Q&A for parents
What kinds of challenges can I expect my child to face at Odyssey Teen Camp?
A hero’s journey:
Going to a summer camp for several weeks, where your child may not know anyone requires courage and faith. Each camper will have their own challenges during their time at camp but the friends they will make and the experiences they will share will make it all worthwhile.
Walking a lot:
They will do a lot of walking throughout the day with others because everything at our facility is very spread out. By the end of the day, your child and their friends will have walked several miles together.
Living in close quarters:
Your child will be living in close quarters with others in rustic cabins. Our cabins are tight. Bathrooms are located outside of the cabins but nearby.
We have one shower house at camp with 10 private showers. Showers are scheduled by pod. The schedule changes daily but campers must shower at their scheduled time.
We will always have plenty of options. At all meals, we have the main entree and a vegan entree. We always have a salad bar for lunch and dinner. We always have bread and fruit available at all meals. It is not the same as eating at home where you have whatever you want.
We do not allow campers to keep their cell phones, and your child will not be able to call home until their second week at camp using the camp’s phones. If a camper feels like they absolutely need to speak to a parent, arrangements are always made for that to happen. We know the idea of not being able to reach your child by phone or text can feel foreign, but we also know how freeing this can be for teenagers not to be connected 24/7.
What is OTC all about?
While Odyssey Teen Camp is a lot of things, it is primarily a safe place for teens to explore who they are, free from negative judgment and external pressures. We are a camp that is all about connection. Our entire program is geared towards teenagers. We offer traditional programs like sports, arts, dance, music, and nature, but we also offer loads of unique activities like improv comedy, poetry slams, firewalking, henna tattooing, trance dancing, drag shows, sweat lodges, meditation, and acro-yoga classes.
What age are most of the campers?
Our camper population is usually a pretty even mix from 13 to 18.
How many teens come to the summer camp program? How long do they stay?
We generally have around 150 campers each session. Campers have the option to come for 2 or 4 weeks. Most campers coming for the first time come for one of our two weeks sessions.
Where do campers come from?
About 90 percent of our campers come from the Northeast, and the other 10 percent fly in from around the country and around the world.
What is a typical day at camp like?
Our days are very full, with a good mix of activities and relaxation. We offer three activity periods each day. Campers choose what they want to do. We have breakfast, lunch, and dinner together as a community every day. From 1:30-2:45, each day weather permitting, the entire camp goes to the lake for what we call “social hour.” To close out our day, we have evening activities like campfires, talent shows, dances, and camp-wide games. Most nights, we offer two options for evening activities. One of the options is quieter and less stimulating. Check out our activities and daily schedule.
What benefits can campers get from coming to OTC?
For over twenty years we have helped thousands of teenagers have fun, make friends, and feel good about themselves. We are not a therapeutic camp. We believe our strength is helping campers connect and feel safe, seen, celebrated, and loved for exactly who they are.
How do you accommodate teenagers who identify as trans and non-binary in regards to housing?
At OTC, we believe in letting teenagers lead the way. On your camper’s application, we ask a few questions about their gender identity and what their ideal housing situation would be in regards to gender. We then match your teen with the best possible housing situation.
How about healthcare and medical facilities?
We have 2 highly experienced registered nurses on the premises full-time. We also have a fully equipped infirmary. We are a 20-minute drive to a hospital or walk-in clinic. We dispense prescription and nonprescription medications during breakfast, lunch, dinner, and before bedtime.
What is your refund/cancelation policy?
If you cancel prior to May 1, 2022, we will issue a full refund (including your deposit.)
Refunds will not be offered after your teen comes to camp. There will be no refunds for withdrawals from camp initiated by the parent or if it is determined by camp management that a camper needs to go home for safety or behavioral reasons.
What is summer camp food like?
Food at Odyssey’s summer camp is far better than your usual summer camp fare. Each meal includes vegetarian, gluten-free, and non-vegetarian (vegan) options. There is always a large salad bar. Meals are served buffet-style, and campers can take as much as they want.
Do you offer financial assistance?
Odyssey is committed to helping families with limited finances. Eligibility for financial assistance is primarily determined by your family’s gross annual income. If you would like to apply for financial assistance check here for more information.
How many new campers are there each summer? Do they come with friends?
Generally at least half of the campers will be there for the first time, and for many, it’s their first time away from home. The majority of teenagers come by themselves. While it’s normal for new campers to worry whether they will make friends, generally within a few days people make great connections.
What are the staff like?
We hire about 40 of the most fun, loving, compassionate people we know. Many have been at camp for years and many came when they were fifteen and came back as counselors at 22. They all have at least one year of college, and their average age is 24. We do an extensive background check on all staff members before they are hired. Learn more about our summer staff here.
What are the cabins like?
Our cabins are rustic but well ventilated and they generally sleep eight people, six or seven teenagers, and one or two counselors. There are not a lot of shelves and campers live out of their duffel bags and suitcases. Cabins are grouped together in what we call “pods” and each pod has about six cabins. The campers, counselors, and pod leaders become a mini-community in our larger camp community.
What is the summer camp facility like?
Our facility is located in the SouthWest part of the Berkshires of Massachusetts. We are on a 416-acre private facility that features a 16-acre private lake for swimming and boating. In addition to many cabins, a large ball field, and an outdoor amphitheater, we have a nice size dining hall and a lodge that we turn into our “art hut”.
Do you pick up and drop off to and from the airport?
We pick up campers at Boston’s Logan Airport, as well as Bradly and Brainard airports in Hartford CT. We bring a crew of staff to the airports to collect each camper and get them in a van. It is a two-hour drive from Boston and one hour from Hartford.
How do you keep campers safe at camp?
While our camp has a free feel, we have very clear rules regarding behaviors that are allowed and not allowed. We also have zero tolerance toward alcohol and drugs.
What about communication and cell phones?
We do not allow campers to have their phones. We think that leaving their phones at home gives teens a much better chance of making friends quickly. Most teenagers realize after a few days that being without their phones is liberating. We encourage a lot of letter writing and discourage talking on the phone the first week. If a camper feels they need to talk with their parents we call you first and generally follow your lead. Often it takes several days for campers to make friends and settle in and we hope you can encourage your teenager to give it time.
Who is OTC not a good camp for?
We are not a therapeutic program or treatment center of any kind. We are not a good camp for teens who have been recently hospitalized for psychiatric reasons, or for teenagers with eating disorders or those who are particularly sensitive to noise and stimulation, or those who are not o.k. living in a rustic setting with a large group of people.
make new friends
Adam Simon, camp director