May 25th, 2011
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!
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May 20th, 2011
We’ve recently released a few improvements to the Camp Channel’s layout and appearance which we hope will make it easier for you to find a summer camp for you or your child to attend; or, with respect to finding that perfect summer camp job as a camp counselor!
The following features have been added to the Camp Channel recently:
- the width of the content area on the vast majority of pages was increased by about 30%, allowing for more information to appear on your screen at first glance
- new navigational buttons provide a more user friendly interface
- new font style for clarity
Look for new feature releases as well as more comprehensive functionality improvement releases in the future.
April 30th, 2011
If you are currently in the process of trying to find the best match in a summer camp, now is a great time to contact camp directors directly and start a dialogue in order to determine if a particular camp is right for you and your child.
Most camp directors will be thrilled to speak with a parent who might be seeking to send their child to camp; however, as a parent it might be easier to use email as an initial point of contact if you are considering a large number of different camps as possible choices.
Using email, you might be able to sift out “deal breaker” information (i.e. cost/budget) in order to zero in on the group of camps which are all at least in the “ballpark” with respect to the criteria spelled out by you and your child. The Camp Channel’s listings all have forms which allow you to send a camp an email inquiry directly from their listing.
If there are not too many camps on your list or you’re more of a “telephone person”, you can always call the camp office to make initial contact. One advantage of calling vs. email is that you might get a better “first take” on a director through a verbal conversation – which often conveys a better understanding of a person.
Even though email and telephone calls can be effective tools, it is important to always follow up directly with a camp director; preferably in person, at some point in the process order to better understand and get a feel for the camp director’s overall perspective & other aspects you might believe to be significant.
Some camps offer open house dates for parents to see the facilities and ask questions. Some will even schedule individualized visits for either you to tour the camp grounds or for a director to come to your home to meet everyone & field questions. Sometimes directors will deliver a slideshow or video presentation.
Feel free to search or browse for a summer camp on the Camp Channel!
November 28th, 2010
The Camp Channel would like to thank all of the summer camp directors, camp staff, event organizers, and all attendees of the 2010 Western Association of Summer Camps (WAIC) Conference held this year in Pismo Beach, California.
Not only was the location on the cliffs of the pacific coastline a spectacular setting, it has always been a pleasure to participate as an exhibitor and exchange ideas and experiences regarding summer camps and the internet … this year was no exception.
Moreover, it is always encouraging to witness the high level of professionalism and dedication by the camp directors of WAIC camps who continually seek to improve their respective programs by attending interactive and educational sessions – often presented by experts in their respective fields. Equally impressive is the cooperative spirit which permeates the Western Association Of Independent Camps – including camps who are “technically” considered competitors – in order to cross-pollinate & exchange ideas which as a whole will surely be greater than the sum of it’s parts.
The Camp Channel is looking forward to exhibiting at the WAIC conference in 2011 and is always grateful for the opportunity to participate with such a dedicated organization.
September 1st, 2010
With Labor Day weekend upon us, the summer is quickly approaching an end and most summer camps have concluded their sessions. However, it is normally not too late to order photos from this past camp season from the camp you or your child may have attended this summer.
Many camps will have posted hundreds (or thousands) of photos on their website during the course of the camp season in order that family and friends could look at all of the fun and excitement happening at camp this summer. Often, these very same photos are available as prints for purchase & sometimes they can also be printed on other gift items such as coffee mugs, t-shirts, calendars, playing cards, etc. Now is a great time to go back and review some of the great shots which might be worthwhile saving in the form of a print or other memorabilia item.
Please note: not all summer camps post photos online, so it is important to visit your particular camp’s website to see if they available, and if so, whether the photos can be purchased as prints. If there are photos posted online, but not available as prints via a commercial service, it is often possible to save the digital version of the photo to your own computer for safe keeping (or to print on your own printer). Please take note of any applicable copyrights.
Many camps still provide “old fashioned” traditional prints (or even camp videos) as either part of the camper enrollment tuition or for an additional fee, which may include: an individual portrait, an all camp photo, cabin/unit photo, other activity photos, camp video yearbook, etc. Again, it’s important to find out if your camp offers such as service by contacting the camp director.
