Hale Adventure Camp
Load Your Backpack
Disconnect from devices and journey into the wilderness. Whether your camper is just starting to dabble in hiking or is already an avid outdoors person, Adventure Camp builds knowledge, friendships, and abiding respect for nature.
We offer five adventure tracks tailored to each camper’s age and experience level. Campers build skills that prepare them for camping and backpacking trips as they learn to read maps, construct shelters, build fires, and more. They also enjoy traditional camp activities such as swimming, boating, fishing, and arts & crafts.
Adventure 101 is a two-week introduction to Hale Adventure Camp. It teaches campers basic skills and how to be safe in the outdoors and educates them about local plants and wildlife.
Basecamp builds on Adventure 101 by introducing a single overnight experience. During the first week, a trip to Mt. Wachusett invites hikers to hike a monadnock and refuel with lunch at the summit. Then, during the second week, they camp overnight at Hale—and practice cooking over an open fire, setting up and breaking down tents, and safely recreating outdoors after dark.
Frontcountry builds on Basecamp with two camping opportunities—one at Hale, the other in the Berkshires or the White Mountains. This two-week program includes an overnight during the first week of each session and a multi-day trip during the second week. The one-nighter at Hale refreshes skills and builds camaraderie. The 3-day, 2-night trip to the Berkshires, White Mountains, and other mountain ranges tests their skills. Services and facilities are readily accessible during all Frontcountry trips.
Backcountry appeals to experienced graduates of Frontcountry who have big appetites for adventure. This two-week program includes an overnight during the first week and a multi-day trip during the second week. The second trip is a true backpacking experience: no services, no facilities. Our expert guides help campers traverse 7–13 miles of trails that ascend various 4,000-footers throughout New Hampshire’s White Mountains. When campers aren’t hiking, they can also climb on our challenge course throughout their time at Hale, and compete in the Outdoor Skills Gauntlet at the end of each session.
Wilderness Guide-in-Training, one of our Youth Leadership Development Programs, helps aspiring guides learn the skills necessary to counsel campers and manage trips like those we run in Hale Adventure Camp’s Frontcountry and Backcountry divisions. The 4-week experience teaches participants what it takes to be a team member. Participants learn hard and soft skills in the great outdoors, spend time working with campers in younger divisions to pass on their knowledge, and pursue industry-recognized certification in Wilderness First Aid. The culmination of this experience is a 5-day backpacking trip in the White Mountains.
Where We Go
Located in Dover, Massachusetts, Powissett Peak is an easy climb that attracts mountain bikers, runners, and hikers. As campers journey 410+ feet to the summit, they follow a scenic trail that offers glimpses of wildlife and wildflowers. This panoramic corner of the world offers sweeping valley views to adventurous hikers.
Putting their skills to the test, campers are immersed in natural and rugged beauty as they ascend 3,491 feet to reach the highest point in Massachusetts. Upon reaching the summit, they look out over the Berkshires and enjoy stellar views of up to 90 miles: five states, including Massachusetts, New York, Connecticut, Vermont, and New Hampshire, can be seen.
North & Middle Sugarloaf
These mountains resemble the cone-shaped “loaves” in which sugar was sold in the 1800s, which inspired their names. Located in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, they are known for their spectacular views and moderately challenging terrain. Campers reach the summits by journeying through bogs, a boulder field, and climbing a wooden ladder. The two mountains offer breathtaking views of Mt. Hale, the Twin Mountains, the Presidentials, and more.
Mts. Tom & Field
Mts. Tom and Field are two 4,000-footers that are part of the White Mountains near Bretton Woods, New Hampshire. These summits provide a rewarding experience for seasoned hikers. Nestled within the Willey Range, Mt. Tom and Mt. Field challenge campers to traverse rocky streams, log stairs, and dark conifer forests to reach the summits. Upon reaching the peaks, hikers glimpse the extensive Pemigewasset Wilderness, New Hampshire’s largest wilderness area.
Mts. Hale & Zealand
Located near Twin Mountain, New Hampshire, these 4,000-footers offer straight paths to the summits with consistent climbs to the peaks. As hikers traverse trails, they encounter water crossings, diverse fungi, and the magnificent Zealand Falls. Mt. Hale’s summit clearing includes remnants of an old fire tower that campers can view.
