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Save Money at Summer Camp

Camp can be just as educational as school, with the added dimension of children learning through experience. Through activities and play, children learn a wide range of skills and develop physically, emotionally, socially, and intellectually. At camp, children learn by doing, living, and experiencing things for themselves. It’s one thing to watch a nature program on television, but quite another to experience nature in real life.

The benefits of camp are worth every penny. Yet Private resident camps are expensive. When trying to determine how to save some money for summer camp, consider the following cost saving ideas.Save Money on Summer Camp

Families that in the past have sent their children to private upper end overnight camps, especially on the east coast, are now looking at alternatives that might be far less expensive. One suggestion is to look in the midwest for a camp that might offer very similar activity programs at a cost 25-30% less than the equivalent east coast camp.

For other families who still want to send their children to private camps, one way to save on summer camp is to look for alternative programs that might be similar to what you have done in the past yet less expensive. This is just a matter of shopping on the internet for price.Overnight Summer Camp

For other children the answer may be to leave the private summer camp programs altogether and choose a less expensive overnight camp program, such as a YMCA or a even a church program. These summer camps can save nearly 30% or more compared to the private camps.

Park Districts also offer a day summer camp. These are usually the most cost effective, however, day camps generally do not offer the same array of activities and benefits that an overnight summer camp provides.

Discounts and campership programs are available from most Camps. However, it does not make Camp free. Individually, camps decide how to run their discounts. So, ask the camp director how their particular program runs to see if it will help your situation.

If these areas still leave summer camp out of the question the ACA American Camp Association recommends: * Parents should inquire into whether the camp participates in income-eligible subsidy programs, for instance through Title XX. * A Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account allows parents to be reimbursed on a pre-tax basis for child care or adult dependent care expenses for qualified dependents that are necessary to allow parents to work, look for work, or to attend school full time. Visit the FSA Feds Web site for more information. * In certain circumstances, day care expenses, including transportation by a care provider, may be considered dependent care services and paid with pre-tax dollars. Visit the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for more information. * Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit: The IRS allows an income tax credit of up to $6,000 of dependent care expenses if you have two or more dependents (up to $3,000 for one dependent). The amount of the credit is based on your adjusted gross income and applies only to your federal taxes. This applies to qualifying day camp expenses as well. Visit the FSA Feds Web site for more information.

Remember, all camps are not created equal and cost is often reflected in quality of programs. It is imperative that you do your homework to ensure a quality experience for your child. One areas where camps cut costs is staffing. Some camps use volunteers while others have paid staff. Look at counselor-to-camper ratios to determine how many campers are sleeping in each cabin with how many children. What age are the counselors? If they are not over 18, parents should be wary.

Be sure to ask the director about the actual, true total cost of the camp. This should include not only tuition, but transportation, canteen and spending money, laundry, off-site trips, and uniforms (if required). Ask the director about how much of a deposit is required and if it is refundable. When must the camp fees be paid in full? Ask about what the policy is if the family’s plans change and they withdraw the child from the program before the start of camp. What if problems arise during camp and the child must come home?

Safety is the most important area of any Summer Camp. Regardless of cost, you want to ensure that your child will be safe and will return home at the end of the program. One way to make sure your selected camp is safe is to verify that the camp is an accredited member of the American Camp Association. The ACA ensures that over 300 standards are met in their accreditation process.

Remember the experience of being a kid? The summers seem long, and camp create a lifetime of memories. For many adults, these recollections of youth at camp are some of their best. Do what you need to save money at camp this summer but what ever don’t let summer camp pass your child by this year.

Swift Nature Camp, a non-competitive, traditional coed Overnight Summer Camp. Boys and Girls Ages 6-15 enjoy nature, animals and science along with traditional camping activities. Mention this article and save $200 Nature Summer Camp

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