Find Sending Your Kids Away for Summer is Too Expensive? Think Again

Children spend the whole year waiting for summer vacation so they can go to their favorite summer camp. Their parents, however, find ways to save up all year to make this possible without breaking the bank.

Fees and What to Expect
There are many camp types, and their fees vary accordingly. Day camps can cost from $35 to $500 a week, whereas overnight camps start at $300 and can go up to $1000 per week. These costs cover access to camp facilities, meals, accommodations, medical services and supervision from trained staff members. Overnight camps may even include extras such as transportation and laundry in their base fees.

Some camps have optional programs for children to engage in, but cost extra, raising camp fees. This can include small shops where children can buy snacks and camp merchandise or they may also be extra costs that the camps pass on to parents that come in the form of supplies, equipment, clothing, etc. One thing parents can do is see what each camp offers and decide based on a list of needs and wants and go with the camp that is more suitable and flexible. 

How to Save Some Money in Fees
One way to save money is to register your child early. The earlier you register the more money you can potentially save. Also, if you have more than one child, have them attend the same camp, as many camps offer sibling discounts. This not only saves you money, but can also be convenient. Referrals are another great way to save money. Refer the camp to friends and other children’s parents. Every time a referral registers their child for the camp, you get a discount.
If paying a onetime fee for a long period of time is difficult to do, talk to the camps. Some camps are willing to discuss individual payment plans with families, and you can make smaller payments throughout the season.

Charities Can Help Too
Charitable organizations are a valuable resource. Their mandate is to help send kids to camp. Many charities work with the Ontario Camps Association (OCA)  to help find campers and ensure they are attending camps that conform to OCA standards in safety, leadership, facilities and programs. However, getting financial aid from charities is an ongoing process. You should start this process early and put in an application, regardless of situation, and they will assess the level of financial need and assist on a first come first serve basis. In other cases, they can help direct you to more resources as well to make the camp experience possible for your young ones.

Other Ways of Saving Money
Have the kids contribute to their camp fees. Let them do chores around the neighborhood, hold yard sales, or even have them save up their birthday money.

Don’t forget the benefits of sending your children to camp…peace and quiet for parents and tax credits at tax time. There is a Children’s Fitness Tax Credit that can be claimed for any child under 16, and you can claim up to $500 in fees spent on physical activities.

So sending your kids to camp is not just a win-win situation for them, but for you too. You get some down time for yourself and tax credits-increasing your chance for a refund.