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About Camp


Welcome to Camp Uncommon!

At Camp Uncommon, we believe that just like a high-quality education, an amazing summer camp experience should be available to all children. Camp Uncommon offers campers the chance to expand their horizons through athletics, performing arts, art, photography, STEM, outdoor adventure, swimming, and other fun activities. Camp Uncommon gives campers the chance to challenge themselves in a safe space, and make new, long-lasting friendships.


Camp Uncommon

Camp Uncommon takes place at Colby College in beautiful Waterville, Maine. Colby’s amazing facility offers campers the opportunity to experience a traditional summer camp program on a college campus full of natural beauty. The campus offers indoor and outdoor athletic facilities, a swimming pool, hiking trails, dance studios, theaters, science labs, art studios, a music room, and first-class dormitories. For more information regarding Colby’s facilities, click here.

At Uncommon Schools, our mission is to close the achievement gap and prepare low-income students to graduate from college. In order to accomplish that mission, we believe it is critical that our scholars have the necessary social, emotional, and non-cognitive skills to get to and through college. That was the main impetus for Camp Uncommon. At Camp Uncommon, we provide an opportunity for middle-school-aged campers to build a tight-knit community in a safe setting that allows for exploration, learning, and fun. Our ultimate goal is to provide an enjoyable, exciting summer experience that motivates our campers to approach the future with curiosity, responsibility, independence, and self-confidence, which are essential to college and life success.



Group Activities:

Our program is structured to give campers the opportunity to experience each activity at camp through a rotating group program, which occurs each morning. Camp Uncommon offers a variety of activities, including:

  • Athletics: soccer, tennis, flag football, baseball, softball, basketball, volleyball, fitness, yoga

  • Swimming: swim instruction and general swim

  • Adventure: overnight camping, climbing, discovery/nature

  • Inter-Arts: arts & crafts, music theatre performance, improvisation, hip hop dance, photography, singing

  • STEM: robotics, coding, rocketry



Each afternoon, campers have a chance to “dive deep” into two activities via our intensives program. Intensives are afternoon activity periods in which campers participate for 3 consecutive days. For example, a camper may choose to participate in a Basketball Intensive for 3 days. By doing so, campers have an opportunity to get hands-on, in-depth instruction from our Basketball staff over several days. As a result, by receiving deeper, individualized instruction, campers improve current skills and gain new skills. Camp Uncommon offers a wide variety of intensives to ensure that every camper gets to participate in an activity they love.


Discovery Blocks:

At Camp Uncommon, we want to provide opportunities for campers to develop their whole selves. Each afternoon, our campers take part in Discovery Blocks, which include a variety of activities that help campers develop their social and emotional skills. These blocks are based on the theme of the day and help our campers expand their minds, their hearts, and their emotional intelligence.



Special Days:

There are a few “Special Days” at Camp Uncommon. On a "Special Day,” there is a special program which takes the place of campers’ regular activities. Campers also go on out-of-camp trips to amusement and water parks, baseball games, and other scenic destinations along the Maine coast. Campers will just have to wait and see what these days entail!


Living and Dining at Colby College:

Colby College offers a world-class facility. The dormitories are fantastic and provide our campers with the experience of living on a college campus. Colby has an outstanding cafeteria service; campers are treated to excellent meals to help keep them strong and fueled for their active camp days. For more information on Colby College, click here.




When is Camp Uncommon?

Camp Uncommon will take place July 6th-July 20th 2018!

Where is Camp Uncommon?

Camp Uncommon is hosted at Colby College, in beautiful Waterville, Maine.

Where do Camp Uncommon campers come from?

Our campers are selected from Uncommon middle schools in New York City, Newark, Camden, Boston, Rochester, and Troy.

How will campers get to camp?

Campers travel to Camp Uncommon via luxury bus. In each Uncommon city, we have a bus pick-up location. Information on exact pick-up locations will be provided at parent information sessions. Campers travel to camp with several Camp Uncommon staff members.

What are the living accommodations like at Camp Uncommon?

Since Camp Uncommon is being hosted at Colby College, the living arrangements at camp will be dormitory style. Counselors are responsible for a group of campers and will be living with them their stay at camp. Colby College is a beautiful, modernized campus; we assure you that your children will find their stay at camp quite comfortable.

Who will be the staff at Camp Uncommon?

Camp Uncommon will be predominantly staffed by Uncommon teachers from across all of our cities.

What will the dining situation be at Camp Uncommon and will food allergies be accommodated?

The food at Colby College is excellent and any and all accommodations will be met, including dietary restrictions, allergies, and vegan/vegetarian needs.

How “co-ed” is Camp Uncommon?

All camp activities are co-ed and separated by age group except for Intensive Blocks which are comprised of boys and girls from all age groups.


