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What to Expect

What does the Program Fee cover?

The program fees cover room and board, direct program expenses, and activities. Transportation to and from the programs is not included in the program price.

We encourage students to bring a small amount of spending money for any extras, such as souvenirs they would like to purchase during a trip into town.

Where is FOCUS' Property?

The FOCUS Study Center is located on 45 acres in West Tisbury, MA on Martha’s Vineyard. Our property is situated on Lambert’s Cove Road, 10 minutes from Vineyard Haven, MA and 15 minutes from Edgartown, MA. The Study Center offers 8 buildings designed for housing, dining, and gathering. Also onsite are tennis courts, basketball court, sand volleyball, and the ever popular Uncle Seth’s Pond. Please feel free to browse through the photos in order to get a better idea of the Study Center property.

What does a typical day at the Vineyard look like?

FOCUS is dedicated to making a student’s time with us unforgettable. While every program is slightly different, a typical day may look like the following: Each day, our mornings start at 8:30am with breakfast, followed by a time for personal reflection, free time, a morning meeting, small group discussions, and a camp wide game or activity. Lunch is followed by afternoon activities that offer students all of the unique adventures of the island. Afternoon activities can include anything from swimming in the pond, going to Lambert’s Cove beach, a bike ride to Edgartown, playing the famous FOCUS games, sailing off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard, going on a hike, seeing the cliffs at Aquinnah, or having a foosball tournament. This is a time for students to choose what they want to do from each days’ offerings. Everyone meets back at the property by 4pm for “tea time” – a delicious snack. Students can continue on campus free activities or attend optional special sessions about culturally relevant topics. Another camp wide activity will follow dinner, then evening meeting, “coffee house” (another snack and hang out time), and back to the cabins for cabin time before a 10:30pm lights out. Morning and evening meetings are for the whole program and include a variety of elements including a fun game or icebreaker, music & singing (both familiar and new songs), a personal story from a leader, and a brief time of teaching.

Where do students stay?

Housing is provided in two dormitories located on opposite sides of the property. Our girls stay in “The Palace,” while boys are in the upper and lower “Bunk House.” The Palace has six cabins that open both into a central hallway and out onto the porch. Bathrooms are accessed through the central hall. 4-6 students and 1-2 leaders are in each room. There are four cabins in each of the bunk houses. (The upper and lower bunk house are adjacent.) Each cabin opens to both the front and rear side of the porch. 3-6 students room with 1-2 leaders. The “Barn-Ex” is a separate cabin that is used for additional housing at larger programs. It is located near the middle of campus and is a favorite with those who have had the privilege to stay there. In the spirit of the Vineyard, all housing has both indoor and outdoor private showers, fans, and screened doors.

What is the program leadership and supervision?

During the summer, FOCUS programs have a leadership team made up of full time FOCUS staff and volunteer leaders. Our staff work in FOCUS regions and schools with students throughout the year. Our volunteer leaders are college students and professionals from fields like teaching, nursing, law, ministry, and finance. Most volunteer leaders were involved with FOCUS as middle and high school students, and enjoy the opportunity to come back and give their time for a few weeks as a program leader. Every FOCUS program has a ratio of at least 1 leader for every 3 students. These small leader-student ratios are an important part of the community fostered at FOCUS programs. Safety of the students is a top priority. All leaders undergo thorough national and local background checks. Safety guidelines and emergency procedures are reviewed by the leadership team at the beginning of every program. Drivers must be at least 21, have an exemplary driving record, and go through special training. All activities on the waterfront are supervised by at least one certified lifeguard and additional trained waterfront safety staff.

What is the food like?

FOCUS has a full-time chef who runs our kitchen in addition to a team of rotating volunteers. Fresh fruit, tea, and hot chocolate are available throughout the day in addition to 3 meals, and an afternoon and evening snack time. We offer a wide variety of healthy and delicious freshly prepared foods; many students highlight the food at FOCUS as one of the favorite parts of their program experience! Whenever possible, we are committed to using fresh, local products; FOCUS holds two shares of a community supported agriculture program from which we purchase a portion of our produce.

What if I have specific food allergies?

Through the years, we have had several students with a variety of food allergies and dietary restrictions. We work hard to accommodate these needs by tweaking our general menu or providing special meals. We ask that you accurately complete the FOCUS Medical Consent and Information Form so that we are well aware of any food allergies and can accommodate any changes needed in the menu.

Do you have a nurse available?

During the summer, FOCUS employs a registered nurse to oversee the medical care of students and leaders at our Martha’s Vineyard property. Our standards of care are regularly updated by an overseeing doctor in the local medical community. Additionally, each program has several leaders who work as infirmary assistants to provide additional care. All prescription and over the counter medications are turned into the infirmary upon arrival at a program, and dispensed by the nurse or infirmary assistants at the appropriate times. In the event of illness or injury that cannot be handled by our infirmary, parents will be contacted and students taken to the medical clinic or emergency room for additional care.

If my child has a birthday during the program, how will their birthday be celebrated?

At each program, one of the leaders is responsible for checking the registration list to see if there are any birthdays and making sure that birthdays are celebrated!  Our kitchen makes delicious desserts for lunch and dinner, and so a typical celebration includes bringing dessert to the student's table with candles and singing happy birthday.  Cabin leaders often will help celebrate too by getting a special treat for cabin meeting.  If you'd like to send along a birthday package, you can find our mailing address below, and keep in mind that mail takes a day or two longer than usual to get to the island.

What should I bring?

Suggested Packing List:

  • Sheets or sleeping bag (pillow, pillow case, and blankets are provided)
  • Towel
  • Appropriate clothing for outdoor play and activities, such as tennis shoes, rain gear, bathing suit, warmer clothes for the cooler evenings
  • You may also want to bring sports equipment, musical instrument, flashlight and camera
  • Spending money if you would like to pick up some souvenirs or get a snack on a town trip

Please DO NOT Bring the following items:

  • Alcohol, marijuana, illegal drugs, or drug paraphernalia
  • Computers, DVD players, and iPads/tablets. You may bring iPods or similar devices to listen to music, but we request that students not watch videos on them.

If anyone is found with such items, they will either be confiscated for the remainder of the program, or (in the case of alcohol, marijuana, illegal drugs, or drug paraphernalia) may result in the student being sent home early at the parent's expense.

FOCUS is not responsible for any lost or stolen items during the program.

How do I contact my child during a program?

During a program, you may leave a message on the Study Center's office phone for your child or a FOCUS Staff member. Messages are collected throughout the day and posted on the message board for students to receive.

FOCUS Study Center: 508-693-1359

If you would like to send a letter or a package to your child, please allow about 2-3 extra days for it to arrive due to the remote location of Martha's Vineyard.

If sending a letter or package via USPS:

  • FOCUS Study Center
  • 450 Lambert's Cove Rd.
  • Vineyard Haven, MA 02568

If sending a letter or package via UPS, FedEx or other shippers:

  • FOCUS Study Center
  • 450 Lambert's Cove Rd.
  • West Tisbury, MA 02575