Fells Forest Camp

Fun and nature exploration abound

Our camp engages children in self-guided explorations of the forest, helping to develop their curiosity, critical thinking, and sense of connection with nature. Dedicated camp staff provide positive and enriching learning opportunities for children through unstructured time-in-nature, opportunistic nature interpretation, and by encouraging self-directed learning and exploration.

Our Summer 2022 camp weekly sessions begin Monday, June 27 for children aged 4-12. Summer camp registration is now open!

For younger children, see our free Babes in the Woods and Hike ‘n’ Seek programs.

We’re prepared for a safe and rewarding camp experience

The health and welfare of our campers and staff are our highest priority. We’re building on our experience throughout the pandemic in our preparations for camp in 2022, coordinating plans with DCR and the Medford Board of Health, and ensuring our camp complies with all guidance from the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care. We require all camp staff to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 and will provide an update on our COVID-related policies and procedures in the spring.

View session details and register

The Friends of the Fells offers camp sessions in three age groups:

REGISTER HERE

Medford High School

489 Winthrop St., Medford

— AM Session (9-11:30 AM)

— PM Session (12:30-3 PM)

Our youngest campers enjoy nature exploration activities under the careful eye of counselors with experience in early childhood education. Activities are focused on engaging your child’s innate sense of wonder and curiosity of the natural world. An emphasis on kindness to the natural world and cooperation with peers instills a nature ethic and builds a foundation of positive experiences in nature.

NOTE: Forest Kindergarten is only available in half-day sessions. There is no all-day session offered because it can be too taxing for children of this age to be outdoors that long. We want their first experience in nature to be positive!

REGISTER HERE

Medford High School
489 Winthrop St., Medford

— AM Session (9-11:30 AM)

— PM Session (12:30-3 PM)

— All-Day (9AM to 4PM)

Campers range a bit further into the woods in their explorations with naturalist guides who help open their eyes to the unique habitats, trees, animals, rocks, and other natural features of the woods. Children are given opportunities to exercise their critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Explorers also experience collaborative decision-making and are introduced to topics of stewardship and nature protection.

REGISTER HERE

Medford High School
489 Winthrop St., Medford

— AM Session (9-11:30 AM)

— PM Session (12:30-3 PM)

— All-Day (9AM to 4PM)

Our oldest cohort of campers, Forest Adventurers foray even deeper into the forest, with longer hikes that emphasize self-sufficiency, healthy risk assessment, and plenty of outdoor science learning and inquiry. Collaboration skills are explored, and ecological literacy, conservation ethics, and natural stewardship concepts are introduced.

Rates

Half-Day (AM or PM)$200
Full-Day (9 AM to 4 PM)$450
Half-Day (Wk. 2; 4 camp days)$160
Full-Day (Wk. 2; 4 camp days)$360

Questions? Contact us at forestcamp@fells.org.

Before you register

To register your child for camp, you’ll need to upload some documentation and electronically sign our Combined Waiver and Release Form. Please carefully review all information on the form.

Please have the following documents completed and ready to upload before you register:

  • A current Health Record Form from your child’s pediatrician office listing allergies, required medications, and any health conditions or impairments which may affect your child’s activities while attending the camp (must be signed by a parent, guardian, or by a licensed health care provider).
  • A certificate of immunization (including COVID-19 vaccination record, if applicable).
  • If your child requires an EpiPen®, asthma inhaler, or other medication administration during their time at camp, Massachusetts regulation requires that you complete and sign an Authorization to Administer Prescribed Medication Form (see this mass.gov advisory for details).

Please also indicate any ongoing health issues in the fields provided on our online registration form and contact us if you have any specific concerns you would like to discuss in detail so we can best serve your child’s needs.

Special Requests

We strongly discourage parents from requesting exceptions to our age range cutoffs, session schedules, or other policies. However, our camp management team will consider special requests on a case-by-case basis. Please contact us before registration to discuss your requests. Requests for children to be paired in the same session as a friend/sibling must come from both parents/guardians, and are subject to available session space, logistical and programmatic concerns, and certain age restrictions. All scheduling requests must be made in writing to ensure consideration. We are unable to provide extended childcare before 9 AM or after 4 PM at this time.

Policy Requests

At any time, parents may contact us to request copies of of our background check, health care, and discipline/behavior policies as well as procedures for filing grievances.

 

Daily Reminders

Rules for Kindness

Our instructors utilize positive reinforcement to help children build respect for themselves, their peers, and for every living thing they encounter in the forest. To help them build this respect we offer these rules:

 

  1. No hitting, grabbing, pushing, or name-calling. Our programming has a zero-tolerance policy for this type of behavior.

  2. Share and take turns. No one monopolizes a game, an activity, or any natural treasures to be found in the Fells.

  3. Communicate and collaborate. Our sharing policy includes all of our planning, ideas, activities, and time in a group. We do not allow exclusionary behavior.

  4. Respect all wildlife. If we find an animal, we can pick it up to examine it and show it to our friends, but any animals we find must always be treated gently, and returned to the place where we found it.

  5. No picking flowers. We can smell them and examine them, but we must leave them for the pollinators to find!

  6. Share our outdoor spaces. The Fells is “The People’s Forest,” and our camp activities share space with hikers, bikers, explorers, and other youth groups. We are considerate of other Fells visitors and allow them to enjoy the Fells alongside us!

Refunds, Transfers, and Cancellations

We will provide a full refund to any family who wishes to cancel their camp registration for any reason. Refund requests must be submitted by email no later than two weeks before the session start date so we can adjust our staffing levels to accommodate the change.

All session transfer requests will be accommodated at no charge, as long as space is available. Please contact us as soon as you know of a scheduling conflict and we will work with you to reschedule your child’s summer camp experience to the best of our ability.

In circumstances where a single age group is under-subscribed, we may merge that cohort with another cohort of another age group. In the rare case of under-enrollment for an entire week of programming, we will cancel programming for that week. In such cases, we will fully refund your camp registration fee. If a camp session must be cancelled due to a state order (dangerous weather, emergency situations, etc.), we will contact you to explore rescheduling options. If your child’s camp experience cannot be rescheduled, we will promptly issue you a full refund (for loss of a full-week camp session) or prorate your refund for individual day(s) of camp lost.

If you must cancel, and have the ability to convert all or a portion of your registration fee into a tax-deductible donation to support the Friends of the Fells, we greatly appreciate your consideration. Forest Camp registrations support our work to protect the well-being of the Fells and offer safe and enjoyable recreational forest programming for everyone.

The Middlesex Fells is managed by the Mass Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR). Our forest camp programming is conducted under their purview, and therefore any aspect of our camp activities in the Fells may be altered at their request. If a camp session must be cancelled due to a state order, we will contact you to explore rescheduling options. If your child’s camp experience cannot be rescheduled, we will promptly issue you a full refund.