Deciding On Summer Camp

As the school-year quickly draws to a close, we are starting to focus our efforts on the summer. One of our biggest tasks of the season is to figure out what our children will be doing during this long break. For most of us, we turn to summer camp to keep our children challenged and entertained.

But once you decide on camp, more questions arise, i.e. day camp or sleep-away?, sporty or crafty?, single-sex or co-ed?, close by or further away in a more scenic setting?, 2 weeks or 7 weeks? The biggest dilemma that most of us mull over is how much we are willing to spend on summer camp.

Figuring Out The Cost of Summer Camp

You might think you have it all figured out, but before you commit to anything, make sure you really do your homework on how much your summer camp of choice is going to cost. There are plenty of ways that a bigger bill can sneak up on you.

A camp usually has a set price for the number of weeks your child is attending. This price includes their activities and supervision each day.

It might not, however, include their lunch (as you might need to brown bag it), their transportation (bus ride to and from camp), or end-of-summer tips for the counselors. Additionally, if it is a uniform camp, you will be responsible for buying your child a new wardrobe just for the summer. Even if your child does not go to a uniform camp, you will still need new, well-marked summer clothes, equipment, and towels that will probably need to be thrown out at the end of the summer.

The Hidden Costs of Overnight Summer Camp

If your child is attending an overnight summer camp, even more hidden charges appear. You will need to ship his or her “trunks” to and from camp. Pack and label everything that you send (the cost of time). Again, transportation for your child could be an extra fee. And, if you’re like me, once you’ve sent your child off to camp, you will probably end up spoiling your child with a steady stream of “I Miss You” gifts.

As if that weren’t all, you will of course want to go to the camp for Visiting Day. Depending on how far away that camp is, you might be incurring additional expenses, i.e. airfare, car rental, and hotel, or simply lots of gasoline and miles on your car (not to mention, that you will probably need to miss at least a day or two of work). Lastly, many of these sleep-away camps have Parent/Child Weekend at the end of the summer which is yet another pocketbook outlay.

If you do a little math, it’s easy to estimate about how much your children’s summer camp is really going to cost. It may also be beneficial to lay out a summer camp budget so that you don’t go crazy on the presents that you’re sending to your young campers.

At the end of the day, you’re setting the stage for a summer filled with wonderful experiences that will follow your children long after their vacation is over. Happy Summer!