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Why are summer "camps" so expensive?!


SparklyUnicorn
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Just read about one where students participate in a local archeological dig, which sounds interesting, but also sounds like extra bodies to help who are on top of that paying to be there.  It's $250 for the week (6 hours per day with an hour for lunch, lunch not provided).  This is also for teens so it's not like they need to hire tons of adults to watch over them.  I just think this is crazy. 

 

Another one...2 weeks for choir camp at $895.  WHAT?!  Not overnight either.  CHOIR!!!  Not special musical instrument one on one.  Nope...choir. 

 

Only thing I can think of is maybe insurance is expensive.  And maybe hiring experts is expensive.  But wowsers. 

 

 

 

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I can't speak to the camps you reference, but we do kids and youth camps every summer with our church and they run about $200-300 for the week. It seems pricey until you break it down - we pay for bus rentals and drivers to get everyone up there, we pay to use the camp, we feed them breakfast, lunch and dinner for five days, we pay lifeguards and pay the way for the adult counselors, we bring in some kind of musician or performer to entertain the kids in the evenings, we provide activities, crafts, games, etc. There's teaching and worship and the people who do that get paid a stipend. And yes, there is insurance. So it's expensive. We keep it as low as we can. 

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I can't speak to the camps you reference, but we do kids and youth camps every summer with our church and they run about $200-300 for the week. It seems pricey until you break it down - we pay for bus rentals and drivers to get everyone up there, we pay to use the camp, we feed them breakfast, lunch and dinner for five days, we pay lifeguards and pay the way for the adult counselors, we bring in some kind of musician or performer to entertain the kids in the evenings, we provide activities, crafts, games, etc. There's teaching and worship and the people who do that get paid a stipend. And yes, there is insurance. So it's expensive. We keep it as low as we can. 

 

For all of that I agree not pricey.  But there is none of that.  We provide all transportation and food and since the kids aren't young they don't need many adults. 

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I agree. We have a church here that was pushing their Summer Camp at the local food pantry distribution day {at the same church}. It was $150 a week for a quasi-VBS day camp that ran from 7:30-5:30. I didn't have the heart to tell them that most of the folks in that line couldn't afford $150 a week. And I don't see why it was $150 a week either - they are a free summer lunch site so I know the snacks are paid for already. ETA: They aren't providing any transportation or having anyone come in to entertain the kids either that I know of. 

 

The ones that really grate on me are the VBS's. We have one in our area that charges $100 for the week - for a 4 hour, no snacks provided VBS. I thought VBS was supposed to be outreach / missions? Then why the heck are the charging at all? I could see a small fee - $10 or so for the week, but not $100!

 

 

Edited by frugalmamatx
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I agree. We have a church here that was pushing their Summer Camp at the local food pantry distribution day {at the same church}. It was $150 a week for a quasi-VBS day camp that ran from 7:30-5:30. I didn't have the heart to tell them that most of the folks in that line couldn't afford $150 a week. And I don't see why it was $150 a week either - they are a free summer lunch site so I know the snacks are paid for already. 

 

The ones that really grate on me are the VBS's. We have one in our area that charges $100 for the week - for a 4 hour, no snacks provided VBS. I thought VBS was supposed to be outreach / missions? Then why the heck are the charging at all? I could see a small fee - $10 or so for the week, but not $100!

 

Uh no that's nuts.  All the VBS's around here are free. 

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I am a consumer of many summer camps, and it's interesting how big the range of prices is.

 

Our cheapest:  free library camps, usually a couple hours a day for a week, paid for out of donations or tax money.  (Bonus:  free lunch if it's at a branch in a low-income neighborhood.)  Our library is truly awesome and a tremendous resource for families who want to be educated but can't afford frills.  Unfortunately the really cool camps get filled up almost instantly.

 

Our most expensive so far:  1-week sleep-away camp for almost $900 per kid.  This is a farm experience in Amish country.  The kids experience life in the 19th century.

 

The generic ones where kids mostly hang out with young adult counselors and maybe swim are under $200/week.  These are really convenient as the hours are flexible - up to12 hours a day.  Horse camp is $50 for a half day - but they have to feed the horses, right?  Culture camp is $200/week (full time) which includes food.  The science type museums tend to charge a lot, but they also offer pretty sophisticated learning opportunities.

 

My idea of a good camp is a full-time camp that keeps the kids mentally engaged.  I will pay a premium for that, because it allows me to focus on my work so I can be less frazzled and be more present when they are home.  A couple years I put my kids in a bunch of half-day camps, and it about killed me.