Senior Staff Profiles

Josh Phillips, Camp Uncommon Founder & Chief of Innovation and School Operations, Uncommon Schools

Josh attended Camp Naticook in New Hampshire as a child and worked as the Head Boys Counselor at Camp Laurel in Maine for several summers. He joined Uncommon Schools in 2008 as Chief Operating Officer and later served as Managing Director of Uncommon Rochester and Troy. He was previously the Co-Director of Roxbury Preparatory Charter School in Boston. In 2007, Roxbury Prep’s 8th graders had the highest math MCAS scores in the entire state of Massachusetts. As Co-Director at Roxbury Prep for six years, Josh brought to Uncommon a track record of results and extensive operational and management experience. He previously served as the Enrichment Coordinator and sixth grade World History teacher at Roxbury Prep. Josh was also a history teacher-intern at the John D. O’Bryant School of Math and Science while earning an EdM in Teaching and Curriculum from Harvard University. He received his B.A. in political science from Colgate University and his M.A. in political science from the University of California at Santa Barbara.

Mike Callahan, Director of Camp Uncommon

Mike earned a Bachelor’s in Social Work from Rutgers University and a Master’s in Social Work from NYU. Mike’s camp career started as a camper at Camp Kingsley Pines, continued as a camp counselor at the Montclair YMCA Day Camp, and later as Assistant Director of Camp Sunshine at the Westfield YMCA. Next, he helped to found the Better Days Foundation to serve families who lost a parent or loved one on 9/11/01. He also served as the Assistant Director of Camp Better Days for 10 years. Mike joined Uncommon 3 years ago as a school Social Worker at North Star Academy’s West Side Park Campus.

Emma Simmons, Program Director

Emma Simmons earned a B.S. in Human Services from Northeastern University and a M.A. in Elementary Education from Relay Graduate School of Education. Emma spent all of her summers as a child attending different camps, and then worked at camps during summers throughout college. Before joining Uncommon, Emma worked as the Event Manager for CYCLE Kids, which is a non-profit that gives children the opportunity to learn how to ride bikes and learn nutrition during the school day. Emma joined Uncommon 4 years ago as a 2nd Grade Teacher at Vailsburg Elementary School in Newark and currently, she is a 5th Grade Math Teacher at Roxbury Prep Mission Hill in Boston.

Joiele Coplin, Head Girls Counselor

Joiele graduated with her Bachelor’s and Master’s in Early Childhood education and Special education from the State University at Plattsburgh. Growing up, Joiele spent time with her family and friends at day camps. Joiele has been a part of the Uncommon family for 3 years as a first grade teacher. She is currently working at Troy Prep Elementary School as a first grade teacher. Joiele was a founding counselor at Camp Uncommon and believes strongly in our mission to provide campers with a safe, fulfilling experience that will build the skills necessary for success in college and beyond.

Seck Barry, Head Boys Counselor

Seck Barry is the founding Dean of Students at Camden Prep. Before joining Uncommon, Seck served as a program coordinator for Playworks, a national non-profit organization that organizes structured play in order to promote fitness, fun and safety for children. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in Political Science. Throughout college, he represented Penn’s Division I Track and Field Team in the 4X100 relay team, 110 hurdles, and 100 and 200 meter dash. Seck currently serves on the Advisory Board of Design Meets Mind, LLC, an informal education consulting firm in Philadelphia.

Ijeoma Duru, Head of Junior Counselors

Ijeoma Duru is proud to be continuing with the Camp Uncommon family! She is an alumna of Roxbury Preparatory Charter School in Boston and is thrilled to be continuing the work and vision that Camp Uncommon has set to achieve. Ijeoma graduated from Pace University, earning a Bachelor’s in Biological Psychology. Ijeoma also has a Master’s in the Art of Teaching from Relay Graduation School of Education. Thanks to the help of Roxbury Prep, the importance of summer has always been instilled in her. Whether it was camping and hiking or working as an intern, Ijeoma has always ensured her summers were well spent. She has worked at Uncommon Collegiate Charter High School for the past three years, first as a member of the Math team and now as the Associate Dean of Students.

Ebony Joseph, Senior Staff Fellow

Ebony is a graduate of The Pennsylvania State University with a B.S. in Human Development and Family Studies. She worked as a program director for Kids First summer camp while in school creating an activity curriculum for the summer. She began Uncommon in 2014 as a founding fourth grade teacher at West Side Park Elementary school and is in her fourth year of teaching. Ebony believes that all children deserve a memorable summer and Camp Uncommon provides just that. She began at Camp Uncommon in its first year as a group counselor as well as an activity counselor teaching art at Camp Uncommon and she is excited continue to be a part of the family.