What are your kids doing this summer? You want them to do something productive with their time, rather than just watching tv and surfing the internet all day. And if you have to work, it’s probably a good idea to have some kind of supervision for them. There are tons of summer camps available, but what about the price tag? You may find your whole paycheck wiped out, especially if you have more than one child attending camps.
There are some types of camps that seem to come with the heftiest costs, and we have plenty of those right here in Southern California. It’s not uncommon for a week of horse camp to cost $350 to $400. That’s Monday through Friday 9 am to 3 pm or even 10 am to 2 pm. This isn’t enough time to you to work a full day. Also, horse camps are only offered in areas where there’s plenty of room, so chances are good that you’ll have a fair bit of driving to do to get your kids to and from camp each day. The expenses of keeping and caring for the horses is what drives the high cost of these camps.
Surfing and junior lifeguard programs carry similar price tags. They also tend to have hours that are shorter than your eight hour work day. And if you don’t live by the beach, you’re going to have a commute – twice a day. The beach location is part of the reason for the cost. Space is limited and these camps have to pay to lease their locations. The ration of adults to kids needs to be pretty high, just because of the inherent dangers of the ocean. Likewise, they need responsible CPR trained adults. Most of these camps maintain equipment, like surfboards, kayaks, and paddle boards.
Specialty camps such as acting, science or a sport can set you back quite a bit. Acting camps are often run at a local community theater. A science camp might meet at a science museum. Some sports camps like swimming or golf require a special location. The other reason for the cost is the type of instructors. These aren’t usually college kids who just need to keep kids safe and entertained. These are specialized coaches and teachers helping your child learn more about something they’re interested in.
There is a much less expensive option. There are many summer camps that offer child care, usually for a long enough time each day for you to drop your kids off, go to work for eight hours and then pick them up. Since no specialized location is required, you’re likely to find these types of camps and the local school or city recreation department. Even field trip camps, where the kids go to the movies, theme parks and other fun places every week, are surprisingly affordable.
So are these pricey summer camps for kids worth it? It depends. If your child is interested in exploring a particular activity, summer is a time when they can devote hours at a stretch to it. Fortunately there’s an easy way to compromise. Many summer camps offer sessions that last one to three weeks. You could sign your child up for one or two sessions of the camp of their dreams, and let them spend the rest of the summer at a more relaxing camp where they just hang out with their friends. Here are listings of summer camps in Orange County and summer camps in San Diego to get you started.