North & South Kinsman
South Kinsman is the sixth most prominent peak in the White Mountains. Both mountains offer beautiful yet difficult trails in Franconia Notch State Park near Lincoln, New Hampshire, including rock slabs, streams, and mossy paths. Upon reaching the summits, campers are overwhelmed by tremendous views of Cannon Mountain and Franconia Ridge.
At Hale, every camper takes the bus! We gladly provide bus service with stops in Brookline, Dedham, Dover, Hyde Park, Jamaica Plain, Medfield, Milton, Needham, Newton, Norwood, Roslindale, Walpole, Wellesley, West Roxbury, and Westwood. To reduce traffic and enhance safety, regular drop-offs and pick-ups are not permitted on site. A local bus stop is available for campers whose parents or guardians wish to drive them to Westwood.
A camp staff member accompanies each bus for the duration of its route and ensures your camper’s safe journey to and from camp each day. Please note that you or an authorized adult must meet your camper at your designated bus stop each afternoon. Buses serve campers during regular camp hours (8:45 AM–3:45 PM). Hale does not offer an extended day option. Please ensure your camper’s transportation plans account for timely pick-up.
- Clark Playground, 195 Cypress St, Brookline, MA 02445 7:55 AM 4:35 PM
- Heath Elementary School, 100 Eliot St, Chestnut Hill, MA 02467 8:05 AM 4:25 PM
- Memorial Spaulding Elementary School, 250 Brookline St, Newton, MA 02459 8:20 AM 4:10 PM
- Match Charter Public Middle School, 215 Forest Hills St, Jamaica Plain, MA 02130 8:00 AM 4:30 PM
- West Roxbury High School, 1205 VFW Pkwy, Boston, MA 02132 8:20 AM 4:10 PM
- Schofield Elementary School, 27 Cedar St, Wellesley, MA 02481 7:50 AM 4:40 PM
- Eliot Elementary School, 135 Wellesley Ave, Needham Heights, MA 02494 8:05 AM 4:25 PM
- Newman Elementary School, 1155 Central Ave, Needham, MA 02492 8:20 AM 4:10 PM
- Dale Street School, 45 Adams St, Medfield, MA 02052 7:45 AM 4:45 PM
- Thomas Blake Middle School, 24 Pound St, Medfield, MA 02052 7:55 AM 4:35 PM
- Dover Town Garage Parking Lot, 40 Spring Rd, Dover, MA 02030 8:15 AM 4:15 PM
- Sheehan School, 549 Pond St, Westwood, MA 02090 8:30 AM 4:00 PM
- Norwood High School, 245 Nichols St, Norwood, MA 02062 7:50 AM 4:40 PM
- F. A. Cleveland School, 380 Nichols St, Norwood, MA 02062 8:00 AM 4:30 PM
- Norfolk County Agricultural School, 400 Main St, Walpole, MA 02081 8:15 AM 4:15 PM
- Westwood High School, 200 Nahatan St, Westwood, MA 02090 8:30 AM 4:00 PM
- Holy Name Elementary School, 535 W Roxbury Pkwy, West Roxbury, MA 02132 8:00 AM 4:30 PM
- Catholic Memorial, 235 Baker St, West Roxbury, MA 02132 8:15 AM 4:15 PM
- Riverdale Elementary School, 143 Needham St, Dedham, MA 02026 8:25 AM 4:05 PM
- Pierce Middle School, 451 Central Ave, Milton, MA 02186 7:35 AM 4:55 PM
- Ellison Parks Early Ed School, 108 Babson St, Boston, MA 02126 7:45 AM 4:45 PM
- Francis D. Martini Memorial Shell Park and Moynihan Recreation Area, 1015 Truman Pkwy, Boston, MA 02136 8:00 AM 4:30 PM
- Greenlodge Elementary School, 191 Greenlodge St, Dedham, MA 02026 8:15 AM 4:15 PM
- Downey School, 250 Downey St, Westwood, MA 02090 8:30 AM 4:00 PM
- James W Hennigan School, 200 Heath St, Jamaica Plain, MA 02130 7:45 AM 4:45 PM
- The Mosaic School, 3859 Washington St, Boston, MA 02131 8:00 AM 4:30 PM
- Washington Irving Middle School, 105 Cummins Hwy, Roslindale, MA 02131 8:10 AM 4:20 PM
- Beethoven Elementary School, 5125 Washington St, Boston, MA 02132 8:25 AM 4:05 PM
A Day in the Life
Here’s a peek at a typical day at Hale Adventure Camp, where every day is packed to the brim with exciting activities (which are always subject to change based on weather, trail conditions, and camper interests).
