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Spotlight on Camp

Spotlight on Camp:
Get to know our staff and camps

We have talented staff members who quietly create the magic behind our camps so each day of our eight-week season is special for your camper. This page will give you a peek behind the curtain at the work, passions, and personalities working with us on campus over the summer as well as introduce you to the camps they work with.

April staff spotlight: Meet MaryKate

Get to know MaryKate Clark, one of Junior Camp's group leaders!

How many summers have you worked at camp? 
The 2020 summer season will be my seventh summer working for Dexter Southfield Summer Camps.

Were you ever a camper before you joined our summer staff?
Before joining the staff, I was a camper at Dexter Southfield for a very long time. I can't remember a time when I wasn't a camper!

When you're not at camp, what do you do?
I recently graduated from UMass Boston with my Bachelor of Science in Biology, Pre-Med, and Psychology. I am beginning my Master's in Child and Adolescent Development Psychology at Southern New Hampshire University. I also do research in psychology for UMass Boston and the University of California at San Diego. On top of all that, I also coach figure skating and work for Old Navy.

Do you have a favorite memory of your campers?
My favorite memory of my campers is when they perform in the talent show every summer, showing that they are able to get out of their comfort zones.

What makes you excited to come to camp every day in the summer?
My main motivation for coming to camp every day is seeing my campers develop their social and emotional skills. I am always so proud to see them grow into their own and learn something new. In doing so, they teach me something, too!

Is there a moment that you are proudest of from your time working at camp?
My proudest moment is when a camper, who could not swim or sit on the steps into the pool unless I swam or sat with them, jumped off the diving board and swam in the deep end. It took all summer, but that was one of the proudest moments I've had over the years.

What do you hope your campers can learn during their time with us this summer?
My hope is that the campers learn something new about the world around them every week. Whether that be during nature, woodshop, art, or just from the friends around them, like when I had a camper who told a fun fact from nature every single day.

Can you share something valuable that you've learned while at camp?
Working at camp helped me more than I have ever shared with anyone. I was at a point where I did not know what I wanted to do in the medical field, and was torn between oncology and psychology. Working with kids between the ages of 3 and 5 in a space that I could watch them grow and develop socially and emotionally made me realize that I want to work with children to understand their stages of development. There have been so many kids throughout the past summers who I have been priviledged to assist in their development, and I could not be happier to have been a part of that.

Why do you think a play-based environment is important for our youngest campers?
There have been several studies showing that play is important for creative minds, no matter what age. Play allows us to not only develop motor skills, but also helps in emotional aspects of our lives. It allows for us to regulate our emotions and brings joy to everyday lives. Dr. Stuart Brown, a psychologist, stated "the hand is looking for the brain and the brain is looking for the hand and play is the medium that connects them" (TED Talk, 2009). Play is necessary for developing brains and allows for connections to be made on another level. 

What advice would you give to a first-time camper?
My advice for a first-time camper is to know that it is okay to be a bit nervous. Everyone is nervous on their first day - even I am nervous! Therefore, you are not alone in your feelings. Ask for help and there will be a hand to guide you through the day. There is always someone there to help in the transition from home to camp.

Can you share any at-home activities to help keep up the spirit of summer camp during our time at home?
Since we are at home for the time being, some activities to help campers get into the spirit of camp at home include having themed dress-up days. For instance, having PJ Day, Superhero Day, Wacky Tacky Day, Sports Day, etc. Some exploration activities would also be fun! If you have a backyard, go on a nature scavenger hunt. If not, hide some items around your home or make some clues or a map to help your child find the items.

April camp spotlight: Junior Camp

Junior Camp introduces the youngest children in our community to the camp experience!

Our jam-packed schedule and caring staff address the growing curiosity of your 3.5 to 5 year olds while introducing them to the social and learning skills they will experience in the classroom (though they'll be having too much fun to notice). They'll spend their time making a splash at the pool, playing sports & games out in the sunshine, helping to care for the vegetables in the garden during our nature activities, and so much more. 

Some of our campers' favorite moments include:

- Working with hammers and nails in woodshop.
- Performing creative movement routines at the camp talent show.
- Building stick forts and working the water features on the Playscape.
- Creating works of art based on our weekly theme.

Learn more and register: Junior Camp
See more about our activities: Schedule Breakdown
Get a peek into our day: Junior Camp's Instagram Page
Contact Heather, Junior Camp's Director:

Resources we LOVE

Learn the importance of play from the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Practice yoga and enjoy active screentime with Cosmic Kids Yoga.

Try some crafts and experiments from PBS.


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Report an Absence • Admissions: 617-751-3600

20 Newton Street Brookline, Massachusetts 02445 Directions


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