The ground may be covered with several layers of snow, the thermometer still hovers around freezing and you haven’t seen a patch of green since October. Despite these never-ending signs of winter, summer is only a few short months away, and with it comes the start of the activity planning season. School vacations run somewhere between 70 and 80 days, meaning there are a lot of sunlit hours to fill. For young families with two working parents, this means finding a good variety of programs to keep their children active. One of these happens to be summer camp.
The concept of summer camp has changed over the last few decades. Instead of several weeks sleeping in tents and roasting marshmallows, camps now also offer various arts and educational offerings and can vary from a week to month experience. Some venues are a drive away while others require airfare and even a passport. Of course, these different experiences can cost more money. This is why now is the best time to start planning. Here are a few suggestions to consider.
Day or overnight? The first thing young families should do is sit down and find out what type of camp the children want to attend. Some kids, especially younger ones, may feel hesitant to spend time away from home while others want to spend as much time as possible separated from their siblings. The answers they provide determine if they’ll attend a day or overnight camp. It also can determine how much is spent on these excursions. In most cases the overnight camp costs more than the day version. On the other hand…
Specialty camp. Camps these days cater to various interests of children. They offer sessions on science, dance, singing, musical instruments, art and theater. And. of course, there is the ultimate camp experience — Space Camp. Regardless if these are day or overnight camps, the costs can be higher thanks to materials, instructors, etc. Careful consideration and discussion should take place well ahead of time to determine if the child truly wants to attend a specialized camp.
Early admission discounts. One of the positives to looking at summer camps right now is there can be a chance to save some money. In some circumstances early registrants to these venues can receive a discount of tens or several hundred dollars. There also may be discounts for paying the entire admission fee up front rather than dividing it up into payments. Consult the documentation or website of the camp in question to determine if these incentives are offered.
Where to look. There are a number of locations to find summer camp programs near and abroad. Those looking for local programs can check to see if their town’s recreation department offers anything over the summer. Those searching for an overnight or out-of-state camp can search the database of the American Camp Association for additional information.