U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Summer Camp staff with children on a playground

Summer Camps and Programs (K-8)

Human Service Programs

The Department of Human Service Programs' Community Schools Summer Camps and Cambridge Youth Programs (CYP) Pre-Teen / Middle School Summer Programs offer safe and fun summer programming to Cambridge children and youth in grades Kindergarten through 8th grade. Community Schools Summer Camps and CYP Summer Programs are filled through a lottery process.

The 2024 DHSP Summer Lottery Application is closed. If you have questions, please contact us at askdhsp@cambridgema.gov or 617-349-6200.


2024 DHSP Summer Camp and Program Dates

All DHSP Summer Camps and Programs run Monday – Friday from 8:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.

Mini-session: Week 1, July 1-5 (closed July 4)
Session 1: Weeks 2 and 3, July 8 –19
Session 2: Weeks 4 and 5, July 22 – August 2
Session 3: Weeks 6 and 7, August 5 – August 16 

The "mini-session" from July 1-5 is 1 week. All other sessions are 2 weeks. Applicants cannot split or combine sessions. 

Summer Programs for Cambridge Teens

In addition to summer programming for K-8th graders, DHSP’s Office of Workforce Development manages The Mayor’s Summer Youth Employment Program (MSYEP), which places Cambridge teens (age 14 through the summer after they complete high school) at paid summer job sites. Cambridge Youth Programs offers several job experiences to teens through MSYEP.


Enrollment FAQ

How can I confirm my child's enrollment was successful in Trax?

Log onto Trax through the link in your child's offer letter. In the "History" section under "My Account," review the enrollments.  A successful enrollment will display each of the sessions your child accepted from their offer (an icon of a running person will be next to these sessions). It will also disaply a DHSP Summer membership (with head and shoulders icon next to it). 

The "Pending" status is the activity status (not your child's enrollment status). This will change to "Active" closer to the session's start date. 

If your child has an enrollment in this section, matching the information in your child's offer letter), your Trax enrollment was successful. If your account displays an enrollment with incorrect information, please contact askdhsp@cambridgema.gov or 617-349-6200. Otherwise, 

Example of a Successful Trax Enrollment

Below is a successful enrollment for a child who was offered three camp sessions and the mini-session. In addition to the session "activities," the correct DHSP Summer membership is displaying. 

Example - Summer Trax Enrollment


My child received an offer; why do I need to enroll them in the camp session(s) in Trax? What is Trax?

The offer that your child received through our application system, Viewpoint, needs to be accepted or declined by you. 

To accept the offer, the child needs to be enrolled in the summer session(s) in Trax, DHSP's online enrollment system. Your offer letter has the Trax link that you need to complete this step. Enroll your child in the "DHSP Summer" Trax membership and the sessions listed on their offer letter within 7 days of receiving your child's offer letter. Once you have completed these steps, your child will be succesfully enrolled in their summer program. 

For step-by-step Trax enrollment instructions: www.cambridgema.gov/TraxInstructions. 

I accepted my offer, but I need to drop a session. What do I do?

Send a message through your Viewpoint application or contact us at askdhsp@cambridgema.gov or 617-349-6200. 


Lottery FAQ

When and how will I find out if my child has a seat at a Summer Camp / Program?

Families who submit their application by March 3 will be notified of a summer placement offer or Waiting Pool placement the week of March 25. Families will have 7 days to accept their seat by registering in Trax or to decline their seat. 

This information will be provided through a message and notification letter on Viewpoint. Families will receive an email message from noreply@viewpointcloud.com with the subject line “City of Cambridge, MA” letting them know a document has been issued to their Viewpoint account. Log into your Viewpoint account to access the letter details. 

What happens if my child is placed in the Waiting Pool?

Every year, there are more applicants to the DHSP Summer Lottery than we have seats available in our programs.

We anticipate a second round of placement offers in May, after families who received a first-round placement offer decline their seats. You will be notified through email and your Viewpoint account if an opening becomes available for your child.

If you would no longer like your child to be in the Waiting Pool, you can fill out the Opt out of Waiting Pool Form to remove your child from it. 

Does DHSP provide transportation to DHSP Summer Camps and Programs?

No. Families are responsible for getting their children to and from camp.

Can I sign up for a single week of DHSP Summer Camps or Programs?

Session 1 is a single week. All other sessions are a 2 week commitment. Sessions cannot be split or combined. 

Can my child attend for half days?

No, DHSP does not offer any half-day options through the Summer Lottery. All DHSP Summer Lottery programs are full-day programs that run from 8:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. daily.