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Yeah, I'm pretty sure VBS is free around here also.  We never go because it's too inconvenient for a working mom.  I used to love VBS as a kid, but in those days we walked everywhere while our parents worked.  We would just show up and join into whatever we felt like joining.  Ah, those were the days.  :)

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VBS is run by volunteers and supplies are paid for by the church, right? They are not common around here (Boston). I'm always amazed to hear that there is essentially free babysitting for kids all summer - if you go from camp to camp - in some parts of the US.

 

Most everything is around $250/ week here. Which is much cheaper than hiring a nanny but still makes some families dread summer. It's such a big expense and there's not really a way around it unless your are lucky enough to have a SAHP, flexible work schedules or competent family nearby.

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Uh no that's nuts.  All the VBS's around here are free. 

 

I think almost all of our local ones charged this year :( Most were reasonable - $10-$20 for supplies. But a lot were $50 or so too. I was able to find a couple that were still free thankfully for my daughter to attend. $20 doesn't sound like a lot, but when you then add in another $20 for bus passes to go for the week, lunch afterwards daily, the suggested donations for whatever mission the VBS is doing - it adds up. 

 

 

My only real gripe is that most of the free VBS's I could find were at night. Seriously - who does VBS at 6-9pm? I get that it's summer, and probably easier to find volunteers at that hour. But geez - night is family time!

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Yeah that's just shockingly expensive.  I'd have to charge that on a credit card.  That's an amount of money that is close to what we live on per week.

 

We can't afford that kind of stuff, either.   :svengo:

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The archaeology camp makes me laugh. I used to go on archaeology digs in undergrad. They're definitely charging you for free physical labor if they're all teens and it's all on site! I mean seriously. I know some people love it, but I found it boring, tedious, and dirty. And then right when you find something cool you instantly bag it up and send it off to the lab. I liked the lab side MUCH better- that would be a cool camp. Way more interesting. They're probably using it though to at least help fund the dig, so it's potentially for a good cause. Maybe sign up for a DE archaeology course at the college and get credit at least!!

Edited by texasmom33
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VBS is run by volunteers and supplies are paid for by the church, right? They are not common around here (Boston). I'm always amazed to hear that there is essentially free babysitting for kids all summer - if you go from camp to camp - in some parts of the US.

 

Most everything is around $250/ week here. Which is much cheaper than hiring a nanny but still makes some families dread summer. It's such a big expense and there's not really a way around it unless your are lucky enough to have a SAHP, flexible work schedules or competent family nearby.

 

Yes and no. It depends on the church. Most are staffed by volunteers, and maybe a youth pastor if there is one runs it. Some churches budget for VBS, so it is paid for by the church. Others, like the one we attend, is paid for entirely by fundraising. They do a garage sale with vendors to help offset the cost, and then if anyone wants to give a donation towards VBS they can. They do a great program and don't charge for the kids at all, though you are welcome to give a donation if you want {and it will go towards the next year's VBS}

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My kids are going into 5th, so after a year or so I will probably have a somewhat different challenge as most of the camps won't be open to them any more.  Some of them offer "counselor in training" type camps.  There are also quasi-volunteer camps that are lower cost.  For example, the culture camp has teens volunteer and there is a fee to participate, but it's less than the classes for the younger kids.

 

I'd love to just let my kids hop on their bikes and entertain themselves like I did, but they aren't allowed into the nearest rec center or library without a parent until they are 12/13.  So camps it is until they get a few years older.

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My son is doing the G&T camp at our local university.  It's $1500 for 3 weeks of 1/2 days (8am to noon).   I think it's expensive but it's hard for him to find his "peeps".  He really thrived when he did it last year.  They offer two sessions, full days are possible but we just do one session of 1/2 days.

 

My daughter will be doing our towns rec program for 3 weeks of 1/2 days.  $85/week and she'll do one week of culinary crafts, and two weeks of general crafts.

 

Our church does VBS for $45 for the week, $90 maximum per family.  It's open to the community but a lot of the kids from our church attend.

 

ETA:  After years of paying for daycare and summer camp for my oldest, not to mention years of competition dance, I think my idea of "expensive" is totally warped.  Not to mention living in a HCOL area.

Edited by Where's Toto?
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VBS is run by volunteers and supplies are paid for by the church, right? They are not common around here (Boston). I'm always amazed to hear that there is essentially free babysitting for kids all summer - if you go from camp to camp - in some parts of the US.

 

Most everything is around $250/ week here. Which is much cheaper than hiring a nanny but still makes some families dread summer. It's such a big expense and there's not really a way around it unless your are lucky enough to have a SAHP, flexible work schedules or competent family nearby.

