The Ultimate Guide to New England Summer Camps for 2021
No matter what you’re searching for, there is a summer camp or program that’s right for your child. Though this summer will look different, you can still give your kids a summer to remember. According to Bud Copeland of the American Camp Association, one of the most common questions the ACA New England office hears is, “Can you help me find a camp?” This year, that search may have gotten more complicated as New England’s six states each have slightly different approaches to guidelines regarding camps and academic programs during the coronavirus pandemic. However, he says his main pieces of advice remain as true as ever. Not sure where to start in your search for the right summer camp or program for your child? Here are three timeless tips for choosing the right camp for your child.
Start in New England. Youth camping started in New England in 1861, and that has grown to hundreds of diverse opportunities for a quality camp experience in each state. New England camps include traditional overnight and day programs, tripping camps, and specialty camps ranging from STEM education to culinary and performing arts. Not every camp is for every camper, but there is a camp in New England for every camper out there.
Do your homework. Parents have a wealth of resources to help them collect information and decide which program is right for their family. Most camps have websites that have the pertinent information you need, and ACA, New England’s Find a Camp map lists all Accredited camps in the region. Talk through the goals of camp with your camper, create a list of camps in your area of interest, gather the nuts and bolts information: dates, cost of tuition and fees, location, session length, academic specialty, and more, and finally, reach out to the programs!
Communicate. Camp directors love to talk about camp. Reach out to the camps and programs on your list to schedule phone calls, Zoom meetings, or in-person tours when available. Directors love to share experiences, discuss safety protocols, and answer any questions you may have. When in doubt, ask the camp. You may be asking them to care for or educate your child this summer, and camp directors have the same goal as the parents. They want campers to go home healthy, happy, and having made some good memories and friends. Below, discover some of the region’s most exciting day and overnight summer opportunities.
Summer programs at Berklee College of Music are designed for musicians, actors, and dancers who want to tap into their artistic potential and study under award-winning industry professionals. Beginners will find programs that provide foundational skills while advanced students will explore what it takes to make a career out of their art. Over one weekend or throughout the entire summer, students collaborate with talented peers, sharpen their technical skills, and gain a deeper understanding of their craft. A summer at Berklee offers exactly what artists need to inspire their next move, whether it’s on the page, in the studio, or center stage. Boston, Massachusetts | 617-747-2245
The Boston Leadership Institute is an award-winning summer STEM program for high-achieving teens. One-week introductory programs and three-week competitive admissions programs provide teens the opportunity to explore engineering, medicine, business, and science with top educators from the Boston area and beyond. Boston, Massachusetts | 781-431-2514
Brother and sister camps in New Hampshire’s Lakes Region, Camp Bernadette and Camp Fatima are joyful Catholic communities offering fun and active camping experiences with a sense of belonging for all. With programs for campers ages 6–15, and endless choices of activities from tubing on the waterfront to climbing high above camp on the ropes course, Bernadette and Fatima’s programs have something unique to offer each child. Accredited by the American Camp Association, Camp Bernadette for Girls and Camp Fatima for Boys provide a safe, outdoor
camping experience where campers and staff grow in faith, confidence, and friendship. Gilmanton IW, New Hampshire | 603-931-5500
Cardigan Mountain School Summer Session is the perfect balance between academic enrichment and summertime fun for boys and girls ages 8–15. The daily schedule consists of morning classes of more than 50 course offerings, followed by camp activities, sports, and games. The beautiful lakeside campus, located in the mountains of New Hampshire, provides the perfect setting for authentic learning, personal development, summertime fun, and making friends that will last a lifetime. Canaan, New Hampshire | 603-523-3526
Cushing Academy’s Summer Session has a long tradition of providing students from across the United States and around the world with meaningful and memorable learning and living
experiences. Each student designs a program based on their own academic or artistic pursuits and extracurricular interests. Countless options for fun activities and weekend trips make for a truly unique experience. As our students like to say, it’s the “best summer ever!” In 2021, Cushing Academy is looking forward to welcoming students for both on-campus and online Summer Session programs. Ashburnham, MA | 978-827-7700
At EXPLO, students choose from dozens of courses, activities, and community events that help them develop their strengths and interests while making friends from across the U.S. and around the world. Their personalized approach to learning engages students’ curiosity and imagination through hands-on projects that provide an opportunity to make, create, build, and explore subjects from engineering and architecture to visual arts, leadership skills, physical sciences, and more. Beyond academics, students develop independence, responsibility, determination, and an entrepreneurial mindset in a safe and supportive community. Wheaton College, Norton, Massachusetts | 781-762-7400
Since 1976, EXPLO has pioneered summer programs that combine the best aspects of summer—freedom, fun, and friendship—with highly engaging, project-based learning experiences that help students discover their strengths and interests. Our supportive community and approach to student-driven learning invite curious and enthusiastic students from around the world to step outside of their comfort zones, build confidence and independence, and expand their worldview as they collaborate with peers from different backgrounds and cultures. Explore subjects from financial management and entrepreneurship to robotics, graphic novels, medical careers, and more. 781-762-7400
