Answers to your questions about PDC

Jon Kirby

Director Jon Kirby

On March 3, 2013, The Boston Globe Magazine ran an article entitled "10 questions to ask when choosing a summer camp."

At the Pilgrim Day Camp Open House on March 16, Director Jon Kirby endeavored to answer those questions. Here are his responses:

  1. Is my child ready for camp?
    This one is for you to answer. Who knows your child better than you!
  2. How much does it matter what camp I choose?
    A lot! There are a ton of different options in camping. Do your homework. We hope this website can give you a good idea of who we are and what kind of experience your child will receive.
  3. Single sex or coed?
    Coed. It's a coed world. We heartily embrace equal opportunities and working together, team work, cooperation, sharing, and creating lasting friendships.
  4. What about cost?
    Very important question. We have always tried to be the affordable option in the area. Our biggest competitor is almost three times our cost.
  5. What is the camp philosophy?
    Fun! Old fashioned, traditional fun. Varied experiences that should appeal to all. Swim (twice a day) athletics, arts and crafts, project adventure, archery, music and dramatics, outdoor cooking, BMX bikes, pottery, candle making and much, much more. We do not have a religious component to our program, other than what all religions stress: love of one another, kindness, understanding, and working together.
  6. What are the qualifications of the director and staff and the ratio of staff to children?

    I've been at PDC for 38 summers, 32 as director. I have been a teacher, coach and athletic director for 36 years, primarily at Medfield High School.

    Camp Assistant Director Debby Denman has been at PDC for 28 years; she has been teaching for 19 years in the Worcester Public Schools. Assistant Director Rob Evans has been at PDC for 27 years; he has been a teacher and coach in the Bellingham Public Schools for 20 years. Assistant Director Mark Nickerson has been at PDC for 26 years; he has been a teacher and coach in the Medfield Public Schools for 18 years.

    Our staff come from area colleges and high schools. Out of the 100 staff positions, I hired only 3 new counselors this year. When the staff is happy, the kids are happy as well!

    Our staff to child ratio is 5 to 1 for the youngest groups, 8 to 1 for the oldest. These are much lower than American Camping Association requirements.
  7. What procedures are in place to keep my child safe?

    All staff undergo an extensive background check, including CORI and SORI checks. Staff receive training before camp begins, and they are HIGHLY experienced. (Only 3 rookies in 2013!) A nurse is on duty full time; an EMT is on duty during extended day and overday experiences. Fully certified and experienced life guards are on duty at all times.
  8. What is the approach to conflicts between campers?

    The key to conflicts and discipline problems at camp is to have children highly supervised and very busy. Our camp is a sprint; we are fully engaged at all times. That is the best way to ensure a good time for all and at the same time avoid conflicts.
  9. What do others say about the camp?

    Our return rate is over 85%. We do not advertise. This is all word of mouth and parents networking. We have been in business for 55 years, and I have been here for 38 of them. We filled up last year, and had to turn many away. This is the best endorsement we could receive.
  10. What about the things that are important to me personally?

    We are available to answer your questions. Contact us at 508-875-4548 in the winter, 508-875-8215 in the summer, or send an email to pilgrimdaycamp@macucc.org.
Good luck with your camp search. I hope you choose us. It's a great place to spend the summer.