|Time of day||Activity|
|Campers Arrive at Hale||Rise and shine—an exciting day outdoors awaits! Campers arrive at Hale, tighten laces on hiking boots, and stretch before hitting the trails.|
|Morning Circle/Roles of the Day and Announcements||Campers gather for Morning Circle. Counselors review the daily schedule and answer questions.|
|Values Contract Review and Group Games||Campers review their commitments to one another before warming up with interactive games.|
|Hike to Storrow Pond and Fishing||The day begins with a hike to Storrow Pond, where campers cast a line and attempt to catch fish.|
|Leave No Trace Lesson||To minimize our impact on the natural environment, counselors teach groups how to protect fragile ecosystems when engaging in outdoor recreation.|
|Lunch||Campers refuel and catch up with friends as they recount the morning’s adventures.|
|Swim Time||Nothing beats the summer sun like a quick dip in the pond.|
|Afternoon Activities||After swimming, campers try another activity of their choice, such as archery, boating, or climbing on our challenge course.|
|Camp Clean-Up||Once campers reconvene, it’s time to clean and store equipment and gear. This closure keeps campers organized and teaches responsibility.|
|Board Buses||Campers board buses and return home dirty, tired, and eager to return for another adventure-filled day.|
Would you like a closer look?
Check out our Camper Resource Site for an in-depth look at last year’s camps. Note the information you’ll find there is subject to change as we plan for next year!
Frequently Asked Questions
Hale Summer Camps
Seasonal staff members are carefully selected from the teaching profession, top college and graduate schools, and local public and private high schools. Every applicant is personally interviewed, three or more reference checks are required, and work histories are carefully reviewed. Hale also completes criminal background (CORI) and sex offender (SORI) checks on all of its hires.
Our counselors are enthusiastic, creative role models who understand children and love the outdoors. Activity specialists have extensive experience in their respective activities (and receive additional training prior to camp).
All staff members who work directly with campers are certified in CPR and First Aid. Hale Adventure Camp and Hale MTB Camp staff members often hold more advanced Wilderness First Aid, Wilderness Advanced First Aid, or Wilderness First Responder certifications, and often have many years and hundreds (if not thousands) of miles of experience hiking and riding terrain throughout New England. Hale Outdoor Learning Adventures staff members work with certified teachers from Boston Public Schools.
During a typical season, Kindercamp’s is 1:5. Lower Camp’s is 1:6. Middle Camp’s is 1:8. Teen Camp’s is 1:10. Additionally, program specialists staff every activity area. Hale Adventure Camp’s and Hale MTB Camp’s ratios are 1:6. HOLA’s ratio is 1:8. Overall, Hale’s staff-to-camper ratio is 1:5.
Some wait lists are longer than others, but people’s plans change. We enroll as many campers as possible in the order they signed up, so don’t delay—join a wait list today!
Parents and supporters often ask: Why can’t you simply hire more counselors and create additional groups? Massachusetts regulations and ACA guidelines require that specific camper-to-counselor ratios be maintained and that enrollment not exceed the capacity limits of current facilities.
Pre-Camp Programs offer a week-long introduction to Hale Summer Camps. These are not required for participation, but are a fun, relaxing way to jump into summer and experience different parts of Hale before everyone arrives.
Hale Adventure Camp
We highly encourage campers to wear sturdy sneakers, and hiking boots are an even better option! Backpacks, water bottles, apparel, sleeping bags, and other personal gear are the responsibility of each camper. Packing lists for overnights are tailored to each trip and shared with campers in advance. Hale provides tents, cookware, and other communal equipment.
During 2-week sessions of Hale Adventure Camp, Basecamp completes just one overnight at Hale during the second week. Frontcountry and Backcountry camp one night at Hale during the first week, and during the second week, Frontcountry takes a two-night trip to the Berkshires while Backcountry takes a two-night trip to the White Mountains. While Hale Adventure Camp is technically a day camp, we highly encourage all campers to challenge themselves through these experiences!
