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Six Ways to Make Summer Camp Affordable

Sending your child to camp need not bust your budget! As this article explains, there is a camp program to fit nearly every budget.

While it's hard to put a price tag on their children's learning and growth, parents certainly have their family budgets to think about when considering camp. The good news is that there is a camp program to fit nearly every budget.

With a little research, parents can find ways they may not have thought of to make camp affordable. Not only can parents look for camps within a certain price range, but they may also reduce costs by asking some key questions.

Six Ways to Find the Right Camp at the Right Price

Research camps according to cost.  At the ACA's family-dedicated Web site,, families can use the Find a Camp database to search for camps within their price range. Using the database, they can identify camps according to a number of variables including cost. The database also allows parents to search by location, special needs, special activities, length of session and age, and they can search multiple variables at one time.

Fees to attend camp vary, and parents may be surprised to learn that among ACA-Accredited® camps, fees can be as low as less than $100 per week for day camps. Among resident camps, one out of four camps has weekly fees between $100 and $300. If a parent is looking to estimate costs, it's helpful to know that the median weekly fee for day camps is $182, and for resident camps, $390.

Ask camps what financial assistance is available.  Ninety percent of camps offer some sort of financial assistance to families, usually in the form of "camperships." Camperships can cover a portion or all of the camp enrollment fees. The camp may not offer this option up-front, so parents should ask if assistance is available. Although camperships are usually awarded based on need, parents should not automatically assume that their income level doesn't qualify - they should ask the question! For this kind of assistance, it's important to keep in mind that it's vital to apply early.

Check if the camp offers special discounts.  Camps offer discounts for situations such as early registration, full-season enrollment or multiple enrollments from one family. This is another case of making sure that families ask the question. Parents may find that they're entitled to a reduced rate!

© 2005 American Camp Association Inc. Founded in 1910, the American Camp Association is a national community of camp professionals and is dedicated to enriching the lives of children and adults through the camp experience.

Comments from readers

"this was very helpful"
"I really appreciate this. I am looking into summer camp right now - I did not know that these options were available - i will certainly tell my sisters who are parents as well."