August 8th, 2010
While we’re certainly still in the midst of summer, your child’s session at summer camp might be coming to a close in the near future. Although the summer of 2011 might seem very far off into the future, it is never too early to consider signing up for camp.
In fact, many camps offer some form of promotional incentive to sign up for the subsequent summer immediately after the completion of the final day at camp. Often, this might take the form of some sort of “early bird discount” if you complete a camper enrollment registration and submit a deposit within a specified time frame. If the summer camp your child attends is offering such a promotion and you are seeking to take advantage of such an opportunity, it is important to read the terms carefully; especially with respect to how refunds of deposits might be handled.
Some camps might also offer some sort of contest or drawing for a larger savings. All camps are different, so it’s important that you contact your camp director to obtain the specific details of how any possible promotion to sign up early affects you and your child.
Another issue to consider is that your camp might be operating at or very near full capacity. If this is the case, signing up as early as possible is a good way to insure your child has a spot available at camp for next summer and is not placed on a “waiting list”.
Although it may seem difficult to commit to what is a significant financial undertaking at such an early juncture, if your child has expressed a firm desire to return to camp next summer (or for the first time), signing up early could provide you with a little savings and also establish a clear financial objective in order to plan and save. Along these lines, some camps offer financial assistance or might be able to point you in the right direction.
Even if you’re not going to immediately enroll your child at camp for next summer, it may still be beneficial to obtain a copy of a 2011 camper registration form to see about rates, terms, and significant dates. Many camps will be posting this information to their websites before or just after the current summer ends. Simply having the information will afford you a longer time frame to plan accordingly with respect to financial requirements and also have a meaningful discussion with your child about attending summer camp in the summer of 2011.
July 4th, 2010
Use the Camp Channel’s specialized search engine to locate a great summer camp in Los Angeles County or Orange County for your child. Summer is here, but many camps are still accepting camper enrollments and would be happy to receive your inquiry about attending camp this summer.
Allow your child to learn new skills, make new friends, and enjoy the summer with other kids at a camp suited to his or her interests which is also in line with any other requirements you may have. The Camp Channel’s directory will allow you to narrow your options down by geographical constraints as well as with respect to programming emphasis, camp activities, session information, cost, and other factors.
Many summer camp listings provide full descriptive content about their program, transportation options, costs, accreditation, as well as general philosophy about camp. Most camp listings will provide you with a full description of their program. Some listings will display photos, short video clips, a map of the camp location, as well as a link back to their independently maintained website … which is often helpful to provide you with information in much greater depth which might include special presentations and even online camper registration options. You are able to quickly email camps directly from their listings on the Camp Channel for more information.
To get started, click on the link below:
June 23rd, 2010
Summer is has officially begun with the Summer Solstice occurring a couple days ago on Monday June 21, 2010. If your child will be attending summer camp it is important to prepare necessary items to use during the course of day-to-day life (clothing, camping gear, toiletries, etc.), while also keeping in mind that some things might be prohibited at camp.
All summer camps are different with respect to items which are required as well as those which are not allowed, so you are strongly encouraged to inquire directly with the specific camp. Often times a “packing list” or “gear list” will be available directly on a camp’s website.
Camps often utilize a particular provider for camp logo apparel such as t-shirts, hats, sweatshirts, etc. and may require your child to purchase a number of these specific items to participate in camp related activities. An official packing list may also provide you with a recommended amount of clothes and supplies to bring to camp. Keep in mind that if your child is going to attend a residential or “sleepover” camp, be sure to check whether or not laundry services are provided and plan accordingly.
Food is by far one of the more prevalent items which are prohibited by most camps. Cell phones, hand held video games, & other electronic items are often not allowed. Still, it is possible some might be permissible … such as digital cameras or GPS units. You may want to review your camp’s website or contact the camp director if you have questions as to whether a particular item is allowed at camp or not.
If your child is taking any medicines or has special needs (i.e. diet, allergies, etc.) it is strongly recommended that you insure the camp director is aware of these issues before camp begins. Many camps have medical staff to organize and regulate medications for campers. However, your camp might require you to send medications via a particular protocol to insure that “everyone is on the same page”.