Do you offer any summer programming the last two weeks of August?

No. All DHSP summer programs end on August 16, 2024.

What types of activities are provided in the summer programs? Is there swimming?

Please view Community Schools Camps sample schedule and Cambridge Youth Programs Pre-Teen / Middle School summer programs sample schedule.

All summer camps and programs include weekly swimming opportunities at local pools.

My child will be in Kindergarten next year and has not completed Junior Kindergarten. Are they eligible to apply?

No. Rising Kindergarteners are only eligible to apply to the DHSP Summer Lottery if they have completed a year of Junior Kindergarten at a Cambridge Public School. DHSP Summer Camps are designed for children who have completed Junior Kindergarten to ensure that all participants are developmentally prepared for camp programming, curriculum, and experience. 

Can I enter more than one child through the same application?

Yes. You need only one Viewpoint account and will enter information for siblings on the same application. 

In the online application, you will be asked how many children in your household are applying to the DHSP Summer Lottery. If you select more than one child, additional fields will appear where you can fill out specific information for each child. All fields must be filled out for each child for them to be eligible for the lottery.

After submitting your application, each child’s eligibility and application will be reviewed by DHSP staff.  You will receive separate notifications and letters for each child that you include in your application.

Will siblings be guaranteed placement together?

Siblings receive the same lottery number and are given preference to be placed together. However, sibling placement depends on seat availability at each site for each child’s age group and is not guaranteed.

Can I make changes to my application after I have submitted it?

Changes cannot be made by the applicant once an application has been submitted. Please review your application for accuracy before submitting it.

If you make a critical error on your application (e.g. you spelled your child's name wrong, entered the wrong grade, or accidentally selected the wrong program selection), you can contact DHSP at askdhsp@cambridgema.gov or 617-349-6200 to update the application. Changes must be made before the application deadline.  


Can I apply after the application deadline?

Applications submitted after the lottery deadline will be automatically added to the Waiting Pool. 

We anticipate a second round of placement offers in May, after families who received a first-round placement offer decline their seats. 

How do I know my application was submitted?

You will receive a confirmation email from noreply@opengov.com after submitting your application. If you think you submitted your application, but did not receive a confirmation email, log into your opengov account to see if your application is still in draft form. Follow the application prompts until you complete and submit your application.

What are my child’s chances of getting into camp?

Every year, there are more applicants than there are available seats.

Seat offers depend on how many applications DHSP receives for each grade level, location, and session; your child’s lottery number; and whether your child meets one or more priority / preference factors. 

Why are you doing a Lottery for DHSP Camps and Summer Programs?

Every year, there are more applicants than there are available seats. We have learned that the first-come, first-served registration model negatively impacts our ability to equitably serve families, especially families that are historically underserved. We have therefore adjusted our registration process and enrollment model to better prioritize equitable access.

What is the criteria for the DHSP Summer Lottery process?

Each applicant is assigned a randomized lottery number.

A set amount of available “priority” seats at each site and each grade level are designated for a specific group of children with priority income preference (65% or less of Area Median Income (AMI)). Only applicants who have applied through Opengov and meet the criteria of that specific group are entered into the lottery for the priority seats.

Applications are reviewed so that eligible students are considered first for the designated seats. If a match can’t be made, they will be placed in the Waiting Pool for designated seats and entered into the Lottery for the general seats. If the priority seats do not fill in the lottery, they will not be automatically filled with applicants outside of the defined group. This allows a program to ensure the seats remain open for post-lottery applicants who meet the specific group criteria.

We also consider the following preferences:

  • Sibling Preference: Siblings of children who are offered a camp seat through the Lottery are prioritized for a seat, but not guaranteed one.
  • Equitable Access (Hardship) PreferenceEligible applicants who are experiencing homelessness or are in Department of Children and Families (DCF) custody. 

Where can I find information about other Cambridge summer programs ?

The Cambridge Agenda for Children Out-of-School-Time maintains Summer Resource Guides for K-8th Graders.

FindIt Cambridge is another great resource for finding local summer camps and programs. You can also search for childcare, afterschool programs, housing resources, free events and more: www.finditcambridge.org.

Page was last modified on 6/21/2024 4:19 PM
Contact Us

How can we help?

Please provide as much detail below as possible so City staff can respond to your inquiry:

As a governmental entity, the Massachusetts Public Records Law applies to records made or received by the City. Any information received through use of this site is subject to the same provisions as information provided on paper.

Read our complete privacy statement

Service Requests

Enter a service request via SeeClickFix for things like missed trash pickups, potholes, etc.