 

Our VBS we attended was free, but the volunteers were mostly youth and mostly not helpful LOL. I was an adult volunteer and I know some of the youth was just there because their parents must have made them tag along with their younger sibling or they wanted credit for volunteer hours. The actual event was for kids K to grade 4, so we had a bunch of extra "help" milling around. We almost attended a different VBS in the past and that church did things differently. They wanted me to buy a shirt for the event (I asked if it was optional and they said well yes but all the other kids will have one) and asked me to bring a snack if I could. We ended up backing out as they were telling me this all within like 2 days of the event and I was quite broke and had just been rejected from helping with the kids because they didn't have time to put me through the required training thing which no one told me about initially. They offered to stick me in the kitchen for the duration of the event (which for someone like me sounded like torture and ds didn't know anyone in the parish so I wanted to be around him). I went through training this time, didn't have to buy a shirt, or bring a snack.

 

The camp we attended was only a few days and ended before lunch most days. I guess some people had family members do the pick up/drop off or they don't work in the summer (teachers). So not really a good babysitting plan for most working folks lol.

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$250 per week sounds reasonable to me.  I've not seen any around here priced that low that would actually be worthwhile.  The cost of decent summer ballet intensives in makes me  :svengo:

 

Well and sadly 6 hours wouldn't cut it for most working full time.  So you'd have to pay more than the $250.  That's the only way I could afford it.  If I were working.

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We are lucky to have a day camp here for kids ages K-4th grades that runs M-F 9:30am-3pm and costs $25 for the Whole summer...not even a day or a week. The kids all get free lunch as well. They can attend as many or as few days as they want.

 

All VBS on our area are free as well.

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Liability insurance is part of what makes some things so expensive. Ugh!

 

$200-300 is typical for one week of day camp here.

My kids go to scout and/or church camp for sleep away because those are relatively inexpensive, $200-400. 

 

We know many people whose kids go to month long summer camps for $5000! Crazy expensive. 

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If you consider that they provide instruction, childcare and expertise from specialists for 6-8 hours a day, then the price is very reasonable. We paid $500/week for a camp run by USA olympic team coaches. Considering it costs $50/30 mins of private lessons with the same coaches, I think that one whole week with instruction from those coaches even in a group setting is a good deal.

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Liability insurance is part of what makes some things so expensive. Ugh!

 

$200-300 is typical for one week of day camp here.

My kids go to scout and/or church camp for sleep away because those are relatively inexpensive, $200-400. 

 

We know many people whose kids go to month long summer camps for $5000! Crazy expensive. 

 

Yeah I guess I can see where stuff adds up quickly.  You need a space to host it, insurance, instructors/counselors. 

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There was a story on NPR this week about working parents' needs for summer camp and how expensive it is. One single working mom saved all year ($1800-$2k I think) for the camps she would need for child care over the summer.

 

As a stay-at-home mom, I always look for the opportunities that aren't just a full day of day-care. When my kids were little, I wanted them to just have a fun gymnastics experience, and if you aren't looking for childcare, you know that a couple of hours are really all that a young kid needs--not 8 hours a day of gymnastics (this was rec level for little kids, not team gymnastics). Some camps are set up with an optional afternoon program so that the morning-only fits for families like ours and the afternoon care meets the childcare needs of others. We do about 1-2 camps per summer to provide particular experiences we think are good for the girls. One does soccer, both have done science camps.

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There's so much demand for summer camps that places will charge what the market can bear ($400-500/week seems to be the going rate for non-specialty day camps) because they know they'll get filled by all the dual-income and single parent families. There are half-day camps but typically they give enrollment priority to those enrolling for both morning & afternoon sessions.

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There was a story on NPR this week about working parents' needs for summer camp and how expensive it is. One single working mom saved all year ($1800-$2k I think) for the camps she would need for child care over the summer.

 

As a stay-at-home mom, I always look for the opportunities that aren't just a full day of day-care. When my kids were little, I wanted them to just have a fun gymnastics experience, and if you aren't looking for childcare, you know that a couple of hours are really all that a young kid needs--not 8 hours a day of gymnastics (this was rec level for little kids, not team gymnastics). Some camps are set up with an optional afternoon program so that the morning-only fits for families like ours and the afternoon care meets the childcare needs of others. We do about 1-2 camps per summer to provide particular experiences we think are good for the girls. One does soccer, both have done science camps.

 

Yeah years ago one of mine did a 3 hour per day camp at a Montessori school.  They did stuff like cooking, art, music, etc.  That was $75 a week.  That's doable.  Now I have two kids and they are not little anymore so the stuff is much more expensive.