Hale provides 4-person tents for Basecamp and 2- and 3-person tents for Frontcountry and Backcountry (smaller tents are often required at more remote sites). Caregivers are consulted about camper tent preferences before trips. Counselors stay in their own individual tents and are available to support campers throughout the night. Groups set their own norms, such as their preferred “lights out” time, but all campers are expected to get to bed at a reasonable hour for a good night’s sleep.
Hale’s programs meet campers where they are. Adventure Camp begins with basic outdoor skills and helps young explorers learn to enjoy the outdoors safely. As campers progress, they improve their skills and learn perseverance through advanced activities, challenging hikes, and memorable backpacking trips. Each step leads to another—from identifying salamanders in Adventure 101, to spending time away from home in Basecamp, to hiking mountains in Frontcountry and Backcountry, and comfortably sleeping trailside in Expedition.
Hale Adventure Camp is an incredible experience, but it isn’t every kid’s cup of tea. Those who love it are comfortable being outdoors for long periods, don’t mind bugs, aren’t bothered by hot weather, enjoy playing in the rain, and aren’t afraid to sleep outside. Overnights can be challenging for our younger campers, but that’s why we build up to that experience. Sleepovers and similar experiences through which campers spend time away from their own homes and caregivers set them up for success. And those who have camped with family members or friends often serve as great role models who lend comfort and support to peers new to camping!
We take safety very seriously. Since the great outdoors can present unexpected risks, Hale Adventure Camp counselors complete 30+ hours of training before campers even step onto buses! All staff members are CPR-certified, and leadership team members are certified in Wilderness First Aid. Skill-based activities are preceded by verbal and visual reviews of safety rules and processes, and staff members demonstrate how to safely use tools before campers give it a try. At camp and on overnights, groups always stay together and learn to monitor the environment around them.
Recognized & Accredited
Every camp must comply with regulations set by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and be licensed by the local Board of Health, but Hale Summer Camps go well beyond that.
Our camps are members of the Massachusetts Camping Association and are proudly accredited by the American Camp Association.
Learn why that’s important.
Included in Tuition
We’re pleased to once again include one Hale Annual Membership per camp family (a $120 value) with registration. Valid from Mar. 1, 2024–Feb. 28, 2025, your membership features complimentary parking throughout the year, discounts on activities, and a copy of Hale Magazine. You’ll receive instructions to claim your household’s membership in February.
Paying for Camp
Registrants may choose to pay in full or opt for installment billing. This is a matter of preference; no discount is associated with one option vs. the other.
Installment billing requires a non-refundable down payment of $150 (Pre-Camp Programs) or $300 (Summer Camps and Leadership Development Programs). This down payment is required per camper, per session. The remainder is billed in equal monthly installments on the 15th of each month, starting December 2023. Campers who register after installment billing begins are responsible for however many installments would have already been billed leading up to that time.
Example: Let’s say you’d like to enroll your camper in Session 3 of Hale Day Camp’s Lower Camp division. Full tuition is $1,650 per session, less any discounts. If you pay full tuition and opt for installment billing, you’ll make a $300 deposit (per camper, per session), and then we’ll automatically charge the balance to your credit card on the 15th of each month thereafter, starting in December. If you register now, that’s $300 today plus $270 per month starting on Dec. 15. If you register after Dec. 15, you’ll pay $570 at the time of registration ($300 down payment + one $270 installment) and then $270 per month starting Jan. 15.
Whether you opt for installment billing or choose to pay in full, your account balance will be settled by May so you and your camper can focus on what’s most important as summer approaches: camp!
Hale is committed to ensuring that our programs are accessible to children and families regardless of personal means. To that end, we maintain a fund to help families in need afford the cost of tuition. Our financial aid application for next summer’s camps is available and due by Feb. 1.
Transfers & Refunds
Session transfer requests will be honored if space is available at no cost through Jan. 15. Any session transfer requests after Jan. 15 will be charged a $25 transfer fee per session transfer.
Our refund policy protects those who register early. Regular payments (i.e. your total amount paid, minus non-refundable down payments) are refundable until March 15, 2024.
Chart Your Course
Alumni registration is underway and open enrollment will begin soon. Wait lists grow quickly, so sign up as soon as you can!
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