Keep in mind there may be some items of equipment which are the responsibility of the camper to bring along to camp (i.e. sleeping bag, flashlights, canteen, baseball mitt, etc.), yet other gear might be made available and supplied at the camp (i.e. basketballs, tents, water skis, etc.). Remember, don’t be afraid to ask the camp director if you are in doubt, most will be happy to assist you.
It is often a great idea to clearly label the clothing and gear with your child’s name. There are many label companies who provide customized label solutions. Labeling such items might even be a requirement at camp. A permanent magic marker can also be of use for labeling gear and equipment.
Most camps either require or encourage writing letters, so a supply of paper, pens or pencils, stamps, and envelopes will definitely be useful for your child to write to family and friends regarding all of their experiences at summer camp!
June 17th, 2010
Be sure your child has the necessary supplies to write back home to friends and family while they’re attending summer camp. Not only is letter writing a great way to maintain and improve upon the academic skill of writing, it also helps maintain an important connection to family and friends at home while they are away at camp over the summer.
While there are certainly some residential or sleepover summer camps which might have computer stations available with the ability to send email back in some capacity (be sure to check with the camp director prior to the start of camp to find out one way or the other), there is really no substitute for an old fashioned supplies such as: a pen or pencil, pad of paper, envelopes, and stamps. Be sure to provide your child with enough of these basic letter writing supplies to last throughout the duration of their stay at summer camp.
Whether your child is going away to camp this summer for only a few days or eight weeks, letters written back home will serve as a real time journal (or real life “blog”) which will record their thoughts, activities, accomplishments, fears, encounters, etc. in real time so as family and friends can follow along on a camper’s journey over the course of their time away from home at camp. The act of writing a letter helps a child process and record their individual experiences in a manner which is meaningful on a personal level; whether it is regarding issues such as homesickness as well as about significant accomplishments.
By the same token, letters written to campers attending summer camp might serve as a valuable connection to life back at home with respect to relatives, friends, and general happenings in the neighborhood. At many sleep away camps, there is often a time dedicated to “mail call” whereby a camp counselor will distribute letters to all campers in their cabin or unit. While it is certainly an important life skill to be able to cope with not receiving a letter when most other kids have gotten mail, it is also a nice feeling for a camper to be on the receiving end of news from home.
May 13th, 2010
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Summer is very quickly approaching and it might be time for you to decide which camp you or your child would like attend; whether it is an overnight camp away from home, or a summer day camp located in your family’s immediate neighborhood.
We encourage you to utilize the Camp Channel to search out and generate a wide list of summer camp programs which are of particular interest to you or your child; however, prior to making a decision to attend or send your child to any camp program, it is essential for a parent or guardian to contact a camp’s director and engage in a meaningful dialog with respect to at least the very basic issues of: general safety & welfare, camp staff selection & training process, meals, activity instruction & supervision, and of course all of the fun which campers will experience over the course of a summer at camp!
Email is a great first step to quickly contact summer camps and gather general or specific information about camp programs. All camp listings on the Camp Channel contain a short email request form at the bottom of their full camp profile. Tip: you can view a camp’s full profile by clicking on the blue “More Info” button within a results’ list.
Telephone conversations might provide you with a greater intuitive understanding of a camp director’s philosophy and outlook; however, there is no substitute for a face to face meeting with a camp director – who is ultimately the individual in charge of overseeing the camp’s program, and most importantly, the general safety and welfare of all campers and staff at camp.
Many summer camps will host open house dates for you and your family to attend in order to tour the camp’s premises and observe the facilities firsthand. Many camp directors will also be happy to schedule time for your family to take a personal tour of camp or even setup a home visit with a camp video presentation about life at camp and other related topics.
Over the course of your dialog with a camp director, do not be afraid to ask a camp director ANY question, especially regarding (but not limited to) issues about the safety and welfare of your child! Remember, there is no such thing as a “stupid question” and the vast majority of camp directors will be thrilled to field all your questions and concerns. This is not to say there might not some camp directors who might appear to be abrupt or evasive – which might be cause for concern.
Information on the internet can certainly be extremely helpful in the selection process of a camp; however, the ultimate responsibility for making a decision to send your child to a summer camp or related program rests with you as a parent or guardian! It is critical to take the time to engage a camp director in a meaningful way.
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