It’s full speed ahead to summer 2021! Applications are now open.

Learn about everything we’re doing to get to camp confidently here >

2021 Update

Applications for 2021 are now open. We are getting ready and can't wait to be together again!

We know you will have questions about what camp 2021 looks like. We will be updating this page regularly.


What are the Dates & Fees for 2021?

What are the Dates & Fees for 2021?

We hope you'll join us! Here is the link to our 2021 Dates & Fees page

COVID-19 Planning for Summer 2021

COVID-19 Planning for Summer 2021

NEWS as of May 13, 2021!

This is a big week for getting us all back to pre-pandemic normalcy and a great camp season. First, the Pfizer vaccine was approved for 12 year olds and up on May 12th and today, the CDC came out and said that fully vaccinated individuals do not need to mask or social distance in any setting (unless required by federal, state, local guidelines, etc.)

We participated in a town hall today with the camping industry and the CDC. Everyone is absorbing the information as fast as possible and working to generate clear instructions for the summer. Massachusetts Dept of Public Health is our licensing and governing organization. They dictate what we can and cannot do at camp. We eagerly (and not so patiently) await their updates. (Full venting here - we are still working with the guidelines they presented in March which are well behind current state school and CDC recommendations. The camp industry has many people pushing for updates but there is no information on when they will be released.)

So, we are preparing based on the current MA regulations (released March 26 and written Jan/Feb) and planning for the changes that we know are coming.

Next week, we will be sharing the testing procedures, dropoff plans and as much info about the summer that is ready. We are as impatient as you are to have firm plans but that is not how a pandemic works. 

We STRONGLY encourage everyone that is eligible to get a vaccine - this includes children age 12 and up, staff and family members. The more of us that are vaccinated, the safer we will all be.

We thank you for your enthusiasm for camp and partnership to do everything we need to do to get there in a healthy way. We are beyond excited!



The state of Massachusetts has given us the green light to open this summer! We are working hard to prepare for the safe summer the children (and adults) really need! 

As we all know, information about COVID-19, vaccines, testing, and protocols change rapidly. We are following CDC and Massachusetts Public Health Guidelines. Camp Emerson has always been known for going above and beyond in our care for campers and staff. Managing a residential community requires us to be great at preparing for, preventing, and managing infectious diseases – whether it is a stomach virus, strep throat, H1N1 or conjunctivitis – we have handled a lot in our 53 years. The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged us to utilize the depth of our experience and to build on the good work at schools, colleges and camps that are having success. Our Medical Director currently oversees a boarding school and is part of a large primary care private practice in MA. Her work there has been greatly beneficial to guide our preparations for camp this summer.

On February 25th the Commonwealth of Massachusetts approved overnight camps to open this summer! We have been given preliminary guidelines regarding capacity, testing, masking, etc and are working through the details. Specific covid instructions will be announced in May. We ask for your partnership and support as we work together to have a healthy summer.

Based on our current knowledge, here are the best practices that we are planning:

1. We hope that most, if not all, staff will be vaccinated prior to staff training in mid-June. Massachusetts just announced that everyone over 16 will be eligible by April 19. Many states are moving swiftly as well. This is all great news. The CDC has designated camp staff as “essential workers” within the educator sector. The specific timing for camp staff vaccines will be up to each state. 

2. Since children under 16 are not eligible for the current vaccines, it is unlikely that they will be vaccinated prior to camp. Testing will be critical to managing their health. All campers will need to have a negative COVID-19 PCR test within 72 hours of their first day at camp. Once they have taken the test, they will need to quarantine at home until their arrival. It is also recommended that campers should quarantine for 10 days prior to arrival if possible. 

3. For campers that live outside of the New England area, we will work with you to plan your testing, safe travel, and arrival to camp per the travel guidelines in place at that time.

4. We will be conducting a daily health screen for all campers and staff.

5. We will be implementing a multi-layer testing approach including both COVID-19 rapid antigen and COVID-19 PCR testing. The frequency of the testing will be determined by guidelines from the CDC, MA Department of Public Health, and best practices in place at that time.

Protocols on positive results, close contacts, isolation and leaving camp are not final yet. These are preliminary details:

6. Parents will be contacted immediately if their child experiences any symptoms. This is consistent with our regular health communication plans whether you child has a fever, sore throat, stomach distress, etc.

7. If a camper tests positive at camp, parents will be notified of these test results as well as if your child is a close contact of a suspected or confirmed case.

8. Anyone testing positive will be isolated until they can be picked up. Individuals exposed as a close contact will be quarantined until they can be picked up. Parents should plan to pick up their child within 4 hours of notification or designate someone who is authorized to act on their behalf. More specifics about this, hopefully remote possibility, will be outlined later in the spring.

9. Instructions on COVID-19, handwashing, cough etiquette, mask requirements, social distancing, symptoms associated with COVID-19, and specific plans at camp will be an integral part of our staff training. The health and safety of our community is paramount and there is no more important job for the staff.

10. We are reviewing mask protocols and will establish guidelines when we have a clearer idea what will be required for campers and for vaccinated adults. Masks will not be required in the bunks and, if we will be having frequent mask breaks during the day.

