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Camp Starfish Inc

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Camp Fire, Camps, Children & Youth, Children & Youth Services, Sports, Youth Development

Mission:

Camp Starfish fosters the success and growth of children with emotional, behavioral and learning problems by providing individualized attention as part of structured, nurturing and fun group programs.

Results: Campers show improvement in taking increased responsibility for their own actions, demonstrating more positive attitude, displaying greater eagerness to engage in new activities and demonstrating increased self-esteem and greater confidence in their own ability to succeed.

Target demographics: The largest numbers of children attending Camp Starfish come from the Greater Boston area. They lead troubled, difficult lives. In recent years, there has been an explosion in the numbers of youngsters diagnosed with debilitating psychological and learni

Programs:

The level of support and structure afforded by the consistent and focused attention given to every one of our children at any time accounts in large measure for the outstanding successes our campers have achieved during the past thirteen summers.  During this time, more than 2,000 youngsters have benefited from the compassionate and caring environment that is the hallmark of Camp Starfish. 

Summer Programs include: Day Camp, Pioneers & Navigators (resident camp), Older Camper Programs, Teen adventure camp (Beachcombers), leadership development programs (l.e.a.d.e.r.s. and STAR Corps), and young adult mentorship programs (DCA and Crew), as well as staff training and development. Weekenders Respite programs are available during the school year.

Community Stories

199 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Suzanne47

Client Served

Rating: 5

Camp starfish was a life saver for our family. Our daughter had many social, emotional issues and had a really hard time coping. Camp starfish was the only place she felt accepted and centered. The three weeks she spent every summer there was a wonderful retreat for her and for our whole family. She came back happy and had the coping tools to be successful at home. Eventually we adopted our son who had experienced serious trauma in his previous life. He thrived at camp starfish and was so happy there. The staff never flinched with his behaviors. Everyone treated my kids with kindness and caring thoughtfulness. The communication flow back home was amazing. I consider Camp Starfish our family’s saving grace!!

Previous Stories

Client Served

Rating: 5

Our daughter struggled with PTSD, anxiety and social issues. She spent 4 summers at camp starfish. She blossomed under the guidance of the wonderful caring and patient staff. She so looked forward to her three weeks there and we looked forward to the respite and the changed child we would get back. Our foster son spent two summers there he had a wonderful positive experience finding acceptance and understanding for his difficulties and thrived. I don't think we would have survived our parenting challenges without the promise of the children attending camp starfish!!

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Client Served

Rating: 5

I vividly remember my previous camp experience as part of the leaders program in 2016, I felt like I was turning into a new version of myself because I have Developed so many crucial independent living skills for instance
1. My ability to use coping skills to deal with complicated thoughts,situations and emotions
2. Increased ability to self advocate for my needs and wants
3. I made a lot of meaningful friendships with the younger day campers as a role model as a day camp assistant and the younger girls from my bunk in star village
camp starfish completely changed my life and I now I feel extremely motivated and inspired to eventually become a staff member or a camp chef because I have a culinary assistant work position school Ive had since April of 2016 and I want to make a difference for a camper and their family members as a member of the staff population at camp starfish

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Camp Starfish is a one of kind summer camp. Serving children and teens with a wide range of social, emotional, behavioral, and learning needs, Starfish empowers its campers (and staff!) to be the most successful versions of themselves. Each camper is provided with 1:1 support by a talented and dedicated staff team capable of seeing and developing the amazing personalities and skills held by every Starfish child. Its "the hardest job you'll ever love" and after one, two, three... seven, eight, nine years later it'll still be hard, but watching the campers grow and sharing their success with their families is exactly why so many of our kids and staff come back to Starfish each summer.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

