Summer Camp is Still a Goal
Parents are using installment loans to fund summer camp for their children in 2010. Due to the economy, many parents are finding it difficult to finance their children’s summer vacation away from home. On average, summer camp costs anywhere from $90 to $1,200. It depends upon the length and type of the program. Peg Smith, CEO of the American Camp Association, reported that while some parents are opting to keep their children home due to their financial constraints, others are working hard to create summer adventures for their kids. Many are utilizing installment loans as a means of paying upfront costs of summer camp.
How to Cut Summer Camp Costs
Keep in mind that there are ways to cut costs for summer camp, but parents need to act quickly to receive help. Last year, enrollment across the country at summer camps was at full capacity. The National Camp Association offers free summer camp placement. They also help find funding for qualified parents who need aid.
In addition to the NCA, there are also other tactics parents can use to fund the summer camp costs.
- Early-bird discounts. For example, Lake Greeley Camp, a privately owned co-ed campground in Pennsylvania, is cutting prices anywhere from $400 to $1,300 for children registered before June. Prior to the discount, tuition is a standard $7,400 for an eight-week stay. In addition, many campgrounds offer discounts for first-time summer campers, so parents need to be sure to ask about these when registering.
- Payment plans. A lot of parents are funding the costs of summer camp by using payment plans. Many campgrounds understand the financial difficulties of consumers. Rather than suffer low attendance, they will work with people. Payments can be extended over weeks, sometimes months, to help parents.
- Limit the camp stay. Many campgrounds have summer camp options that last two, four and eight weeks. Cutting back to a two-week summer camp session can also help parents afford the payments. With the elevated price, this may be the best compromise. Allowing the child to still participate in summer camp but keeping the cost down by limiting the time can serve both parties well.
- Installment loans. Installment loans can help pay for summer camp with payment deadlines. If a parent is qualified, he or she can make the payment to the campground on time and their child can participate. Installment loans are especially helpful in cases where upfront money is needed, but isn’t yet available.
- Ask for help. Parents can look for accredited campsites that offer scholarships and financial aid to participants in need. According to Smith, the ACA generates over $39 million in scholarship monies every year. For example, The New York YMCA Camp in Huguenot, New York offers scholarships that families can utilize and make up the difference of $540 to $980 for tuition requirements. They can receive the money without showing any financial documents, but only asking for an application. If a parent is willing to show financial documents, camps are even more generous, often times paying for well over 75 percent of tuition costs.
- Tax credits. Children under the age of 13 who go to day camp can make their parents eligible for the Child and Dependent Care Credit. This credit allows a 20 to 35 percent deduction on expenses for one child and double the amount for two children or more.
Finding Funding for Summer Camp
Whatever way parents fund their children’s camp stay, it’s clear that the recession has affected every aspect of life as the U.S. citizen knows it. Parents are using government assistance, installment loans and tax credits creatively to fund their children’s vacations. Research and asking are keys to finding the funds for summer camp. The money is out there!