What to expect when you sign on with Starfish!

There are many things that run through our brain when we choose to accept a new job, right? And a million more things when you are going to be living and working in the same place!

Here are some things to expect once you have signed that contract for the summer!

Arriving at Camp and experiencing that first moment of culture shock!

No matter what job you choose to pursue this summer, a summer camp job is like no other! It can be a big culture shock to show up to a large place in the middle of the woods, where you don’t know anyone yet, and aren’t sure what to expect. Some things that you can expect about camp is that it will definitely be an adventure! You will learn a lot while you are here, no matter what level of experience you have with kids! You will also learn more about yourself than any other job! There will be so many amazing staff from all over the world who you will become close with over the course of the summer, expanding your knowledge of diversity, cultures, and customs.

Some advice from previous staff members is to just “Jump right in!” While singing and dancing with people you don’t know well yet can be a bit scary, the sooner you join into the (organized) chaos the more fun you’ll have at camp!

What is it like living at camp?

The cabins at camp are simple wooden structures with screen windows, electricity and bunk beds with mattresses. Most campers sleep on a bottom bunk, with staff on the top bunk.

Luggage is kept in a central storage area on camp once you unpack, so you will be given an under-bed storage bin and some cubby space in the cabin. You are welcome to bring a small set of plastic storage drawers (dorm-style is typical) for storage of personal belongings. There are central wash-houses near the cabins. All washhouses have hot water, electricity, sinks, individual toilet stalls and showers with privacy. Your personal items (toiletries) are stored in the village staff house where you can easily access them.

As for your important items, like your phone, wallet, keys, etc., we provide you a locker and a combination lock in one of our staff spaces. In these staff spaces, there is wifi, and snacks available for staff, and a quiet place to relax for your scheduled time off. 

One of our favorite parts about working at camp is the weather! Upon arriving at camp, the first few weeks might be a bit colder at night and in the mornings. As we get closer to when campers arrive, the summer temperatures are in full swing! 

Summer temperatures at night can range from a low of 55⁰ F (13⁰ C) up to about 90⁰ F (28⁰ C) on the hottest days of the summer. Most of the time though, the weather stays between 70⁰ F and 90⁰ F (21⁰ C to 32⁰ C) throughout the day. With it being colder in the mornings and at night, we suggest bringing a couple of sweatshirts, flannels, or any other kind of layer to keep warm and shed throughout the day! We also get some rain throughout the summer so we highly recommend a jacket and boots!

What is Staff Training like? 

How you go into staff training can determine how your summer will go. It is the time to learn about what we do and how we do things at Starfish to create the potential of another successful summer! We start by playing games, of course, and helping lead our staff team to create our little Starfish community! 

We sort staff into small groups, called Torchgroups, which is led by a member or two of our administrator team! You will be grouped with other members of the staff team from other specialist areas so you get to know people from all over camp! 

Between games, Torchgroup games, and getting to know each other, we have a structured schedule that we use to integrate you into what camp will be like when campers arrive! It gives our far traveling staff time to adjust to the time zone, and you learn all the important things you need to know about camp!

Support at Camp

Between getting to know your peers, we have many means of support here at Starfish. That is why we have such a big staff team!  

You always have your Torchbearer to go to as a supervisor, but you will also be assigned a summer supervisor who will regularly provide feedback throughout the summer. Any returning member of our staff team or a member of our leadership team will be a great asset to come to in times of support. They can offer advice and feedback as well as providing leadership! There is our director team as well that you can come to who can provide a bit more support or offer solutions if necessary! We also have an on-call mental health consultant to work with staff and provide resources if needed. Overall, Starfish provides support from all angles!

What we provide for our campers, we also provide for our staff!

Now that you have read through what to expect when arriving at camp, we would love to see you apply! 

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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!”

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.”

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.”

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.”

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.”

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.”