Summer and Vacation Camps
By America’s Nanny Michelle LaRowe – Summers and school vacations often provide an added level of difficulty in finding childcare. Not only do you have to find a program that your children like, but you have to find one that works with your budget and your schedule.
With activities that range from overnight camping in the mountains to sports or arts and crafts at the local town recreation center, summer and vacation camps are amazingly diverse.
So are their price tags.
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Although privately run specialty camps (running up to $10,000) can exceed the budget of most average families, many American Camp Association accredited camps cost between $75-$300 per week, per child for day camp and $201-$400 per week for resident campers. Church camps and nonprofit camps are often less expensive than their privately run counterparts.
The great thing about camps is that a good camp experience fosters independence, self esteem, and personal growth for the camper. You can choose a camp that specializes in your child’s favorite interests and select programs that teach life lessons about character, compassion, and caring through community and group living. On the down side, because camps only operate in the summertime or during school vacations, it can be hard to tour a facility and meet the staff during the off season, although many camps take part in community fairs that showcase their offerings and programs.
You’ll also find that once a family finds a camp that they like (and that matches their kids interests and independency level), they send their kids year after year and life-long friendships, along with special memories, are often made.
To locate a reputable camp, visit the American Camp Association, www.acacamps.org, Find-A-Camp Database, and search their database of accredited camps. You can also check out the Christian Camp and Conference Association, www.ccca.org to locate Christian, faith based camps. The National Camp Associations provides a free camp resource and referral service at their web address www.summercamp.org.
Once you find camp that peaks you and your child’s interests, if it’s not in your budget, you may still be in luck, as many summer camps have scholarship or “campership” programs. Depending on the camp, some scholarships may be based on need while others on merit.
It’s also a good idea to check within your local community to see if any scholarships or grants for local summer camp programs are available. Many churches have scholarship funds for their children in their congregation to attend faith based camps. Some communities even host day camps that offer a sliding fee scale to parents in need of financial assistance.
If you’ve struck out with the above, consider researching camp grants made by private companies. Some private companies provide grants to camps to service a specific demographic of children. For example, Novo Nordisk, a pharmaceutical company has provided grants to camps who service children with diabetes (http://press.novonordisk-us.com/index.php?s=43&item=240). There are also nonprofit organizations that award scholarships for summer camp. First Scholarship Fund (http://www.firstscholarshipfund.org/), for example, awards summer camp scholarships to teenagers.
Financing summer camp isn’t always easy, but for many working parents, enrolling their children in a summer camp is a necessity. For parents who depend on summer camp as child care, finding a way to make it work is essential.
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About America’s Nanny:
Michelle LaRowe is the 2004 International Nanny Association Nanny of the Year. A career nanny specializing in caring for twins, Michelle has over a decade of nanny experience. Although she holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry, she has found her true calling, working as a professional nanny.
Michelle is an active member of the nanny community. She is the founder and president of Boston Area Nannies, Inc., a local non profit educational organization and has served on the International Nanny Association Board of Directors for the past five years. During that time she has also served as the associations 1st Vice President. Michelle is also a proud member of Christian Nannies.
She is called on by the media as a nanny and parenting expert, and has been affectionately dubbed America’s Nanny. Michelle has appeared on television and has been featured in print. She is the author of the new parenting series, Nanny to the Rescue!, a contributing writer in the Experts’ Guide to the Baby Years and a regular columnist in several parenting publications, including Twins Magazine.
To learn more about Michelle and to get your parenting tip of the day, please visit www.michellelarowe.com.
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