This is a truly amazing place that allows children to be the very best versions of themselves. Here they are supported as they try new things away from home, while also working on social and coping skills. I highly recommend Camp Starfish, there is no other place like it!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Camp Starfish is the first camp I recommend to the families I work with. They provide amazing services for children and families and are so responsive to the needs of the families they serve.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Six years ago, I was just another college student looking for some purpose and inspiration. I had never worked at a summer camp before, but I am thankful every day that I applied and accepted. I saw that ordinary people can do extradoinary things with a lot of care, structure, and engagement. My life was changed. Everyone has those moments of clarity where things are going to change. Mine changed for the better when I was there. I made friends that were my coworkers, roommates, confidants, and cheerleaders all in one. They know a part of me that only a special few will truly understand. I met supervisors that led me down the right paths by supporting me and turned into mentors for life. I was privileged to be able to enter several children's lives and some of them have a place in my heart forever. Camp Starfish is not just a camp. It is a place to learn, grow and have fun (especially when tutus are involved). The values, tools, and strategies are so ingrained into my brain that is is second nature and part of my philosophy as a School Social Worker. I would recommend Camp Starfish for anyone that is looking for opportunity for growth and seeing real life superheroes at work.

Laura D.1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Camp Starfish is genuinely a place where miracles happen. I worked there for a summer and the kids who came to Camp Starfish left having gone through a positive change that I have never seen replicated in any program since. I am now a school psychologist and I am constantly reminding myself of the ways that Camp Starfish built confidence, independence, and self regulation in its campers. If every school was able to provide the level of support and care that Camp Starfish provides, out world would be a better place. The best people I've ever met work here and they care about every camper down to the core of who they are. I would recommend this Camp to any and everyone who feels like they've tried everything with their child but nothing seems to help. Trust me...Camp Starfish will help. It's a miracle Camp based on research based practices and a whole lot of love.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

We’ve heard there’s a mermaid in the lake, a little red wagon which YOU can’t ride in, and a 1:1 camper to counselor ratio. Honestly, the wagon part is pretty cool too. We are glad to have been part of this brilliant, majestic, imagination-filled wonderland since 2006. Camp Starfish is a memory-making and miracle-making experience for all: campers, counselors, and families.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The most amazing place I have ever worked (as a counselor). One summer changed my life in the way Camp Starfish changes the lives of it's Campers! You wont regret sending your child here, and you wont regret volunteering your time, or donating your money! There are not enough words to describe the positive impact this camp will have in helping your child with their individual needs.
This is a safe, encouraging, fun, and positive environment for kids to grow and succeed and learn to have confidence in themselves.
Camp Starfish is a place I'll forever hold a place in my heart!

Kerri A.1

Client Served

Rating: 5

It is now Oct 31 and my grandson has still not stopped talking about his camp ecperience at Starfish last summer. My Dad ran an overnight camp kn NH so I know a great camp when I see it. Starfis was above and beyond our hopes and dreams. Such a caring, fun, and incredibly hard working, well-organized camp staff and program. I never could have believed my grandson could thrive in an overnight camp. We cannot wait fof next summer, when we hope he can attend one of the longer camp sessions. Love Camp Starfish!

Elisabeth C.1

Client Served

Rating: 5

There are many moments in life that can go by unnoticed. Where the effects are so slight that they remain unseen. Where you are left wondering if you made the right decision, or if you should have done something differently. The impact of Camp Starfish on our daughter is not one of those moments. The impact was immediate, clear and lasting. Her confidence, her understanding of herself and of others, her friendships all built at Camp Starfish this year have only strengthened. To say that Camp Starfish is a life changing experience is perhaps to put it too mildly.
We are deeply thankful and grateful for the amazing dedication of the staff and counselors who work with our children. We are awed and inspired by the tenacity it takes to build and develop such a program and moreover to expand and improve it year after year. Camp Starfish is an amazing nonprofit and we have recommended it to others again and again.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Camp Starfish saved our lives. It did more than just provide fun 24 hours a day. I had a sense of peace knowing that she was going to a camp that would understand her needs; she didn't do very well in other camps. And it gave me time to decompress. I needed that break as an adult as much as she needed camp. She had 1-to-1 support at Starfish. She was so happy to swim, to make things in arts and crafts, to be an active member in a group, etc.

