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2016 Top-Rated Nonprofit

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

187 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Camp Starfish is an amazing experience for both kids and their families.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Our son LOVES Camp Starfish! We can't say it loudly enough or enough times how wonderful and flexible the staff is. Our son has gone there for five summers and is always excited to go there starting a countdown long before the session starts and references it multiple times during the year. Leaving him is never hard because the staff gives us a warm welcome and the structure is in place for him to have many successes, make friends and find many happy moments in all the camp areas.

Liz_91

Client Served

Rating: 5

My child finally had a successful day camp experience. We made friends, worked on skills and can't wait to return next year. This was the first camp where I felt comfortable leaving my son. I knew that they were not going to call me to pick him up like other previous summer camps! We love starfish!!

Marie81

Client Served

Rating: 5

Camp Starfish ! My family would be in a much much different place without it. My son attended for many years and is now a thriving 18 year old. Attending college classes, working as a cook and driving ! These are just a few things that at age 6 we were told he would never never ever do. Working with Camp Starfish gave him a sense of price and accomplishment.. at age 9 or 15 the camp support and activities met his needs at that time. The Camp Staff was available year round for my bazillion questions and offered referrals I would have never found. The Camp Experience shaped my child to become the man he is today.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I am a psychologist in the Boston area, and I recommend Camp Starfish to families that are raising children with emotional and behavioral struggles that make "typical" camp hard for them. Camp Starfish gives children the opportunity to build social skills and independent living skills in an environment that "meets them where they're at," and also gives families the break they may need from exhausting caregiving during the Summer months. Camp Starfish is a win-win.

1 Brad32

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This camp is amazing, I worked here for 3months during the summer and what they do is really awarding. It provides 2 weeks of intense training that gets you ready for the months ahead of different children or different abilities. This is a really rewarding camp and not only are the children learning growing and having fun there so are the staff aswell. I would highly reccomend this camp to anybody to either work there or send their child there for a session. AMAZING CAMP AND AMAZING DIRECTORS

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I had the best experience ever working for Camp Starfish. The support the counsellors, admin and directors have for one another is second to none. It was amazing to see how much the children thrived at camp. You could see a positive change in their behaviours over such a short time. I'm already planning on coming back next summer to see all the children again and see how much hard work they have put in to their goals.

Client Served

Rating: 5

This past summer was my son's 3rd at CampStarfish. For the last two summers he has asked to return…he loves the consistency of staff and children returning year after year, the engaging activities that pair him with peers and the way that the staff really gets to know him as an individual and supports him where he is at.

He is working towards leadership skills and the staff there support his goal through coaching. He has found mentors and coaches, peers he continues to connect with and a host of other surprises throughout the year….from time to time he will surprise me with a memory of something he tried at camp and he credits his willingness to try new things as something learned at camp.

I am impressed with the level of education and experience of the staff at camp. The counselors are the best I have seen anywhere and I as am excited about my son's camp experience as he is.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Camp Starfish helped my son accept himself and he has flourished since the summer. I can't wait for summer so he can attend the Beachcombers program!

Shannon138

Client Served

Rating: 5

Our son had his first experience at Camp Starfish this past summer. He had so much fun that he wanted to stay the ENTIRE summer and hopes to do so next year. Lovely staff, fun activities, and your child is happy... what more can a MOM ask for :)

Nicole172

Client Served

Rating: 5

Our son deals with a lot. He is 15, has ADHD, is on the autism spectrum, has severe food allergies and has a tough time with emotional regulation. He has never had the opportunity to go to an overnight camp... until Camp Starfish! This camp is amazing. Not only did they help with the difficulties he deals with, but they worked with us so he could have a safe environment for his meals. This is above and beyond for a family who has dealt with many restrictions for our son due to his allergies. The staff could not have been more understanding, helpful and amazing. From the many activities, the support and even dealing with nighttime "accidents", this was an experience for our son like no other. He met so many wonderful campers, some of which he has kept in touch with! He also still talks about how great the staff was and how much he learned from them. When we attended the last day activities, I had tears in my eyes seeing how my son finally "fit in". He was with wonderful people who "get him". This is a one of kind camp that deserves any recognition that it gets!