Worried about summer camp costs? Check this out

Even though it still feels like the dead of winter, summer is almost here! If you have kids, this is the time that you are trying to figure out your children’s summer camp plans.   

While you may typically take that week-long family trip, that still leaves you with several weeks of open time to plan out for your kids.   As a result, many parents opt to send their to children’s summer camp. 

Children’s summer camp can be a great experience for kids.  It gives them the opportunity to get away from technology and enjoy the outdoors. 

One of the reasons why summer camp is important to because it teaches kids some valuable life lessons, such as teaching responsibility and respect for others, all while having fun playing games and doing fun activities.  

There are various summer camp plans that offer different experiences. 

Sports camps, children’s summer music camps, art camps, or even just your traditional overnight camp – they come in many different varieties to suit your child’s needs.  

Depending on the camp, they can offer a multitude of things to do including swimming, boating, water-skiing, team sports, and art projects, as well recreational activities like climbing walls, ziplines, and paintball fields. 

For as much fun as children’s summer camp can be, it will take a chunk out of your budget. Parents often struggle with summer camp funding. According the American Camp Association, the average fees for an overnight camp in 2018 was $770.  

Parents with more than one child, these fees can quickly add up. While camp may seem costly, there are ways to make it more affordable to ensure your entire family has a great summer.   We’ve included some of the good ideas below.

In this article you will find some kind of summer camp financial assistance that might help your family save a little cash this summer include;

Kids that live in New York City may be eligible to attend an overnight camp for free.  Under this initiative, 3,000 kids are given the opportunity to experience the impact of nature and the wilderness of summer camp in Fishkill, New York.

The Salvation Army offers 45 overnight camps and day camps for children aged 6 – 14.  Salvation Army camps are located throughout the US, including California, Colorado, Ohio, and New Jersey.  

Salvation Army camps regularly support lower income families with sponsorship funds to help to defray the cost of camp.

Serving over 40,000 kids in their parks and recreation centers, the District offers affordable day camp options that range between $1 and $3 per hour, depending upon the program.  

Over 200 different programs are offered, targeting different age groups and themes during a six week period.

Located in River Junction, Michigan and Eloy, Arizona, this program offers one week free children’s summer camp for qualified disadvantaged children between the ages of 8 to 13.

 Children are grouped together in teams of five or seven and have the opportunity to enjoy many outdoor activities, including swimming, climbing, and archery.

  • Grace Adventures in Silver Lake, Michigan offers a tiered sibling discount ranging from $25 to $75, based on the number of children that you send to camp.
  • Vista Camps in Ingram, Texas offers a tiered referral program, which is based on camper fees charged.  Under this program, a camper can receive $50 to $200 for referring a new camper. There are also other places in Texas that offer cheap overnight summer camps in Texas. 
  • Lake Geneva Youth Camp, located in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, provides a $100 bring-a-friend discount to campers that bring a friend that has never attended their summer camp before.  Both the camper and their friend receive the $100 discount.
  • Camp Kulaqua in Northern Florida offers $20 and $30 discounts to children attending multiple weeks of camp.  They also offer bring-a-friend discounts, sibling discounts, payment plans, and gift certificate programs.

Many camps offer discounts to families sending their children to camp.  Some of the most common discounts are;

  • Sibling discounts If you send more than one child to camp, you may be eligible for a discount.
  • Refer a friend  Many camps offer a discount if you refer a friend that signs up as well.  Plus, attending camp with a friend makes it twice as much fun
  • Volunteer discounts:  Some camps offer a discount if you volunteer during the week.  If you have free time and love to serve, you may find yourself helping out in the kitchen, with activities, or even doing general maintenance or housekeeping.
  • Returning camper discounts  You may be able to receive a loyalty discount if your child has attended in a prior year.
  • New camper discounts Summer camps may offer a discount if this is your child’s first year attending camp.

Discounted camp programs:  Many camps offer special promotions for overnight camps.  We’ve listed a few below;

  • Grace Adventures in Silver Lake, Michigan offers a tiered sibling discount ranging from $25 to $75, based on the number of children that you send to camp.
  • Vista Camps in Ingram, Texas offers a tiered referral program, which is based on camper fees charged.  Under this program, a camper can receive $50 to $200 for referring a new camper.
  • Lake Geneva Youth Camp, Wisconsin, provides a $100 bring-a-friend discount to campers that bring a friend that has never attended their summer camp before.  Both the camper and their friend receive the $100 discount.
  • Camp Kulaqua in Northern Florida offers $20 and $30 discounts to children attending multiple weeks of camp.  They also offer bring-a-friend discounts, sibling discounts, payment plans, and gift certificate programs.

Consider other options

If an overnight camp is outside of your budget, consider looking at some other alternatives like:

  • Day camps – The American Camp Association reports that the average day camp fees came in at $315 in 2018, less than ½ of the fees for an overnight camp.  Often times, day camp activities are similar to what your child will experience in an overnight camp, they just don’t spend the night. 

If you send your child to multiple weeks of day camp, they may be eligible to receive a discount.  Sending more than one child to day camp may also be eligible to a sibling discount.

  • City-sponsored cheap overnight camps also offer a lower cost alternative to private camps, yet with the same quality.  Other organizations, such as the Boy Scouts and the Girl Scouts, may also offer overnight camps at a lower rate than a private camp.
  • Public schools and recreation centers may also offer overnight or day-camp programs at a lower cost.  These may be specialized programs that offer training in sports, music, nature, or the arts.
  • Shorter camps or slower seasons:  Camp fees may be vary based on how busy they are.  A camp that starts earlier in the summer may charge a lesser fee than a busier week.  

While traditional summer camps typically cover a one week period, some camp programs last only a few days.  A shorter camp may be more affordable.

  • Tax credits:  In the US, you may be eligible to receive a tax credit if you are sending your child to a day camp.  If both you and your spouse work and need to provide childcare for your kids, you may be eligible for a credit of up to $3,000 for one child and $6,000 for multiple children.  

The credit is only available if both parents are working or attend school. Families with a stay-at-home parent are not eligible.

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