Our programs are an investment in the future, to inspire and enable all children, especially those who need our support the most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible leaders.
We focus on offering underserved children the opportunity, in a village environment, to develop and practice leadership and life skills that will enhance their ability to be successful and happy in all areas of their lives. We strive to help children develop to their fullest potential and identify their own gifts, interests, and strengths, by exposing them to new skills, experiences, and possibilities in a positive and fun setting.
It is our hope that all of our children will develop the tools to create and recognize opportunity throughout their lives, understand the broad range of possibilities open to them, appreciate the value of good friends, have the courage to dream big, and the discipline to make those dreams come true.
Agassiz Village was founded in 1935 at its present lakeside location in Poland Maine by Mr. & Mrs. Harry E. Burroughs. Then, as now, Agassiz gave children the opportunity to escape the hardship of their daily lives. Originally the camp served boys who worked as a newsboys, bootblacks, or other street vendors. The boys learned basic job skills, practiced school subjects, experienced outdoor living, and developed many life skills.
The camp opened its doors to an adaptive program for physically disabled campers in the late 1950's, and girls joined the camp in 1973 when it became coed. Both changes are still part of the program foundation today, and campers come from all over the Greater Boston area to experience this unique program.
Today, Agassiz Village serves nearly 1,000 children a summer. While we welcome all children ages 8–17, our focus is on underserved children in the greater Boston area. Most of our children live in at-risk neighborhoods in eastern Massachusetts. More than 85% of our participants come from low income or poverty level families.
Stephen MacQuarrie, President
Eastern Bank (ret.)
Steve MacQuarrie is an Executive Interviewer for Greenwich Associates, a consulting and market research firm serving the world’s largest banks and brokerage houses. Prior to that, he was CEO of companies ranging from start-ups to $100 million in revenues. He also worked for Bank of Boston and Eastern Bank, running seven different business units ranging from residential real estate lending to international banking. He is currently a director and Treasurer of Northeast Pharmacy Services, a cooperative serving over 250 independent pharmacies in New England.
Che Elwell, V. President
John Hancock Financial Services, Asst. Vice President
Che Elwell is an Assistant Vice President with John Hancock Financial Services in Boston, where he oversees many of the technology systems. Throughout his career, Che has led various technology groups within John Hancock, Manulife Financial, and State Street Bank. He received his Master’s degree in Computer Science from Boston University and a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from The University of Massachusetts. Che and his awesome wife are the proud father of a teenage daughter who actively participates in her parents’ passions for outdoor activities. Che coincidentally was fortunate to grow up with a family cabin on a small lake near Agassiz Village where he explored, gained confidence and developed a great appreciation for all things outside. Che and his family want to help provide the life changing experiences, to those who wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity, that come from the experiences and values of responsibility, self-confidence and service to others that are the cornerstone of Agassiz Village.
Frank Finizio, Treasurer
Fidelity Investments (ret.)
Frank is currently retired after spending the last 10 years at Fidelity Investments as a Senior Contracts Manager. Prior to Fidelity, he was a Division Controller at BankBoston and an independent financial management consultant primarily servicing small companies. Frank is married and has two grown children.
Frank is currently retired after spending the last 10 years at Fidelity Investments as a Senior Contracts Manager. Prior to Fidelity, he was a Division Controller at BankBoston for 5 years, and prior to BankBoston he spent 9 years as an independent financial management consultant primarily servicing small companies.&. Frank is married with two grown children.
Ellen Corbett, Clerk, Alumna
Ellen worked as a CIT and Counselor at Agassiz Village from 1981 – 1987 in the Explorer Unit. Ellen served on the Alumni Association from 1991 until 2001.
Steward Health Care
Warren Burroughs, Jr.
Institute for Human Centered Design
Calvin Hunter, Alumnus
CLH & Sons Construction
Loomis Sayles & Company
American Holt Company
Michelle Cruz Peverley
John Hancock Financial Services
Edmund Poirier, Alumnus
Prime Motor Group
Cliff Simmonds, Executive Director
Cliff accepted the position of executive director at Agassiz Village in February 2010. He brings 10 years experience as the executive director of a well known environmental education and land stewardship organization in southern New Hampshire. Prior to that, Cliff was an environmental community relations consultant for 10 years and worked with the US Environmental Protection Agency to clean up hazardous waste sites.
Cliff’s roots are well planted in the nonprofit sector, starting his career at the March of Dimes and United Way. He later became the Communications and Volunteer Services Director at the Fernald School in Waltham, MA. Cliff prides himself on building relationships in the community and creatively accomplishing goals through effective fundraising initiatives, program management and outreach.
“I believe that having the opportunity to make a difference in a child’s life is a gift. Making a difference in hundreds of children’s lives is a treasure.”
Thomas Semeta, Camp Director
Thomas who originally hails from Lithuania, has had many years of experience in the camping world. Prior to his position at Agassiz Village, Thomas spent four years as the Assistant Director to Camp Homeward Bound for homeless youth from New York City. His love for camping and children began with his experience as a wilderness and general camp counselor and then led to his position as a Program and Operations Assistant at Lake Chautauqua Lutheran Center and as an Associate Director at Camp Mar-Lu-Ridge in Frederick, Maryland. Thomas brings his hands-on experience, training in environmental education and summer camp/youth programming and development to his position as a full time Camp Director at Agassiz Village. His commitment to underserved youth and programming is evident.
Michelle Petronio, Development Director
Warren Soar, Facilities Manager
Warren has been with Agassiz Village for over 8 years and is charged with keeping the facilities safe and looking good throughout the summer. Warren spends his winters at camp as well where he enjoys hunting and ice fishing.
Denise Donnellan, Operations Director
Louise Burton, Assistant Camp Director
Adan Membreno, Head Chef
Agassiz Village is nestled on 400 scenic acres on the shore of beautiful Thompson Lake in Poland Maine. Facilities include:
Campers line up for each meal outside the dining hall and are seated by village (a boys village and a girls village)
Town Hall is a central gathering place for evening activities such as our Talent Show and Club Royale Dance.
Swim instruction, boating and Water Olympics are all part of the waterfront experience, which includes beautiful sunsets and view of our islands.
All campers and staff stay in cabins nestled in the woods.
Agassiz Village encompasses over 400 acres including 3 islands and over 1.5 miles of waterfront.