I am deciding whether to enroll my child into The MLDC or into ``Camp XYZ``. Why exactly should I send my child to your program?
This is a question we hear often and for good cause. Entrusting your child to the safety of others and paying hundreds (or thousands) of dollars, combined with the possibility that your child may not even enjoy the experience is a very, serious consideration. Although we have a general comparison page, six of our most distinctive features are illustrated below:
Our philosophy is that the camper should not have to match the camp, but that the camp should accommodate the camper. The MLDC has a unique system that actually gives campers the power to choose their activities and progressively build upon their achievements. Campers in grades 1 – 5 (Junior Discovery) participate in a core group of activities each session, however they may choose the remainder of their activities which account for 11 one-hour activity blocks. Because they decide as a group, their respective counselor assists in the cooperative process. Further, it prepares these campers for having the background and experience to make daily, individual decisions when they are old enough for the Teen Exploration program.Campers in grades 6 – 10 may choose four activities each day over the course of the session which allows them to program their own calendar for 16 activity blocks. To ensure diversity, campers must choose at least five different activity areas throughout the week. This method of programming encourages teens to be confident in the decisions they are making to best meet their perceived needs, as well as develop a new camp experience each day and each week. It also allows campers to express their own interests if they are fine tuning their skills in the arts, or trying to get that edge on becoming a faster athlete.Because our curriculum is based on progressions, campers will not be able to choose an activity that they are not prepared for. For example, if a child does not know how to swim, they may not be able to choose the boating option until they have demonstrated competencies for swimming. However, our exceptional staff works with each camper to achieve individual goals and assist in the decision making process so that the camper will be able to choose the boating option when s/he is ready. Our camp philosophy allows campers to make educated decisions and have opportunities they may not have in other camp programs all the while participating in activities they may have never considered.Some camps will offer a few periods of electives as a solution, however the bulk of a camper’s experience will be with the core program. Other camps that have attempted to mimic our choice system typically do not have the same scope, duration or availability of activities. Most importantly, it is the systematic integration of progressions that makes our choice curriculum uniquely effective. Something that is exclusive to The MLDC.As a result of our system, The MLDC is never the same camp twice…unless a camper would like it to be.
The ages of our staff currently vary anywhere between 18-60, many of whom are professionals working within their respective fields year-round. Both of those specifics are extremely important to us. Our counselors are teachers who are expected to indoctrinate campers with both the knowledge of their trade as well as with the character qualities that are part of our philosophy.We are one of the only day camps that calculate its ratios based on our adult population. Our typical 5:1 camper/counselor ratio does not include Counselors-in-Training or Leadership Assistants.
- Cost & Commitment
Our undiscounted tuitions for our base camps are the lowest fees offered for a camp of our nature. Other, more primary programs that are similar in price do not offer the spectrum of activities that are available to us.Additionally, parents often expressed that the flexibility of our weekly commitment versus a two or even four week minimum lifted a substantial burden from their shoulders. Multi-week minimums are stipulations which benefit the camp but not the camper. What if your child is not enjoying his or her experience after the first week or what if your summer plans change?At The MLDC, even though we offer consecutive week discounts as one of our options, you will receive a FULL refund for ALL of your weeks if you wish to pull out of the program due to dissatisfaction.
Our infrastructure of precautionary measures is an intricate system that is designed to prevent and protect campers from any unforeseen circumstances. We have devoted a section of our site specifically for this topic. Please click here if you would like to visit that page of the website.
- The 4th of July “Oversight”
Although not the case with all camps, many premium day camps choose not to operate on the 4th of July. Unfortunately, another common practice is to charge the same tuition fee for the abbreviated week. Similar to multi-week minimums, this policy is a benefit to the camp only. It allows the camp to decrease their available services to the customer while increasing their bottom line for the week. At The MLDC, the week of the 4th is either prorated or we hold our camp on that date.
The camping industry as a whole has a relatively high turnover rate from year to year. The substantial level of attrition is primarily due to campers either having a less than satisfactory experience at camp or because they feel they have outgrown the environment that the camp has provided for them. Often times, camps are referred to as being a good environment for either younger kids or the older teens, but seldom both.At The MLDC, teens comprise anywhere from 30-50% of our enrollment. Because of the flexibility of our program and the variety of activities available, we can accommodate the wide range of tastes, dispositions and ages that each individual camper represents.It is because of this unique combination of qualities that we have the confidence to offer a guarantee of our services…something unprecedented in the camping community. For more details on this aspect, click here.
Are your activities geared toward beginners or can more advanced campers (teens especially) be challenged?
