Inexpensive summer camps
Send a Kid to Camp
by Tricia Goss
Reducing the Cost of Summer Camp
Summer Camp at Home
Frugal Camp Alternatives
Summertime is drawing near and your children are begging you to let them go to camp this year. Perhaps you have fond memories of your own summers singing around a campfire, swimming in a lake, or hunting those infamous snipes. Or maybe you always longed to go to camp yourself, but were never able. Either way, you realize it would be a terrific experience for your kids as well as a break for you! You just don't know if you can afford it. Before you say no, look at these ideas, which can help make your offspring's summer dream a reality.
Seek out scholarships. If there is a particular camp your child wants to go to, call them directly to inquire whether they offer scholarships. Some camps offer financial assistance to families living on a certain income. Others give aid to kids who reside in urban areas. Specialty camps often cut the cost for campers who fit specific criteria. For example, if your child is a local tennis star, she may qualify for a tennis camp scholarship.
Membership has its benefits. Are you a member of the YMCA or YWCA? Members typically are entitled to discounted rates. Even if you are not a member, Y's generally offer terrific, low-cost camps. Do you belong to a church? Call the church office and inquire whether your congregation is affiliated with any camps. Oftentimes, churches will help foot the bill for their member's kids. Is your child a scout? Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, Camp Fire, and other scouting councils offer fun, affordable camps to their members.
Barter. Do you have skills that might benefit a camp? Offer to work as a nurse, arts and crafts teacher, or swimming instructor in exchange for your child's tuition. Consider what talents you have to offer, or contact the camp and ask them what abilities they would profit from. This is a great idea for those parents who are not quite sure their kids are ready for sleep away camp, as Mom or Dad will be close by.
Get a job, kid! If your would-be camper is a teenager who enjoys younger children, talk to them about becoming a camp counselor. Not only would they gain tremendous life experience, the satisfaction of helping others, and job experience for their resume, but they'd also get to enjoy camp life and get paid for it!
Take turns. Perhaps you can afford to send only one of your brood. That's okay! It can become a tradition in your family that every child goes to camp the year they reach a certain age. Be sure to give some one-on-one attention to the kids that stay home.
Take it day by day. Find out whether your child's school, your city's Parks and Recreation program, or a local non-profit agency has a day camp your kids would enjoy. Day camps are typically very affordable and give kids camp experience without having to leave home. Day camp is ideal for kids (or moms!) who aren't yet ready for sleep away camp.By doing your research and using your imagination, your kids could be sitting around a campfire telling spooky stories, eating s'mores, and singing Kumbayah. Even better, they'll be creating memories to last a lifetime.
Take the Next Step
- Do you struggle to get ahead financially? Then you'll want to subscribe to our free weekly Surviving Tough Times newsletter aimed at helping you 'live better...for less'. Each issue features great ways to help you stretch your dollars and make the most of your resources. Subscribers get a copy of our ebook Little Luxuries: 130 Ways to Live Better...For Less for FREE!
If you enjoyed this article you might also want to check out:
Share your thoughts about this article with the editor: Click Here
More Tips & Tools to Help You
Live Better...For Less
- Is your family normal? See how other households spend their money
- 5 big bills you can cut fast
- 5 frugal ways to expand your living space
- Where to find the best deals in February
- 4 steps to a simpler (and more frugal) life
- $10 for peace of mind for your family
- How not to fight about money
- When you just don't have money to feed your family
- What every stay-at-home mom should know about her financial future
- What is the cost of raising a child?
- Spouse income calculator
- Should my spouse work, too?
- College savings calculator
- Home budget calculator