While your child’s summer at camp might truly be nothing short of priceless, it is difficult to escape the fact there are real costs associated with sending your child to summer camp. While most camps try to extend affordable rates and different session offerings in order to provide families various options which might be most in line with a family’s budget, sometimes the reality of the situation might still leave a family a few dollars (or more) short of being able to afford a camp of one’s choice.
If the prospects of sending your child to camp might seem bleak due to financial reasons, don’t give up hope … since you might not be aware of opportunities which exist to be awarded financial assistance. Many camps are in a position to assist in at least pointing you in the “right direction” if they are aware of such opportunities. Sometimes a particular camp might work directly with a specific funding source, or a camp director might simply be aware of the existence of (third party) organizations which might be worth an inquiry. In any case, please understand that not all camps are in a position to offer financial assistance or to provide you with any solid leads. It all really depends upon the specific circumstances pertaining to any given camp. Having said that, you won’t find out until you ask!
Much depends upon the particular camp and whether they offer an established internal program – controlled directly by the camp to provide financial assistance, or in many cases whether a camp is in some sort of partnership with a third party “benefactor” to assist with children/families in need of some level of financial support.
Just as the actual availability of financial assistance can vary greatly from camp to camp, so too can the actual level of assistance provided. Some people might find themselves in the lucky position of having their entire enrollment fee subsidized while others might find some form of a “sliding scale” pay scale used to reduce a parent’s out of pocket expenses based upon the household income level. There are also assistance programs which will donate “matching funds”.
For example, Performing Arts Workshops with seven summer day camp locations in southern California (Studio City, Pasadena, Chatsworth, West L.A., Manhattan Beach, Redondo Beach and El Segundo) has recently announced:
Through a generous donation, twenty scholarships at each of the Summer Camp locations are now available. It is the donor’s request that the scholarships have no conditions or prerequisites. These special scholarships have been made available as a matching fund. PAW’s donor, whose wish is to help local children experience the arts this summer, will sponsor half the tuition for up to twenty children at each PAW camp location. Each matching scholarship provides $240 of the tuition when the parent matches the remaining $240. Please call (310) 827-8827 for more info.
Camp Menominee for Boys in Eagle River, Wisconsin makes use of a special fund (Nate Wasserman Fund) to provide “camperships” based upon financial need:
Applicants must be willing to contribute some amount toward the enrollment fee and are asked to provide information about their financial situation which is then submitted to the board which oversees the Nate Wasserman Fund.
The board then decides whether or not the applicant qualifies for assistance based upon financial need. If so, they will determine how much can be awarded based upon the specifics of an applicant’s situation. This amount — which combined with the families’ out-of-pocket contribution — will equal about 2/3 of the total enrollment fee, whereby Camp Menominee will cover the remaining 1/3.
When it’s all said and done, some families who’ve been awarded a “campership” may pay as little as 10% of the regular rate, while others might pay as much as 45% … it varies from case to case. Please call 800-236-2267 for more information.
The particular type of camp or program emphasis can also have be a factor as to the likelihood of there being financial assistance offered. For example, it seems that summer camps who serve individuals with special needs are often in a position to offer financial assistance due to being associated with a much larger “parent entity” which is either a non profit and/or simply an extremely benevolent institution seeking to better the lives of children who might be contending with what could be terminal, life-threatening, or extremely challenging conditions.
Regardless of the type of camp or program you are interested, getting in touch with the camp director is a great step toward uncovering what options might be available for your child and your pocketbook. If financial assistance is not a realistic option at the moment, then it’s possible the camp director might be able to provide you with some program alternatives which might be available & more in line with your budget … as well as guidance for the following summer if the lack of funding is due to an issue related to timing. Just remember, it never hurts to ask!