A rapidly changing world requires a different kind of summer program—
one developed with innovators on the frontiers of academia and industry. Join a community of intellectually curious students in grades 10–12 to tackle real-world projects, get coaching from experts, and gain exclusive access to labs, studios, and workspaces that are shaping the future. What’s more? You’ll live, study, and explore on a safe and stunning 750-acre campus with peers who will become lifelong friends. Programs in artificial intelligence, business, forensic science, engineering, law, medicine, and psychology/neuroscience. Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley, Massachusetts | 781-762-7400
Joy, creativity, gratitude, and community—these core values are what make Ghostlight Theatre Camp such a special place. Considering the past year, your child has never been more ready to spend time away from a screen and on the stage. At Ghostlight, campers joyfully explore their creative side under close, supportive instruction, all while appreciating the beautiful landscape of Maine. The distinguished artistic staff hail from some of the biggest theater productions on Broadway and around the world who teach ensemble theater methods that celebrate collaboration and instill strong leadership skills campers will carry with them for life. Oakland, Maine | 207-358-0641
Whether your camper wants to swim, summit, or shred, they’re bound to love the great outdoors in Hale’s ACA-accredited programs. Routinely named a family favorite by Boston parents, Hale boasts 1,137 acres in Westwood and Dover that feature 20 miles of trails, two ropes courses, four ponds, expansive beaches, and a private skills park. Ages 4–12 enjoy classic camp activities that include boating, archery, and field games, and older campers pursue their passion for mountain biking and hiking on multi-day excursions in the Berkshires and White Mountains. Westwood, Massachusetts | 781-326-1770
Since 1948, Hidden Valley Camp has hosted the finest summer programs, fostering friendship, skill development, and personal growth. Professional staff, directors who have lived on-site for more than 30 years, delicious meals, a private lake and pool, and 350 acres of fields and forest all inspire parents to express their gratitude. “Peter and Meg have developed a nurturing and creative environment that fosters independence and interdependence at the same time,” says one parent. They are open for 2021 and coronavirus-ready. Freedom, Maine | 800-922-6737
Kingsley Pines Camp in Southern Maine puts a premium on keeping kids safe and parents at ease. Kingsley Pines is full of discovery and adventure; campers are swept up in the enthusiasm and fun activities from the moment they arrive. They quickly form lifelong friendships and gain independence in an “unplugged” environment with staff serving as the kind of role models parents expect. Discover more about their two and three-week coed sessions for ages 8–16 at kingsleypines.com. Raymond, Maine | 207-894-9030
New Art’s programs are designed for students in grades K–12 interested in developing skills, creativity, and self-expression in the arts at any ability level. Children in grades K–5 spend school and summer vacations immersed in the arts. Each week will be packed with possibilities, imagination, and fun as students explore four exciting activities each day: 2D, 3D, performing arts, and clay. Teens in grades 6–12 spend February, April, and summer vacation expressing their ideas, developing skills, learning art techniques, and building their art portfolio. Newton, Massachusetts | 617-964-3424
Putney Summer Arts is a summer camp like no other. Over the course of four weeks, you’ll have dedicated and focused time every day to grow as an artist in a supportive community where you can truly be yourself. Whether you’re trying something for the first time or honing your craft, Putney Summer Arts faculty will be here to guide you on your individual path. All of this happens on a beautiful 500-acre campus in Southern Vermont. Join the tight-knit community of young artists ages 14-17 for the flagship summer program where you’ll find the space and support needed to fully immerse yourself in the craft of your choosing. Putney, Vermont | 802-387-6297
The Russian School of Mathematics is an award-winning, after-school math enrichment program for K–12 students. Recently featured in NPR and the Atlantic magazine as one of the key players in the “Math Revolution,” and ranked one of the best schools in the world by the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth, RSM helps children of all levels build a solid math foundation and develop their critical-thinking and problem-solving skills. Summer provides a great opportunity for students to learn and advance without the typical pressures of the academic year. RSM offers a variety of courses through its summer enrichment program for students looking to get a head start on the academic year or looking for an additional challenge in math. RSM summer schedule is designed for students of all levels, from kindergarten to calculus and SAT preparation. 14 locations in Massachusetts | 855-MATH-855
Unparalleled outdoor camp experiences at eight world-class properties, including Crane Estate, World’s End, deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, and four working farms. Whether your campers like farms or fields, woods or waves, art-making or culinary creations, The Trustees Summer Camp has an amazing—and safe—summer lined up for them. Farm, coast, art, and forest adventures cultivate a sense of wonder and develop connections with the natural world and new friends. Camps run June through August, with full-day options for ages 4–17. Ipswich, Hingham, Lincoln, Dover, Medfield, and Edgartown, Massachusetts | 978-338-1166
The American Camp Association, New England is a community of camp professionals who, for more than one hundred years, have joined together to share knowledge and experience and to ensure the quality of camp programs. ACA, New England accredits nearly 400 day and overnight summer camps in the six New England states. As one of the only independent organizations in the country to locally administer the Accreditation program of the American Camp Association, ACA, New England is proud to be here for you, to serve you, to advocate for you—to support you in the birthplace of camps. Lexington, Massachusetts | 781-540-6080This post was produced and paid for by Boston Magazine