School will be over in the blink of an eye, which will leave your child with a lot of freedom to get bored. This is why many parents love to send their children to summer camp. Not only does camp teach children many great lessons, but it also helps ease the pain of boredom during the long break from school. The only problem is, camp can be pretty pricey if you’re on a tight budget. Some sleep away camps can even cost a few thousand dollars to keep your child happy for only half of the summer. There are some frugal options to choose from though, so you don’t have to rule out the idea of sending your child to camp.
Most communities have a YMCA, which makes you eligible for a lot of great opportunities if you become a member. Luckily, summer camp is one of the amazing options that they have to offer. Most YMCAs will sponsor a camp for children or at least transport them to a camp for a price that won’t leave you hurting for money. Many of these camps are based on sports and other outdoor activities that will keep children working on a healthy lifestyle throughout the summer. If you’re not sure if your child is ready for summer camp, then you can always join a family camp. These camps are much shorter and involve the whole family. They are a great bonding experience though and can help you find ideas to entertain children for the rest of the summer break.
2. Boy/Girl Scout
Another popular institution that hosts camps are the boy scouts and girl scouts. If your child is a member of this organization then you’ve probably heard talk of summer camps for quite some time now. This is largely because each troop tries to fund their entire trip on fundraisers that the children work on throughout the year. You may even find scholarships based on merit to help out your troop member. These camps are based on wilderness and life skills, so you can rest assured that your child won’t just have fun, but will come home with a lot more knowledge than you would expect. If your child isn’t a member yet, then you may still qualify for the camping trip. However, you will probably have to send in the money for your troop member this year.
If there is a university or community college in your area then you can probably find a summer camp for your child to attend. However, most of these camps are usually day camps. This does save you money in the long run though and will allow you to interact with your child daily, rather than forcing you to miss them for a few weeks. Usually, these colleges are based on academics or sports. This will allow you to find a topic your child is interested in so they can expand their knowledge while having a whole lot of fun. You may even find your child is advanced for the new school year, which is a bonus. The best things is, you pay by course which will save you a lot of money in the long run.
4. City Camps
Living in a city can be especially hard for children in the summer time. There is less space for most kids to run and play, which is why many programs have created special camps for city kids. These camps aren’t really different than other summer camps, but they are designed to cater to kids who tend to be surrounded by cement most of the year. There are even many scholarships to help children get to the camp without leaving the parents with a huge burden. In fact, New York City sends hundreds of kids to camp for free each year, which helps change the lives of many children. You may want to check with your community center to see if there is such a program in your community.
5. Church Camp
Church camp is one of the most popular options when it comes to kids heading to camp. These camps are usually much shorter, but many kids still end up talking about it for the rest of the summer. The camps tend to mix the classic camp activities with church activities to keep the day diverse and fun. The best thing about church camp is most churches tend to run fundraisers to help children make their own way to camp. This teaches kids the value of hard work while taking a lot of burden off of the parents. Of course, sometimes kids can’t reach their full goal, which is why many churches will step in with scholarships based on need. So, if you’re a member of a church and your child has their heart set on camp, then you may want to talk with the pastor to see if the church can lend a hand.
6. Skill Camps
Although many camps offer a series of outdoor activities and crafts, there are camps that specialize in skills alone. These can range anywhere from theater camp to technology camp, which allows you to pick something your child will really excel in. The best thing about skill based camps is they are more likely to give your scholarships or financial aid. Since most children that want to attend these camps already have an interest and skill base in the topic, there are credentials that could earn your child a full or partial scholarship. Of course, you will need to look into these scholarships well before camp begins in order to secure one. You may have to turn in work from your child’s school or have your child do an audition tape in order to make the cut. However, if your child does manage to get in, you can rest assured they will thrive in their chosen field.
7. Boys & Girls Club
The Boys and Girls Club is a lot like the YMCA. They are more child oriented though, so of course they offer a camp for children to go to. Since the Boys and Girls Club often works with children from unprivileged homes, they are more than likely going to work with you to help your child get to camp. You will have to speak with someone at your local branch to see if you can qualify for assistance in helping your child or children get to camp for the summer. The organization is great about helping out sibling groups too, so you won’t have to worry about one child getting to go and not the others. Of course, this doesn’t mean you will get the camp tuition for free, but you may end up getting a hefty discount that can help you out.
8. National Park Camp
A lot of families take to national parks to have some fun camping during the summer. However, you probably didn’t know that they actually offer camps too. These camps are designed for children who want to improve their outdoor skills while learning about the natural wonders of the world. The best thing about these camps is they are simple to get assistance for. Since the park is government funded, you may be able to qualify for a discount for the camp. So, if you live near one of the national parks, this is a great option that will help children appreciate the world they live in a whole lot more.
9. Sports Camps
Athletics are a popular choice for camps too as there are many based on all sorts of sports and athletic activities. If your child is already part of a team then the coach might have planned out a trip to one of these camps to keep the team working hard and at their best capacity. Sometimes, the camp is covered in the price that you already paid for your child to join the team. However, if it is not the team generally runs fundraisers to make sure everyone can attend the camp. If your child is going to the camp through their school then there is a chance for financial assistance or a scholarship, particularly if they are on the first string of the team. Even some coaches will help lend a hand to ensure their team is complete at the camp.
10. Local Camps
Another easy option is to look to your community to find out what options they have to offer. Many communities will run smaller camps that won’t cost you as much money for your child to attend. This will also allow your child to bond with children that they may go to school with, which makes the transition to camp a lot easier. Sometimes, these camps only take place during the day time though and they often have your children bring their own lunches. This, in itself, will cut down on the cost substantially so you will be able to afford the camp with ease.
Summer camp is one of the best experiences for a child during the summer months. Not only does it help them find themselves while they have freedom from the home, but it also teaches essential skills. Luckily, not all camps cost a fortune, so you can let your child experience the fun without forcing you to tighten your belt too much.