My daughter found it very difficult to make friends at school, but she made friends at Camp Starfish and looked forward to seeing the kids and counselors the following summer. She learned social skills that helped her at school and outside of school.

She remembers the Starfish rules: Try your best; you don't have to be the best. Try something new. Treat others they way you want to be treated. She applies those rules to her life as a young adult.

We both loved Camp Starfish and the caring, supportive staff.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I worked at Starfish for two years and absolutely loved it! The camp cares so much about each and every camper, and the staff are specially trained to help each camper with their own needs. The 1:1 ratio allows campers to get the positive attention they need, so they can enjoy themselves and be successful at camp. There are so many different activities and experiences for campers that they can easily find a way to engage with camp, the counselors, and even build social connections with other campers.

Starfish has changed so many lives, both campers and counselors, and I wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone looking to give a child a positive, fun camp experience that they honestly would not be able to have at other places.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Our son has multiple mental health issues and has struggled at camps in the past. The individualized and specialized attention he received at Camp Starfish helped him to be successful.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

My son has been to camp starfish twice and had the best time ever. If anyone asks him his favorite place to go he says "What do you think ? Camp starfish of course ". It is the best camp and all of the workers there are GREAT, they do a wonderful job and deserve lots of praise. Hope to see you all again next year. Your the best
Susan Chapman
Jonathan's Mom

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Not s sprawling camp. More compact which is good especially when moving special needs campers from one activity to another. Still has a "woodsy" feel to it without too many hills to converse. Nice waterfront. Attentive and caring staff. Meals served family style so campers eat with a group at the table and have some control over what and how much they eat. Interacting with the same group each meal also helps to build bonds. Variety of daily activities offered as well as typical evening camp activities like camp fires, songs, and skits.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

My 13 year old daughter attended a two-week session at Camp Starfish this year for the first time. We had many reservations about sending her for this camp, but it was the best thing we could have done for her. With the anxiety and social/emotional issues that she deals with, it was such an amazing accomplishment and experience for her.
As her parent, I was so overwhelmed on pick-up day to see all of the amazing friends she had made, as well as the relationships that she had made with her counselors. They all knew her by name, and one counselor even got choked up when she said good-bye. She learned how to be positive, deal with her emotions, gained responsibility, and learned that she is a strong young lady that can make it on her own.
We are so proud of her and so thankful to Camp Starfish for giving her such an amazing and positive experience! Looking forward to next year already!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I worked at Camp Starfish during the summer of 2016 as a group counselor and it was the greatest summer of my life. Working with the staff and campers was an unbelievable experience for me. Camp Starfish does a great job of allowing kids to get an opportunity to do something they have never done before. My favorite thing about the camp is its structure. They make sure everyone is following all the rules and just as importantly having fun.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

The counselors are very high quality. The staff really do what they say they will do; they give each child the attention and encouragement to be successful, and grow more independent. My son who is 14 went to Camp Starfish. He is at an age when the average person his age is doing things very different from what he is able to do. The social, and developmental differences are too big for him have real friendships and activities with average people his age.
He made friends at Camp Starfish, and a special closer friend; this growth has helped him with his social skills now that he is home. When I picked him up, he was very happy about his experience. He looked very confident and comfortable with himself. Before this was not how he looked in social situations. He enjoyed activities he already likes and tried new ones too.

Client Served

Rating: 5

My son has social disabilities and I was so nervous on sending him to camp. When I called the office to talk with someone they were so helpful and understanding, but also encouraging. I immediately signed him up for a day camp and now 5 years later there hasn't been a summer that he has attended. He loves it. He doesn't feel like an outsider, and he's encouraged to reach goals and the team is more than educated on how to assist him. Every year he grows and the relationship we have with Camp Starfish is invaluable. I couldn't imagine a summer without them.