Summer Camp FAQs

Summer Camp FAQs

Day Camp FAQs

A. Under the guidance of a caring staff, we want all campers to spend time doing what they love, discovering new interests, making joyful memories and building lasting friendships. Our goal for everyone at camp is to go home at the end of the day so energized by the fun they had and the people they shared it with, the challenges they took on and the the successes they enjoyed that they can’t wait to come back the next day.

A. Families choose our camp for many reasons.  We are smaller than many of the other camps in the area, so we can offer a more personal experience for our campers.  We take pride in getting to know our campers and camp families.  The campers build strong friendships and look forward to returning to camp to see their friends.  Our counselors focus on building relationships with every camper.  Our specialists are highly-qualified educators who enjoy sharing their expertise with the campers.  Parents often mention that our swim program is outstanding, and they are amazed by the progress their child made during camp.  Our extensive outdoor facilities (including two swimming pools, tennis courts, gaga pit, archery range, playgrounds, and many playing fields) and indoor spaces (including our new Center for Innovation, 3 gymnasiums, arts center, imagination station, woodshop, and brand-new Center for the Arts) enable us to offer a wide array of traditional and modern camp activities.  At our camp, we help children gain 21st century skills (leadership, teamwork, adaptability, perseverance, creativity) that will help them be successful now and throughout their lives.

A. In order to support families’ schedules, we offer Extended Day in the morning, beginning at 8:00 AM, and in the afternoons, until 6:00 PM.

A. Yes, we are accredited by the American Camp Association.  We regularly undergo a rigorous review of our operations and policies to ensure that our practices reflect the most up-to-date, research-based standards in camping.  Accreditation means we care enough to reach far beyond the minimum state and local regulations. ACA-accreditation status is solid proof of our accountability, credibility, and commitment.

A. Yes, each summer we undergo the inspection and licensing process by the Department of Health and Human Services. This ensures that our camp provides an appropriate environment to protect the health, safety, and well-being of our campers.

A. Definitely! Our camp parents are always willing to speak to prospective families. Please contact the office for more information.

A. We are extremely sensitive to nut, dairy, and other allergies. We are not peanut free, but make a great effort to protect the children who have allergies. If a child in a group has a severe nut allergy, we will contact all parents of the campers in that group to ask them to refrain from sending their child to camp with nut products.  All of the snacks we serve do not contain peanuts, tree nuts, or hidden nut products.  We do not serve pre-packaged snacks that are “produced in a facility that processes peanuts and tree nuts.”  Campers are only allowed to eat the food we provide or the items packed by their parents.  Our camp counselors receive food allergy training and closely supervise lunch and snack time.  

A. With the exception of the youngest groups (which may be based on age), camp groups are based on the grade (using local public school age requirements) the camper is entering in the fall. Groups for campers in pre-school through entering grade 1 are co-ed. Groups for campers entering grades 2-7 are divided into male and female groups.  These groups do mix for some activities.  Campers entering grade 8 participate in our co-ed Teen Trippers Camp where they go on exciting field trips every day. We offer a Counselor In Training program for campers entering grades 9 and 10.

A. Yes, if there is space in that group, we are happy to honor requests for friends to be placed together.

A. Generally there are no more than 14 campers in each Lower Camp group, 16 campers in each Middle Camp group, and 18 campers in each Upper Camp group.   Our ratios are listed below:

Division Number of Staff    Number of Campers
Lower Camp 1 5
Middle Camp 1 6
Upper Camp & Teen Trippers 1 8

A. Please view our Day Camp Packing List for a clear list of what you should send with your child to camp.

A. Our staff includes senior counselors (group leaders) who are college age or older, assistant senior counselors who have just graduated from high school, and junior counselors who are 17- years-old (or 16-years-old if they have completed our Counselor in Training Program). Many of our senior counselors are professional teachers during the school year. Approximately 65% of our staff return to camp the following summer, and many of our staff are former Fessenden campers.

A. Our specialists are highly-qualified professional educators who have experience in leading activities with children. They enjoy sharing their expertise to help the campers gain new skills and a feeling of accomplishment.

A. We follow a rigorous procedure for selecting staff. Following the interview, we conduct a background check that includes reviewing the applicant’s work history and speaking to references. We also obtain a Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) from the Massachusetts Criminal History Systems Board. We also obtain a Sex Offender Registry Information (SORI) report from the Massachusetts Sex Offender Registry Board. In addition, a fingerprinting check is mandatory for all employees.