This is another aspect that makes The MLDC very unique. Our instructors (many of whom teach year-round) are specialists in their respective areas and are trained to work with beginner, intermediate and advanced campers.
Although campers come to The MLDC first and foremost to have an enjoyable experience, they also know that they will be challenged by our program through age/skill appropriate activities.
Certain core activities are offered on a consistent basis while others are rotated. Elective activities in our Teen Exploration Camp are only offered during specific weeks. Our electives calendar is updated each year by the month of April at the latest. You may also call to inquire about dates of specific electives if you have a child who is particularly interested in certain activities.
I like the idea of a choice program but I think it may be a little much for my seven year-old son. How do you address this?
We agree completely. It could certainly be a bit overwhelming and confusing for a six or seven year-old child to make the best decisions by themselves.
Firstly, our Junior Discovery campers make their decisions as a group. Our goal is to teach our youngest campers about cooperation, teamwork and how to utilize the decision making process together. Our ultimate hope is to have them imbibe these life-skills and bring them home for use within the family unit or with peers. Secondly, our staff is specifically trained to work with and guide Junior Discovery campers through this process.
Simply being part of a decision that impacts the direction of their group is both a rewarding act and it helps to prepare them for making the individual decisions associated with our teen program. Click here to read reviews from parents of children in our Junior Discovery camp in order to get an idea of what they thought of the system.
I know that you accept children up to age 16, but I'm concerned that my 14 year-old will still feel too old.
Because of our broad appeal, we always have a number of teens who register for multiple weeks. Rest assured that your son or daughter will have others of the same age to interact with. Additionally, the structure of the program is designed to be challenging enough to keep a high school intellect/personality stimulated.
All of the choices at The MLDC, whether relative to our electives program or the core activities, are all made that day. A consequence of choosing activities prior to the start of the camp week or even on just the first day of the week is that a camper may find themselves involved in an activity they wanted to try, but realized it was not for them. When a camper is forced to commit to that choice for more than one day at a time, it can be problematic and may discourage them from trying new activities in the future. We prefer instead to provide the option to pursue an activity further or to move on to another one; therefore campers are never “locked in.” The MLDC is the only camp with an exclusive system that allows campers to make their decisions each and every day for more than two activity choices.
Sorry…no “catch” here! Whether your child comes for only a few days or finishes out the entire week, if s/he did not have a great time, then we will refund all of your tuition costs for attending the camp.
Why would we do such a thing? For two reasons: premium day camps are not inexpensive; at the very least your child should have a fantastic time. That has been our philosophy from day one. Secondly, although many camps can tell you about their wonderful staff, great programming and beautiful environment, we believe in it enough to give you our unconditional assurance.
In order to cut down on our overhead, and keep our camp pricing as low as possible, we operate in off-site offices during the off season. Forms may be sent to our mailing address: The Marcus Lewis Day Camp, P.O. Box 2235, Acton, MA, 01720. For your convenience, you may also register on-line at this site.
The main camp area is situated on conservation land in the middle of Westford and it is open to the public during the off-season. You can visit the site and get a feel for the environment at anytime. We are also more than happy to give you a personal tour of the facilities and answer any questions that you may have. Please contact us if you are interested.
According to Department of Public Health guidelines, camps are required to have one staff member to every 10 children for those children over the age of 6. At The Marcus Lewis Day Camp our ratios are approximately 1 staff member to every 5 campers.
Be cautious of camps that promote a ratio of 4:1 or some will even advertise a 3:1 ratio. Often times camps include their counselors-in-training (who are still in high school) as part of that number. That being the case, their actual counselor to camper ratio is between 6:1 and 8:1. Our Camp Mirror Lake program has ratios that are higher, however the ratios are always within acceptable guidelines.
At the MLDC, you can always be assured that your child is in adult hands.
For those of you who are reimbursed for expenses by your employer, our tax ID number is: 20-0783012.
The snacks will consist of healthy grains, such as popcorn, pretzels, graham crackers, and a natural fruit juice and/or water as a beverage.
When deciding to have our own transportation options, there were two areas of greatest concern: safety and duration. For the former, we purchased our own buses so that we could have total control over the drivers and the equipment. For the latter, we devised a busing system that is extremely efficient and our counselors are familiar with a number of travel activities that actually make the bus trip an engaging time. As a result, we often hear that the bus ride was a great part of the day.
Children are able to choose from a wide variety of activities including arts and crafts, land sport games, and board games, etc. If they are so inclined, children can also take some time with their favorite book. A light snack will also be provided. Children will be placed in age appropriate groups during Extended Day.