January, 2019

In a deep freeze like the country is experiencing right now, how can we NOT be thinking longingly of summer and camp? Before too long, we'll all be defrosted and happily swimming, crafting, and roasting marshmallows! 

Enclosed in this newsletter is a brief update about happenings at Starfish. We're celebrating our 20th Anniversary this year, so it's a great time to put some Starfish in your life! Positions are open on our summer staff team (do you know someone looking for a job?), we want to introduce you to our new Year-Round staff members, and camper programs are filling fast (camp info is here)! Our full-service conference and retreat center has bookings available for your family reunion, celebration, training, youth group, and more! 

How can we help you?
Please reach out to us online or by phone (978-637-2617)...we'd love to say "hi!"
Smiles from the Campfire,
Emily, Jamie, Deana, Laura, Ben & the whole Starfish team

Did You Get Our Mailing?
If you didn't receive our recent Fall/Winter Newsletter in the mail along with all the exciting news about our 20th Anniversary celebrations, as well as the "Where Are They Now?" update on many of our early campers, you're missing out on great stuff! Please email us so we can get a packet out to you and make sure we have you on our list for future mailings. You can also check them out online here:

Camp Enrollment is Happening Now!
If you've been thinking about applying to camp, don't miss out on Summer 2019! Or, if you know a child with emotional, behavioral, social or learning challenges who could benefit from structured, safe, nurturing program with an unique 1:1 staff-to-camper ratio, encourage them to learn more about opportunities for a life-changing summer!  We have many camp programs, including overnight camps for 5, 14 and 19 days, "first time" camps for 6-10 year-olds, outdoor adventure trips, and so much more! Needs-based financial aid is available. 

Do You Know A Place We Should be Recruiting?
During the winter and spring we visit lots of schools, agencies, support groups, SEPACs, camp fairs and more! We're looking to recruit campers for our programs, staff for our campers and anyone who's interested in getting more involved with Starfish!

Do you know a school, agency, college, youth group, support network, doctor's office or other location where Starfish materials should be, but aren't? Help us get out of stealth mode by letting us know where we should share our info, set up a table, or even attend an event! Drop us an email with your suggestions! You might see us in a town near you sooner than you think!

Waving Hello to: Laura Petersen, Director of Staff Experience
  We are excited to welcome Laura Petersen as our new Director of Staff Experience! The DSE role is a critical one - Laura is responsible for recruiting, hiring, onboarding and supporting our entire summer team of 110+ individuals from around the world! It's no small feat, but Laura has many years of camp experience to guide her. In addition to her degrees in psychology and photojournalism, Laura has directed three camps prior to coming to Starfish. 

Laura's already working on filling roles on the 2019 Starfish staff team, and says: "As both a youth and young adult, summer camp played a huge role in shaping who I am today. I believe in the transformative power of camp; my goal as a director is to help youth and camp staff experience a safe space to explore, to learn and to grow both as an individual and as a member of a community. I'm looking forward to supporting and guiding our staff and campers through their journey of personal growth within a great community at Camp Starfish!" You can reach Laura by email here

Waving Hello to: Ben Wiley, Site & Enrichment Coordinator 
We're also excited to welcome Ben Wiley to our year-round team! Ben has fantastic camp and outdoor experience, and will be living on site this winter to keep an eye on the camp through the snowy months! Most recently, Ben has been an Outdoor Classroom Educator and a Wilderness Trip Leader at the Chewonki Foundation in Maine. He is now working as a permanent substitute teacher in the Jaffrey-Rindge, NH schools. This summer, he'll be managing our Reaching New Heights program (the High Ropes Course and associated challenge activities) and giving guidance to our Beachcombers adventure trips, Explore! and Outdoor Cooking programs.

Waving Goodnight (but not Goodbye!) to: Beth McCollum & Joe McAshee 
We have been extraordinarily lucky to have Beth and Joe on our year-round team and will miss them both! Beth, our outgoing Director of Staff Experience, is undertaking new projects in North Carolina, where she lives with her family. She ended her full-time employment with Starfish by transitioning Laura into the role, and will continue to consult for the organization and deliver trainings for summer staff as she has been doing for almost a decade! Our Director of Year-Round Programs, Joe, was here on a J1 18-month management trainee visa which has ended. He, too has headed back home - in this case, to the UK - where he will be putting the skills and experiences he gained while at Starfish  to use in new projects as well. We will miss both of them very much and are glad they're still part of our extended Starfish family.