 

I was just looking around for something more affordable and I did find a park program that is a drop off for 3 hours 3 times per week.  No commitment required.  And free!  Woot.  Free is good. 

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I agree. We have a church here that was pushing their Summer Camp at the local food pantry distribution day {at the same church}. It was $150 a week for a quasi-VBS day camp that ran from 7:30-5:30. I didn't have the heart to tell them that most of the folks in that line couldn't afford $150 a week. And I don't see why it was $150 a week either - they are a free summer lunch site so I know the snacks are paid for already. ETA: They aren't providing any transportation or having anyone come in to entertain the kids either that I know of.

 

The ones that really grate on me are the VBS's. We have one in our area that charges $100 for the week - for a 4 hour, no snacks provided VBS. I thought VBS was supposed to be outreach / missions? Then why the heck are the charging at all? I could see a small fee - $10 or so for the week, but not $100!

$100 is a little steep for VBS. Ours charges $50 per kid, but I know they have activities going on all week, the kids get little keepsakes, a CD etc. I'm sure the VBS packages that some churches buy are not cheap. On the other hand, I don't know about your area, but at our parish we have ran into the problem that VBS is SO CHEAP compared to ANY camp/childcare etc, that parents just used it because it was just super cheap childcare. I volunteered a couple years and sadly it was kind of a nightmare, kids who made it much harder because they just did not want to be there, they had no interest whatsoever and instead they caused discipline troubles all week long :(
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We are lucky to have a day camp here for kids ages K-4th grades that runs M-F 9:30am-3pm and costs $25 for the Whole summer...not even a day or a week. The kids all get free lunch as well. They can attend as many or as few days as they want.

 

All VBS on our area are free as well.

Wow!!!!! Have never heard of such an affordable camp!
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I think almost all of our local ones charged this year :( Most were reasonable - $10-$20 for supplies. But a lot were $50 or so too. I was able to find a couple that were still free thankfully for my daughter to attend. $20 doesn't sound like a lot, but when you then add in another $20 for bus passes to go for the week, lunch afterwards daily, the suggested donations for whatever mission the VBS is doing - it adds up. 

 

 

My only real gripe is that most of the free VBS's I could find were at night. Seriously - who does VBS at 6-9pm? I get that it's summer, and probably easier to find volunteers at that hour. But geez - night is family time!

I suspect it is not only volunteers, but getting the kids, too. Working parents probably have their kids in daycare, so the only way to get them to VBS is if it is in the evening?

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I guess it really depends. A church camp? Or something that involves overnight, transportation etc I get it, it adds up. What I don't understand are places like the science centers, museums etc...they already have the location, they are not providing transportation or anything like that...I am sure insurance/liability is kind of covered by the entrance fees etc, the camp is run by their employees (so, they are not an extra "expense" for the museum), and their camps are still outrageous!!!! I get the need to cover the supplies, but the fee for any camp now a days is just ridiculous. And they charge so much because they know they can.

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Wow, I've never heard of a VBS that charged! I can see how they might need to, especially if used as cheap childcare. My children go to VBS at a local church (not our church) where I'm allowed to drop off & later pick up. I love it, but I'd be glad to pay a small fee because they provide such a fun, awesome time!

 

My girls just got back from overnight camp. Sunday-Friday for $170/kid. Very affordable.

 

There are tons of summer camps around us. We can't afford them (art camp for $350/week, just mornings). We just do the free summer reading program activities at the library.

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I guess it really depends. A church camp? Or something that involves overnight, transportation etc I get it, it adds up. What I don't understand are places like the science centers, museums etc...they already have the location, they are not providing transportation or anything like that...I am sure insurance/liability is kind of covered by the entrance fees etc, the camp is run by their employees (so, they are not an extra "expense" for the museum), and their camps are still outrageous!!!! I get the need to cover the supplies, but the fee for any camp now a days is just ridiculous. And they charge so much because they know they can.

 

My kids have been in some of these, and I feel they really are worth it.  Probably some more than others, but the list of things they do is impressive.  Last year my kids (then age 8) attended a 1-week day camp that did dissections, water purification, hand-made sun-powered ovens in which they made s'mores, first aid including CPR, something involving live animals, making chewing gum and ice cream, and more that I can't remember.  It included admission to 3 museums.  This year I signed them up for another 1-week camp there, at a cost of $300 per kid.

 

I might feel differently if I didn't need to have them in some sort of care regardless.  But the cheapest option here is $140/week (nonmembers $170), at a place they begged me not to send them, so the additional amount doesn't feel outrageous to me.