A. The Health Center is committed to keeping our campers healthy. It is staffed by a team of nurses, led by the Health Center Director. The Health Center is open throughout the camp day, and is equipped to provide first aid and emergency treatment care.

A. We want to ensure that each child has a safe and positive experience at Fessenden Summer Camps. Prior to registering, feel free to call the Summer Camps office at 617-630-2373 to discuss your child’s specific needs, any concerns you may have, and to find out if our camp is an appropriate placement.

Children must be 3.5 years old by June 30 (December birth month) to be eligible for camp.

All children must be fully toilet trained in order to attend camp.

A. For all full-day campers, the daily schedule includes instructional swim and free swim, as well as a wide range of athletic and creative activities. During the course of the week, camp groups participate in archery, ceramics, science and nature, woodworking, theater, tennis, media arts, and many more activities. Campers in Upper Camp (grades 4-7) have a weekly choice period where they engage in a project (such as making a car in woodworking or improving their strokes in tennis) for a full week.

A. In general about 60% of the day is spent outside. Swimming, tennis, archery, and sports are outdoor activities. Theater, music, dance and the arts usually take place in an indoor space.

A. The school’s campus allows us access to many indoor spaces including 3 gymnasiums, a performing arts center, and many classrooms. Other than swimming and archery, we can do all other activities in an indoor space.

A. The goals of lower camp sports are to promote fitness, to introduce a range of sports and physical activities, and to provide the campers with fundamental skills that translate across athletics. During the sports period, campers participate in games and activities to learn and develop skills and teamwork, and then apply those skills in sports such as soccer, kickball, and relay races.

A. We have two outdoor pools. Our big pool is a six-lane lap pool that goes from a 3.5-feet-deep teaching section to a 9-feet deep end. Our small pool has a shallow side that is 3-feet-deep across and only goes up to 4.5 feet. It is ideal for young beginner swimmers. The big pool is heated.  Both pools are in the sun all day and do not take long to warm up.

A. We follow the American Red Cross Learn-to-Swim program. Our swim staff evaluates each camper on his/her first day of camp. Campers are then placed in Red Cross levels with their peers. Our instructors pride themselves on the development and success of each camper in their classes.

A. We always handle these situations with compassion and respect. We know that the pool can be a foreign place for some campers, or a child may have had a negative experience in the past. Our swim staff gains the child’s trust and meets the child where they are. With support and encouragement, campers achieve individual success in the pool.

A. If you are looking to enroll for only one week of camp, you can sign up for our Week 9 Day Camp (August 19th-23rd) for campers entering kindergarten through grade 7.  This is a great way to try Fessenden Day Camp.  Otherwise, we require a minimum of 2 consecutive weeks. Once a camper is enrolled in two consecutive weeks, you can add on individual and non-consecutive weeks.

A. Yes! This is the primary option for payment as part of the online enrollment process.

A. Nearly 50% of our campers attend for 4 or more weeks.  Nearly 25% of our campers attend for 6 or more weeks.

A. The camp provides a nutritious, nut-free snack to all campers each morning.  Every day we offer apples, baby carrots, and sunbutter cups.  Daily snacks include cheese sticks, whole-grain Goldfish, whole-grain cinnamon Goldfish, Craisins, and Go-gurts.  We also have a popsicle break each afternoon where we provide all-natural, dye-free popsicles.  Parents can provide their own snacks for their child if they prefer.

We do not provide lunch.  Campers need to bring a lunch to camp each day.


A. We have a refrigerated trailer where all of the lunches are stored.

A. Campers can be dropped off beginning at 8:50am, unless they are enrolled in AM Extended Day, in which case, campers can be dropped off at 8:00am.

A. Yes. We will have your child ready and waiting in the office where you will sign him or her out.

A. We have a very efficient and safe system for getting campers out of their cars. Everyone drops off at the same location, using the entrance off 250 Waltham Street. Our specialists and pool staff assist in getting the campers out of their cars and accompany them to their group meeting place on the field. We ask that you please stay in your vehicle during drop-off to help our system run safely and smoothly. If you would like to walk your camper to their group, please use the parking lot located to the right after the entrance.

