Hale Outdoor Learning Adventures
Our Summer Learning Academy
Hale Outdoor Learning Adventures (HOLA) is a 5-week day camp experience in Westwood and Dover. Campers from BPS partner schools explore more than 1,200 acres of adventure as they learn in the great outdoors. Teachers and counselors double as mentors who inspire curiosity, spark learning, and build community.
Studied by both RAND Corporation and the National Institute on Out-of-School Time, HOLA uses best practices and proven methods to create fun, educational and memorable summer experiences.
Campers focus on Math and ELA, but they can expect several STEM and social-emotional learning opportunities, too. HOLA takes learning outside the classroom and onto the trails, into the pond, and among the trees.
Collaboration and resiliency are key as campers take swimming and boating lessons, climb on the ropes course, aim for success at the archery range, and learn to creatively express themselves in arts and crafts.
We welcome rising 4th , 5th, and 6th graders from schools throughout Boston, and are now accepting applicants!
Hale partners with Boston Public Schools to provide a summer learning academy for elementary school students. HOLA uses best practices and proven methods to create fun, educational, and memorable summer experiences that blend academics and adventure.
As an official Summer Learning Academy of the City of Boston, HOLA blends academic content taught by certified teachers with traditional camp activities such as swimming, boating, climbing, archery, and more. Hale, Boston Public Schools, and Boston After School & Beyond collaborate to deliver this five-week experience. The program is free and more information is available through participating schools:
Hale is pleased to provide free bus service for HOLA campers. 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. You or an authorized adult must meet your camper at your designated bus stop each afternoon.
- Clap Innovation School, 35 Harvest Street, Dorchester (7:45 AM / 4:30 PM)
- Russell Elementary School, 750 Columbia Road, Dorchester (7:50 AM / 4:25 PM)
- Curley K-8 School, 40 Pershing Road, Jamaica Plain (8:15 AM / 4:05 PM)
- Chittick Elementary School, 154 Ruskindale Road, Hyde Park (7:45 AM / 4:35 PM)
- Phineas Bates Elementary School, 426 Beech Street, Roslindale (8:05 AM / 4:20 PM)
- Ohrenberger School, 175 W. Boundary Road, West Roxbury (8:20 AM / 4:05 PM)
- Henry Grew School, 40 Gordon Avenue, Hyde Park (7:55 AM / 4:35 PM)
- William Ellery Channing School, 35 Sunnyside Street, Hyde Park (8:05 AM / 4:25 PM)
- Franklin D. Roosevelt K-8 School, 95 Needham Road, Hyde Park (8:20 AM / 4:10 PM)
An HOLA Camper’s Day at Hale
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 Outdoor Learning Adventures
If your child is actively enrolled in Boston Public Schools and has completed Grade 3, 4, or 5, please complete the application linked on this page. Applicants do not need to be enrolled at an official partner school, but priority is given to applicants from those schools. If your child is not enrolled in Boston Public Schools, or has not yet completed Grade 3, 4, or 5, they are not eligible for HOLA—please consider one of Hale’s Summer Camps or its Family and Community Program.
HOLA teachers are certified Boston Public Schools teachers. Group counselors are typically senior high school and college students. Trained specialists supervise swimming, climbing, and archery.
Transportation is included in the program. Three buses travel throughout Boston to pick up students. Stops include local elementary schools and other common areas. Buses do not provide door-to-door service.
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!
Students are being challenged mentally. They’re being challenged physically. They’re being pushed to make new friends, and to get along with other kids they have never met before. This is an incredible program.
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 routinely recognized as Boston Parents Paper Family Favorites and are members of the Massachusetts Camping Association.
Applications will be available in the coming months. Sign up below to be alerted when you can sign up.
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