What Do Kids Do There?
At Macomber Center, kids are free to decide for themselves how to spend their time each day, within the the bounds of community rules and norms. Our Center is a vibrant and dynamic place, and what we do here is different all the time. We read books, play video games, build things, make music, engage in conversation, and lounge in the sun. Sometimes we talk about physics and the properties of light. Sometimes we share stories about gross leftovers in the fridge. Always, we are learning: about the world, about each other, about ourselves.
Please find listed below a sampling of some of the activities that take place at Macomber Center throughout the year!
The Macomber Center is situated on 114 acres of land that adjoins the 575-acre Ashland Town Forest. Our members enjoy the freedom of endless, unstructured play, exploration and discovery. They spend hours playing sports in the fields, studying nature up close, building structures in the woods, hiking the trails, and climbing on huge rock formations.
All ages participate in cooking in our small kitchen. We have made pies and burritos, sushi and dumplings, pasta and applesauce, many grilled cheese sandwiches and many pots of vegetable soup. Members have learned cooking skills from visiting experts such as Dave Becker, owner/chef of two renowned restaurants, Sweet Basil and Juniper, and Roberta Jackson, former head chef at Wellesley College; and line chef skills from our own Mark Bell, who has worked as a chef in top restaurants on both coasts.
Visitors & Outings
At Macomber Center, we value the resources of our broader community. We often host visitors who may give talks or demonstrations about the kinds of work they do or special experiences they may have had. Recently we spent the morning with “Wings of Fire” author, Tui T. Sutherland. We also go out to places like the library, the zoo, and museums!
Each day at the Macomber Center is filled with music of every conceivable kind, from flute and guitar duets to heavy metal. Our members have access to our new music room, which features acoustic and electric guitars, electric basses, an electronic drum set, multiple keyboards, hand percussion, and whatever instruments members bring in to play. Our staff members Ben, Dan, Mark and Kerry pull bring a wealth of experience and skills to help members develop expertise in rock, jazz, pop, traditional folk, and classical music. Much of the playing and jamming leads up to our winter and spring music shows.
Many of our members pursue academic study during their time at Macomber Center. Groups of kids and staff members dive into math, biology, biochemistry, writing, Latin, and French to name just some of the academic subjects that are studied here.
Sports & Games
Games of every conceivable kind happen here. Games like bananagrams, settlers of catan, lies dice, mafia, chess and Pictionary have become common fixtures at the Center. This year we have been playing an outdoor game called “murder mystery” which was created by one of our members and continues to evolve. Some of the other outdoor games we play include volleyball, soccer, gaga, basketball, badminton, tag, and capture the flag.
Projects of all kinds are a regular part of life at Macomber. We do electronics projects, visual art, and building, and our members often bring in their own personal projects to work on and share.
One of the first things we did together as a community was make jam from our own wild concord grapes. Some of the kids climbed up the trees and began picking and throwing the grapes down to the buckets below while others fashioned their own long-handled tools. This has continued as a Macomber tradition. Several years ago, we added maple syrup to our repertoire. We tapped fifteen of the two hundred year old sugar maples that line our property and built an evaporator out behind the Center to boil down the over eighty gallons of sap that we collect each season. Last year we started a winter garden and this year we are building a cob oven so we can make bread and pizza outdoors.
ACTING AND Filmmaking
Many of our members enjoy acting in skits and making films.
St1ff member Mark has been writing, filming and editing his own
films since he was fifteen. Mark offers regular acting classes, where members can sharpen multiple skills, including re1ding, public speaking, confidence building and socializing. We always have at least one ongoing project being filmed here on the campus. Many scenes
are created and written by our members. Our science fiction/adventure series “Space Thieves” is currently in itʼs sixth season of production with over 130 episodes filmed. Other recent Macomber shows include the mystery thriller “Donut,” and the family drama “The Roses.”