A. We have 3 locations for pick-up depending on the age of the camper:

Lower Camp uses the Waltham Street entrance and picks up in front of the camp office entrance.

Middle Camp uses the Waltham Street entrance, then turns left and keeps to the left (alongside the field).

Upper Camp uses the Craft Street entrance and picks up in front of the Athletic Center.
If you have campers in more than one camp, you will use the combined carpool pick-up area off the Waltham Street entrance using the right lane (where drop-off takes place in the morning).
To ensure the safety of the campers, you will be given a Pick-Up Card that you present to the counselors at pick-up time.  Counselors assist in getting campers into the car (and car seat if needed). We ask that you please stay in your vehicle during pick-up to help our system run safely and smoothly.

A. No, we do not currently offer transportation, but we can help with carpool information.  There is a place on the application to indicate that you are interested in having your name added to the list of families interested in carpooling to camp.  If you wish to be added to this list after you submit the application, please contact the camp office.  The list will be shared with all families before camp begins so that families can make carpool arrangements.

We encourage you to put sunscreen on your child before drop-off, even if it is cloudy or raining. Please send in your preferred sunscreen labeled with your camper’s name. Counselors will re-apply (or remind and assist older campers to reapply) sunscreen throughout the day.

Sports Camp FAQs

A. The Sports Camps run from 9:00am until 3:00pm.  The exceptions to this are: Half-Day Tennis Camp, Tennis + Day Camp, Half-Day Squash Camp, and Squash + Day Camp.

A. Optional extended day programs are available upon request after camp.

A. Prior to the start of camp you will receive a Parent Handbook with detailed information regarding drop-off/pick-up locations and times. It will also include details for the first day of camp and a reminder of what to bring to camp.

All participants should bring:

Water bottle to be refilled throughout the day (we provide plenty of water at all times)
Swimsuit and towel and pool shoes or sandals to walk to the pool area
Sunscreen (please apply before camp in the morning); Spray sunscreen is recommended over lotion
Lunch in a lunch bag labeled clearly with the camper’s name

A. All boys and girls are welcome. We welcome players of all levels of experience and skill.

A. Boys and girls are grouped by the grade they will be entering in the fall.

Campers take part in drills and competitions within their groups, to ensure the best possible competitive balance for a fun and developmental experience while at camp.

A. Yes, as long as the age/ability grouping makes sense. During the registration process, you may make friend requests for your child. We will do our best to make sure friend requests are honored.

A. Yes, our online enrollment system allows you to pay by credit card.

A. You will receive an email confirmation once you have registered your child.

A. Yes. As the start of your child’s camp approaches, you will receive a Parent Handbook that includes information on what your child should bring to camp, as well as pick-up and drop-off times and locations.

A. No. Sports camps are available in one-week and two-week sessions.

A. Registering early will ensure that your child will have a space in your preferred weeks of camp. If you decide to add an additional week of camp after your initial enrollment , your child’s online account will allow you to add additional weeks without having to create a new account. Simply login and add another week of camp. If space is available your child will be enrolled and you will receive the acknowledgement email. If the week you want to add is already full, your child will be placed on a wait list.

A. It is always a good day for camp. We have extensive indoor gym facilities which allow us to move indoors as needed. Our classrooms are fully equipped with projectors to allow for film study.

A. Yes. Your child’s lunch will be refrigerated at camp. Soccer Camp offers the option of purchasing lunch at camp. Details will be included in the Soccer Camp Parent Handbook.

A. When you enroll, you will have the opportunity to share all of your child’s pertinent health information.The Sports Camps are staffed during camp hours with a registered nurse who is  available to discuss your child’s needs. The nurse will review all health information as provided by the parents in the online enrollment. This will include allergy action plans. The nurse will share the allergy information with the coaching staff to ensure the safety of your child.

A. This camp complies with all of the regulations of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and is licensed by the Newton Board of Health.  We follow a rigorous procedure for selecting staff. Following the interview, we conduct a background check that includes reviewing the applicant’s work history and speaking to references. We also obtain a Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) from the Massachusetts Criminal History Systems Board. We also obtain a Sex Offender Registry Information (SORI) report from the Massachusetts Sex Offender Registry Board. In addition, a fingerprinting check is mandatory for all employees.

A. Please feel free to contact us at or 617-630-2373 at any time to receive answers to your questions.