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Kids Summer Plans Affected by Recession

CNN has a good article about how the recession is impacting kids’ summer camps this year. Not surprisingly, many camps are reporting lower enrollment this year.

It seems like we have gotten out of control with the amount of money we spend on these programs. My sixth grader brought me a flyer from a camp he wanted to attend. It was a sleep-away camp where kids could learn to skateboard and razor. I think there were motorized vehicles involved too. The price tag was about $950 for a week. Yikes! I understand that it probably costs a lot to run a camp like that, but who can afford it?

Summer camps have two roles. One of course is fun, friendship, and learning.  The other is child care. Even teenagers need something to do with their time. So parents who are working are still signing their kids up for camp, they’re just going with less expensive camps. And requests for financial aid for camps are way up.

What camps are less expensive? Things like the Boys and Girls Club, YMCA and camps offered by city recreation departments. Daycamps are more cost effective than overnight camps.

Are you cutting back on summertime activities for your kids? There may be some creative ways to send your child to camp. There may be some camps that will trade volunteer time from you for the camp fee for your child. Or get a group of parents together and organize some fun outings.

If you are in a position to do so, consider donating time and/or money to one of the many organizations that provide low cost summer camps for kids. The Orange County Register has a campership program where you can contribute online. Or consider approaching whoever runs the summer camp where your child is going to see if they know of a child who would like to attend but can’t for financial reasons.

A camp doesn’t have to be pricey. Kids just need a safe place to go be with other kids and keep busy.