Who attends the Massachusetts Junior Conservation Camp?
The Massachusetts Junior Conservation Camp is a two week overnight summer camp for girls and boys ages 13 -17. The Camp offers a program of conservation education and instruction in outdoor recreation skills. It introduces youth to the ethical concepts and knowledge essential to a lifetime of properly enjoying our natural resources and the leisure activities that depend on their careful stewardship.
When/where is the next Camp session?
We offer one camp session each summer. Our next session will be August 8-20, 2023. Camp will be held at Moses Scout Reservation, 310 Birch Hill Avenue, Russell MA. Campers are expected to attend the entire session in order to receive any certificates earned during the program.
Are there any scholarships available?
A limited amount of scholarship monies are available. To apply, please submit a
Camper Request for Scholarship.
How is this camp program different from other camp programs?
Our camp program is unique in that it is focused on conservation education. While we do have some activities similar to other summer camps, such as archery and riflery, the MJCC combines these activities with wildlife programs and the state Hunter Education program. In other words, we strive to give youth a complete picture of wildlife management. Campers are allowed to attend a camp session only once. Click here to see a sample of our camp schedule.
What is the curriculum?
The program brings campers in contact with experts on many aspects of natural resource management and outdoor recreation. Conservation subjects taught include Fish & Pond Life, Forestry, and Wildlife Management. Outdoor skills taught include Archery, Fly & Spin Casting, Orienteering, Riflery, and Shotgun. These courses are taught by certified instructors in their respective fields. Additional MJCC curriculum includes the Massachusetts Hunter Education Program and Small Boat Safety, which may require online learning prior to camp attendance. All sections of these courses must be completed, and attendance for the entire camp session is required in order to earn these certificates.
Campers participate in all courses presented, however opportunity is provided for relaxation and recreation through traditional summer camp activities such as swimming, fishing, boating, softball and volleyball. In addition, opportunities exist for extra time on the shotgun, rifle and archery ranges.
Two days during the session are “optional” days. That means campers may choose the programs they participate in on those days. Optional programs may include Hiking, Scholastic Pistol, Bowhunter Education, GPS, Survival, Home Firearms Safety, CPR/First Aid, Trout Fishing, Learning about Hunting Blinds and Field to Table.
Please note that campers are walking to and from classes and should have appropriate clothing and shoes for each class and the amount of walking.
Who are the Counselors and Instructors?
Much of our staff have been with the Camp for many years, and a growing number are former campers themselves. Staff are selected for their ability to work with youth and or their expertise in one or more areas of conservation. Our shooting instructors are NRA certified coaches. State personnel administer the Hunter Education and Boat Safety programs.
How do I know if this camp will be a good fit for me?
Campers should be prepared to function in an environment which, like school, requires good behavior, teamwork and attentiveness. Much of the Camp is spent in an educational environment and students are expected to be attentive, courteous and non-disruptive. You should be comfortable in a well-structured environment; this is not a Camp where children sit idle for long periods of time. A large portion of the instruction is “hands-on,” and students will all participate in instruction that includes firearms of several types, bows and arrows, fishing tackle, camping equipment, and wildlife interaction. Students are expected to understand the seriousness of handling such equipment and interacting with wildlife.
The happiest campers are those who have shown an interest in the outdoors and in wildlife management programs before attending the Massachusetts Junior Conservation Camp. Youth who come to us without these considerations in mind may not adapt well to being away from home and may cause discipline problems. Teenagers who are sent to camp simply because a relative is an avid outdoorsman may dislike the Camp curriculum unless they personally have an interest in the outdoors. These youth will often end up being sent home. If you are unsure of your interest in the camp, please browse through our website and pictures of our program.
What can you tell me about the food?
Our Cook Staff has years of experience with youth camps. They are very familiar with the eating habits of teenagers! Meals are served cafeteria style. Salads are available at lunch and dinner almost every night. Healthy eating is encouraged; soda is only available through the canteen during off-hours. Food allergies and special dietary needs should be indicated on your application.
I take daily medication. How will that be administered?
Parents must give the Camp Medical Staff a medication schedule, so that the Health Officer can dispense medication at the appropriate times. Campers must arrive with ample doses for the full camp session. All medication will be kept in the Health office and administered only as indicated. No self administration of medication will be permitted, with the sole exception of inhalers, EPI-pens, and diabetic medication if so directed by the camper’s physician.
What are the accommodations?
Campers stay onsite in large tents housing two people. Bunk requests are allowed, but must be provided at the time of application. Please let our administrator know, in advance, if you would like to bunk with another camper confirmed to attend. We accept bunkmate requests until May 30th.
Campers are provided beds, but should bring their own sleeping bag, blankets, and pillow. A suggested Packing List will be sent to campers in early summer.
Why does the Camp not allow cell phones?
For many reasons, we do not allow campers to have cell phones at Camp. Our primary concern is that they make cases of homesickness worse. Cell phones are disruptive to classes and other campers. Finally, campers need to be paying attention to curriculum and not texting friends. Campers found in possession of cell phones will be sent home without refund.
Is there a day during Camp when my parents can visit?
Sorry, no. Our camp schedule is tightly structured. Also, without running CORI (background checks) on every parent, we must limit contact between parents and other people’s children.
What if I want to room with another child who is attending Camp?
When you submit your application, please include any special requests such as requested tent mates. You can always reach out to our staff by email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Will I be with kids my own age?
Yes! We divide campers into six curriculum groups; first by gender (girls and boys are in separate curriculum groups) then by age, based on the birth date shown on the application.
I’ve never been away from home for so long – what if I get homesick?
Our counselors and instructors understand how difficult it can be to concentrate if all you can think about is how much you miss home! It is really important for you to tell your group counselor, or an instructor, if you are uncomfortable being away from home. You may find that one of your instructors is your favorite and you can talk freely to him or her about your concerns.
What if I don’t know anyone going to Camp?
Be prepared to meet some new friends! More than 90% of our campers do not know any other campers before they arrive. In our after-camp survey, we ask campers what they liked most about camp – “the people” and “the friends I made” are two of the most common responses.
Do I need to have a sponsor in order to attend Camp?
No. Although a large percentage of our campers have their tuition paid by a sportsman’s club or other organization, there is no requirement. Parents are welcome to pay directly for their kids to attend.