Camps let kids be kids

Tucked in quietly at the back of Stock Island, the COAST property looks like an explorer’s playground, or the perfect place for kids to play during the summer — wooden and rustic — and ready for building, discovering, and getting a little dirty.

“Basic human instinct draws to our childish wants and desires to be outside in nature, to sweat, and run, and fall down and get back up,” said COAST founder and creative director Billy Kearins and dad to a 3-and-a-half-year-old and 8-year-old. “These kids don’t even think about cell phones, iPads and video games when they are here.”

COAST offers two summer programs, the weeklong “Original” camp and the weeklong “Along the Coast” camp, starting June 13 and running through August 5 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

In the original camp, the lineup is jewelry making, beach exploring and environmental ecology, screen printing, survival skills, skateboard making, and more. The week runs $325 for 6 to 12 year olds. (The first week, June 13-17, will be open for 4 to 8 year olds.)

One of the days, the kids imagine they are stranded on deserted island, learning life survival skills like boating safety, knots, shelter making, and edible fruits and trees. Another day, the campers create their very own skateboard from concept to completion, bringing it home with them after the camp is over.

Last year, Kearins added the Along the Coast camp, where campers make a five-day trek around Old Town. The team starts Day 2 in the exact spot Day 1 ended. “We make a loop around the island, visiting new locations each day,” said Kearins. They visit places like the Southernmost Point, Bahama Village, Ft. Zach, Truman Waterfront, Key West Bight, the cemetery, and The Meadows.

“A lot of things are experimental. I get an idea and I act on it,” Kearins said. The Along the Coast camp follows the same philosophy. “If the kids are having fun exploring a spot or climbing on a tree, we can stay there,” said Kearins. “Our schedule is flexible; the kids dictate how the day goes and guide their own tour.”

Each camp has 12 or fewer kids supervised by two to three counselors.  

Samara MacDonald, 7, did both the camps last summer and can’t wait for the Along the Coast camp again this coming summer. “It’s rugged, like playing the dirt, finding shells,” said mom, Caroline. “The creativity just pours out of the kids.” Samara said her favorite part was the nature walks and coconut games that resemble horseshoes, with found nuts.

For more information on the camps, visit or call 617-418-9085

“Camp should be a place where they can run around, play, touch things, and not be afraid to break something.” –Billy Kearins, COAST Founder.

Join Our Blast – Keys News Right to Your INBOX

Leave a Reply