Frequently Asked Questions

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About Fessenden Summer Camps

What is the camp’s philosophy?

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.

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 Center for Innovation, 3 gymnasiums, arts center, imagination station, woodshop, and 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.

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. Our last accreditation was completed in July 2023.

Yes, each summer we undergo an 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.

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

Day to Day at Fessenden Summer Camp

What are camp hours?

Full Day Camp runs from 8:50am-4pm. The Half day program runs from 9am-1pm. Many of our specialty and sport camps have varying hours. June Camps and the Final Five Week run from 9am-3pm. Please see the specific camps’ page for more information on hours of operation.

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.

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

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.

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. During June Sessions 1 and 2 we only provide PM care, and during the Final Five Week we only offer AM Care.

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 Craft Street entrance, then stays in the straight lane and picks up their child on the right in front of the tent.

Upper Camp uses the Craft Street entrance and picks up in front of the Athletic Center.

June Camps and the Final Five Camp pickup information will be sent in advance.

If you have campers in more than one camp, you will pick up all of your children at the location of your youngest camper. To ensure the safety of the campers, you will be given a colored 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.

No, we do not currently offer transportation.

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.

Fessenden has many climate controlled spaces on campus that provide campers plenty of chances to cool off on hot days.

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.

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.

Camper Groups

How are the camp groups formed?

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. All groups are co-ed. 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.

Yes, if there is space in that group, we are happy to honor requests for friends to be placed together. We ask that all friend requests be given to us prior to the last pay in full date to allow us enough time to accommodate the request.

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


Are the pools indoor or outdoor? Are they heated?

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.

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. There is no instructional swim during June Session camps or during the Final Five Week. These weeks will have a free swim period only during the day.

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.

Food and Nutrition

Does the camp provide lunch and/or snacks?

We do not provide lunch. Campers need to bring a lunch to camp each day. 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 items like cheese sticks, whole-grain Goldfish, whole-grain cinnamon Goldfish, Craisins, and Go-gurts. Snacks are offered on a rotational schedule to avoid snack fatigue. 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.

Campers keep their lunches in their group classrooms or other air-conditioned spaces on campus. Some families also choose to place an ice pack in their campers lunch box.


How do you deal with nut or other allergies?

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.

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.

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.

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.

Fessenden Summer Camp Staff

Who are your counselors?

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. Many of our staff return to camp the following summer, and many of our staff are former Fessenden campers.

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.

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.

Fessenden Summer Camp Registration Information

What is the minimum age to be eligible for camp?

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.

If you are looking to enroll for only one week of camp, you can sign up for our Final Five Week (August 19st-23th) 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.

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

Yes! Please contact our camp office email to set up a tour.

Registration closes the Sunday a week prior to that given week (7 days before the start of the week). This is to allow us ample time to coordinate groupings, schedules, and ratios.


What payment options do you take?

Our preferred method of payment is Credit Card. We accept VISA, Mastercard, and most other major credit cards. We cannot accept American Express Cards at this time. Payment by check can also be accepted on a case by case basis.

No! No deposit will be taken if your child is put on our waitlist. Deposits and payment are only charged when we have a spot available and you confirm your registration.

A $100/week deposit is charged to the card on file at the time of registration. We offer many payment options including a 3 and 5 month installment plan and pay in full plan.