Book Signing & Meet-the-Author Event at the Starfish Office
Starfish is proud to host "A Conversation with Deborah Vlock," a Massachusetts resident and author of Parenting Children with Mental Health Challenges: A Guide to Life with Emotionally Complex Kids.  The first 20 RSVPs will receive a free copy of the book, which Deborah will be happy to sign for you at the event! Light refreshments will be provided. Join us for this wonderful opportunity to talk with and learn from a masterful mom! 

Sunday, March 3, 2019 4-6 PM. 
at the Starfish Office - 636 Great Rd/ Suite 2, Stow, MA 01775

Download the event flyer (PDF) to learn more! 
Please RSVP to Starfish parent Cara Falconi at  

We're Celebrating 20 Years in 2019!
We've got events, activities, reunions, and general reconnecting to do all year long! Please make sure we have your updated contact info so we can make sure to keep you in the loop about all the wonderful celebrations and happenings as we celebrate two decades of making a difference! 

Click on any of these for more info or visit  anytime for updates!
We hope you'll be celebrating with us! 

Read about the "What's Your 20?" campaign motto and why we want to know YOUR 20!
Flip through this update on many of our earliest campers and see what they're up to now, plus hear from their parents about how the Starfish experience impacted their lives!

Check out the calendar of events - it's four seasons of celebrations! 
Program Spotlight

Siblings & Relatives Can Have A Great Camp Experience Too!
As the brother, sister or relative of a child with emotional/behavioral, social and learning challenges, neurotypical siblings might sometimes feel left out or different themselves. Making friends who can relate to that can help siblings to feel less "alone" or different from their peers. It's comforting for them to see firsthand that they aren't the only one who has to have playdates outside their own home or who participates in family therapy sessions. 

Starfish's  Sibling Camp presents the perfect opportunity for children to make connections and friendships with others who "just get it." Sibling camp has a 1:4 staff-to-camper ratio and is open to anyone who lives with or is relatives with a child that would qualify for Starfish programs (they don't have to actually attend Starfish). Learn more here and get signed up for this great program today! 

We're Booking Retreats for Spring and Fall of 2019 & 2020
Did you know that Camp Starfish is not only an amazing safe haven for children during the summer but also a versatile and unique location to hold group events? All events held at Starfish provide financial operating support for our mission-based programs and the Campership fund, which makes it a GREAT place to rent for your next event!  
Youth groups, college associations, family retreats, nonprofits, religious groups, and more all love the rustic, peaceful environment that our Conference and Retreat Center offers, while also appreciating the professional event planning and support services that we provide. Our winterized, dorm-style accomodations in Crescent Lodge open up whole new vistas of opportunity for you and your group! And, if you haven't taken a virtual tour of this beautiful new facility, you can  do that here

Ch eck out our   Retreats Brochure  here! We now also offer a full high ropes course to add some fun or additional challenge to your program! 

Find out why Fitchburg State University, Applewild School, Miss Porter's School, BU, MIT, Girl Scout troops, and so many more guests think Starfish is the place for them! Interested in conducting your next staff retreat, leadership event or celebration at Camp Starfish?   Contact us today or check out options online ! 

We Need Great Summer Staff! 
We are currently hiring for summer positions including cabin life specialists, program instructors (including Boating, Martial Arts, Learning Center and more!), as well as specialty staff and LIFEGUARDS/Swim Instructors! Do you know someone ready for the adventure of a lifetime? 

We have incredible staff training, paid work and paid time off, room and board are covered and we even help with transportation to camp. It's a resume builder like no other. Check out all we have to offer staff here: 

Individuals who complete applications now can be screened, interviewed, and on to the reference checking process in only a few weeks! Imagine having summer employment locked up by Spring break! :) To go directly to the application, click here. 
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