

Staff photo of Rachel

Rachel Roberts

Rachel Roberts is the Director of Staff Experience at Camp Starfish, responsible for all things staffing and groups. With a degree in Anthropology, and a Certificate in Global Citizenship from Franklin Pierce University, Rachel brings a unique perspective to her role. She oversees hiring, onboarding, retention, and staff appreciation for the 100+ seasonal staff at Camp Starfish each summer. Rachel has been a part of the Starfish team since 2016, working in various seasonal roles. She joined the Year-Round Team full-time in 2022.

As a lifelong New Hampshire resident, Rachel enjoys hiking in the woods with her dog, Clover. Her favorite camp activity is Free Play, and her favorite Camp Starfish Tool is: “We respect each other’s differences.”

Staff photo of Kristie

Kristie Martin

Kristie Martin is Camp Starfish’s Program Director, responsible for ensuring that each camper receives a structured, supportive, and fun program during both summer and year-round weekends. With her degree in Applied Psychology & Human Development from the Lynch School of Education at Boston College, Kristie has a deep understanding of child development and uses this knowledge to create a nurturing environment for all campers.

Kristie grew up in the Monadnock region and takes pride in being a local. Kristie’s favorite camp activity is the Camper Talent Show, which she believes is the perfect opportunity for campers to showcase their skills and feel comfortable sharing with the community. Her favorite Camp Starfish Tool is, “I try my best, I do not have to be the best.”

Staff photo of Sarah

Sarah York

Sarah York is the Director of Operations at Camp Starfish, joining the team in the Spring of 2022. She brings with her a wealth of professional experience working in both mental health and human resources. Sarah’s role at Camp Starfish is crucial in ensuring that camp runs smoothly, and she is available to assist families every step of the way through the registration process. If you call the Starfish office, Sarah will likely be who you speak with first!

With her dedication to helping others and her commitment to creating a positive camp experience for every child, it’s no wonder that her favorite Camp Starfish Tool is: “We are members of a team.”

Staff photo of Jamie

Jamie Mahnken

Jamie Mahnken is Camp Starfish’s Executive Director, and has been an integral part of the Camp Starfish community since 2010, serving in a variety of roles. With a degree in Business Administration and Organizational Leadership from Southern New Hampshire University, Jamie is committed to creating a safe and positive environment for every camper, staff member, and volunteer.

As a North Carolina native, Jamie enjoys spending time outdoors with her family. Her favorite camp activity is kayaking to Blueberry Island, which is a meaningful and memorable experience for many campers, as well. Jamie’s favorite Camp Starfish Tool is: “I am flexible and open to change.”