It’s time to start planning for summer camp

You may be thinking, “It’s only February, why would I be thinking about summer camp now?” Believe it or not, summer camps fill up quite early. It is best to start planning what your child is going to do for the summer in the months of February through April.

If you are new to the camp “scene” or if you are looking for a new camp, there are local summer camp resource fairs which are happening throughout Massachusetts and which may be a good place to start. There are also websites with listings of various camp programs and descriptions (see below). It may also be helpful to look into the programs at your child’s school, your community’s local recreation department, or ask your local Special Education Parent Advisory Council (SEPAC) members.

Given the number of camps that exist in and around Boston, it can be easy to become overwhelmed by choices.  Therefore, before you attend one of these events or start looking into summer programs, there are many important factors to think about.

  1. What type of camp are you looking for? (day, sleepover, adventure, specific curriculum-based, sports, recreational, therapeutic, more general academic)
  2. What types of goals do you have for your child for the summer? (make new friends, learn new skills, change or learn to manage certain behaviors)
  3. What type of support does your child need at camp? (consider if your child has special needs, the staff: child ratios, professional training/education level of staff, interventions used, equipment available, allergies, camp environment)
  4. Where is the camp located? (consider your commute time, availability of transportation, accessibility, urban/rural area, field trips)
  5. How will you pay for camp? (private pay, school funding, grants, financial aid)

Knowing what your goals are for your child’s summer experience and having a better sense of what you’re looking for in a program will make the summer program selection process feel less daunting. Ultimately, you want to choose a camp program that meets your and your child’s needs, whatever they may be.

Here are some useful websites with summer program information as well as some information on local summer resource fairs in the Massachusetts area. Check them out and have some fun!


  • SPED Children and Teens has an entire section of their website dedicated to school vacation and summer camps, as well as resources for children with special needs.
  • Mass Camps provides links to camp websites all around New England, organized both by state and then by city or town.
  • Summer Camps Massachusetts is similar to Mass Camps, but focuses on MA-only camps.  It has a more prominent A-Z listing of towns and the camps they offer.
  • Within the City of Boston’s website are pages for the Boston Center for Youth & Families, which provides year-round, neighborhood-based programs for all ages, including summer camps for children and teens.
  • My Summer Camps has an extensive, national list of camps which you can search by zip, town, or region.  They also have camps broken into categories, such as special needs camps or arts camps.
  • The YMCA offers different types of camp programs at several of their locations in and around Boston.
  • Very Special Camps lists camps for children with very specific special needs across the country.

Upcoming Camp Fairs

5th Annual Summer Camp and Recreation Expo for Children with Special Needs

Sunday, March 11th, 2012 12:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Framingham High School
115 A Street, Framingham, MA

Chelmsford Summer Camp & Activities Fair

March 17th, 2012, 11:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
McCarthy Middle School
250 North Road, Chelmsford, MA
Call 978- 929-9997, or email

Bolton Summer Camp & Activities Fair

March 3rd, 2012, 11:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Nashoba Regional High School
12 Green Rd, Bolton, MA
Call 978-929-9997, or email


About Callie Antonelli, LICSW

Callie Antonelli joined Harvard Vanguard in 2011. She has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Rhode Island with additional concentrations in human development and family studies and sociology, and a master’s degree in social work from Simmons College. As a social worker in our Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics Program, Callie seeks to support and help advocate for children and their families through the often stressful process of identifying and addressing developmental concerns. Callie’s other professional interests include group therapy, program development, and advocating for the rights and needs of children with special needs within the community. When Callie is not working she enjoys hiking, mountain climbing, and outdoor adventures with her family and two dogs.
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One Response to It’s time to start planning for summer camp

  1. avatar Jen says:

    If your child or teenager is looking for a non-traditional summer camp you should consider sending them to iD Tech Camps! Our campers can develop a mobile app, learn to code in C++/Java/iOS, create a video game, mod in Minecraft, or make a movie. Imaginations soar as ages 7-17 transform interests into projects of their own. Weeklong day and overnight STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) summer programs held at over 80 prestigious universities in 28 states including MIT, Harvard, Bentley, Merrimack, Amherst and others. Fun, project-based learning for beginner to advanced students in small classes (8:1 student to instructor ratio, guaranteed). Year-round learning with iD Tech 365. Also, 2-week, teen-only iD Tech Academies for ages 13-18. Visit or call 1-888-709-TECH (8324).

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