11. Bunks and camp friends are a huge part of the camp experience. At Camp Emerson, our regular program is built on individual schedules where campers of all ages/gender mix throughout the day. We are preparing this regular program structure as well as one built on “camper cohorts” similar to what is working in many schools. No decision will be made until May as to whether we will need to work with cohorts and how that impacts bunk assignments, classes and daily routines.

12. Cleaning and sanitizing will be stepped up to conform to CDC guidelines. We expect to build in time during the day to clean equipment and wash hands/sanitize between classes. All departments will have sanitizer/hand washing stations. We know that good hand hygiene will keep us all healthy at camp.

13. Procedures in the Dining Hall will also be adjusted this summer. We may eat in more than one shift to allow for social distancing. Self-service aspects, like our salad bar, will be altered per guidelines. We are looking at every part of the food service including our food allergy support.

14. There will be no bus transportation to/from camp this summer. Drop off and Pick-up days will look different and we will set up time to clean between sessions, test campers that are staying on and manage the arrival so that it is welcoming, fun and safe.

15. We aim to create our “BUBBLE” at Camp Emerson. To that end, there will be no visiting days, outside trips, horseback riding or tours this summer. Deliveries, outside contractors, etc. will be minimized and under strict guidelines and supervision. Our watersports at Plunkett Lake will be going on and are not affected.

16. We are also focused on everyone’s mental health as we move to camp. This has been a year of isolation, upheaval and worry. We want camp to be the catharsis that everyone desperately needs. How each individual will react to being away and what concerns they bring with them are on our minds too. Going away to camp is a big step for every child (and parent). We know we will need to be flexible with the schedule and meet everyone where they are so that they feel safe and heard. We will be sharing more thoughts on mental health prior to camp.

There are many, many details that we are working on to prepare for summer 2021. We have published the 2021 Parent Handbook and plan to share a "part 2" in May with more summer details. We know you will have lots of questions and we invite you to email or call any time.

Are you accepting applications for new campers/families?

Are you accepting applications for new campers/families?

Yes! Right now we do have space for new campers. Enrollment is on a first come basis. The 2 week sessions fill especially fast. To secure your spot, here is the link to enroll


Do you anticipate limits on enrollment this summer?

Do you anticipate limits on enrollment this summer?

We are moving forward with full enrollment. If we are required to reduce our capacity, we will honor spaces based on enrollment date. So, we encourage you and your friends to enroll soon to secure your session. 

What is the cancellation/refund policy for 2021?

What is the cancellation/refund policy for 2021?

We have set a generous cancellation policy for 2021 so you can enroll with confidence. We have moved our cancellation date from our regular December 31st date to March 31, 2021 (extended from February 28, 2021). All tuition is fully refundable up to March 31, 2021 less the administrative fee. In addition, we have lowered the administrative fee for cancellation from $250 to $100. After March 31, 2021, there is no refund.

For 2020 Hillcrest & Explorers and Emerson Graduates from 2019 - Announcing NEW Leaders' Program

For 2020 Hillcrest & Explorers and Emerson Graduates from 2019 - Announcing NEW Leaders' Program

Great news! We invite you to be part of the newly created LEADERS’ PROGRAM. This program is for former campers who have finished 10th, 11th or 12th grade this year and under the age of 18. In the Leaders’ Program, you will have the opportunity to assist in a department we select together as well as lead activities around camp. In addition, you’ll have time together in activities that are just for this group. We’re designing the specifics to incorporate the Hillcrest/Explorer events you missed as well as giving you leadership opportunities and time with your friends. Interested? Email, call or complete the application in CampMinder. We plan to have a zoom meeting to brainstorm the details. 

Spaces in the Leaders Program are limited. They are open for 4 or 6 weeks. There are no 2-week options for the Leaders Program.

Is Family Camp happening in 2021?

Is Family Camp happening in 2021?

YES! Family Camp will be Monday, August 9 – Thursday, August 12, 2021. It’s a wonderful way to share camp together.  

Each family or group has their own cabin. We are very full for this summer as most families rolled over. If you're interested, call 800-782-3395 to confirm there is space. Everything is fully refundable through June 30, 2021.


Specific COVID-19 guidelines for Family Camp are still unknown at this point. We expect they will be different from our children's overnight camp and will share these details as we get them from the state.

Is the Women's Getaway Weekend all set for 2021?

Is the Women's Getaway Weekend all set for 2021?

YES! The Women’s Getaway Weekend is scheduled for Thursday, August 12 – Sunday, August 15, 2021. Think women’s night out meets glamping. It’s become hugely popular. Want to know more? click here.


Specific COVID-19 guidelines for the Women's Getaway Weekend are still unknown at this point. We expect they will be different from our children's overnight camp and will share these details as we get them from the state.

When will The Bubble be open?

When will The Bubble be open?

Our camper website and app, The Bubble will open April 9, 2021 with lots of information to get the kids excited for summer 2021. 

I was supposed to get a 5-year jacket in 2020. Will I still get it?

I was supposed to get a 5-year jacket in 2020. Will I still get it?

YES, you will get your 5-year jacket this summer! Anyone who was enrolled in 2020 will get that counted towards their years at Camp Emerson. We can’t wait to bestow that warm-fuzzy jacket on you at the first night campfire!

Still have questions?

If you have other questions, please email or call. We'd love to hear from you.

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