 

Not to sound all foo foo, but they also meet interesting people at these camps.  Someday that may be an asset to them.

Edited by SKL
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I might feel differently if I didn't need to have them in some sort of care regardless.  But the cheapest option here is $140/week (nonmembers $170), at a place they begged me not to send them, so the additional amount doesn't feel outrageous to me.

 

That's exactly what it is. The majority of families of school-aged kids need the childcare so they are less price-sensitive than the minority of single-income families.

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Our local YMCA summer camp, which is a very popular option for those who work, is $485/2 week session for members, $510/2 week session for non-members.  Lunch is included and that's from 9am to 4pm, so not quite enough for some people to get to work.  The extra morning hours are $55/2 weeks, afternoons are $65/2 weeks.  That's the general camp.  Specialty camps (tennis, dance, performing arts, cheer, etc.) run from $510 to $620/ 2 week session for members.

 

That's fairly typical for around here.  You might be able to find something cheaper but it's unlikely to include much in the way of swimming or activities.

 

ETA;  My oldest is working for the second summer in a row at a sleep-away camp.  It's $10,500 from June 25 through August 16th.  With an additional fee for optional horseback riding, tennis or golf lessons.  We never could have afforded to send her to this camp.

Edited by Where's Toto?
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It is not always a case of "you get what you pay for" but back in the day we found that the quality of the activity or instruction at a camp was highly variable.  Our town runs a number of camps that are affordable but they are using town facilities and equipment. Most of the camps are $60-$70 for a week long camp with the kids meeting for three hours a day.  Some are more expensive--like sailing camp. Obviously there is not only the equipment issue but a camp like sailing or surfing would need instructors with specific training and skills.

 

There can be a huge difference I think between a camp with professionals and one with volunteers or college interns.  Our community college offers camps that I think are a bargain since they often pull in professors for some of the activities. The CC camps are $150 for four days, 9 - 4:30.  My son did a chemistry camp there when he was in middle school and had a blast!  But it seems that some of the museum camps utilizing labs, studios, staff are often far pricier.  Some of the sports camps though were really crazy expensive back in the day! 

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The one-week sleepover church camp (all meals included) my dd's all attended (just once) cost about $350/week.  I thought the cost was quite high, but our church paid for half of each student's fees, so that made it more reasonable.  I think a lot of churches try and do that.  But this camp was very nice!  They had tons of activities and the grounds were huge with lots of nice buildings and equipment.

 

My ds, on the other hand, attended a one-week sleepover camp (again, all meals included) that cost about $125, or less if you paid earlier!  The camp was very rustic and they didn't have all the nice buildings and equipment (like zip lines, etc.), but they had a lot of good old fashioned games planned and lots to do.

 

So, maybe it's the nice grounds, equipment, upkeep/maintenance, more staff needed to run it all, that makes a difference these days.

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It is not always a case of "you get what you pay for" but back in the day we found that the quality of the activity or instruction at a camp was highly variable. 

 

This is what makes it so difficult.  Lot of times there is no way to know that unless you happen to know someone who has tried a particular camp.

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I think almost all of our local ones charged this year :( Most were reasonable - $10-$20 for supplies. But a lot were $50 or so too. I was able to find a couple that were still free thankfully for my daughter to attend. $20 doesn't sound like a lot, but when you then add in another $20 for bus passes to go for the week, lunch afterwards daily, the suggested donations for whatever mission the VBS is doing - it adds up. 

 

 

My only real gripe is that most of the free VBS's I could find were at night. Seriously - who does VBS at 6-9pm? I get that it's summer, and probably easier to find volunteers at that hour. But geez - night is family time!

 

Right.  No one is around during the day to staff it.  The parents of the campers need it for childcare, so they're not volunteering.  And most people don't want to volunteer at night because they've worked all day.

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$100 is a little steep for VBS. Ours charges $50 per kid, but I know they have activities going on all week, the kids get little keepsakes, a CD etc. I'm sure the VBS packages that some churches buy are not cheap. On the other hand, I don't know about your area, but at our parish we have ran into the problem that VBS is SO CHEAP compared to ANY camp/childcare etc, that parents just used it because it was just super cheap childcare. I volunteered a couple years and sadly it was kind of a nightmare, kids who made it much harder because they just did not want to be there, they had no interest whatsoever and instead they caused discipline troubles all week long :(

 

 

I get the whole VBS as daycare thing {heck I'm guilty of doing it myself just to get a little time to myself in the summer}. But still - VBS is supposed to be an outreach / mission to the youth of the community. I could see making a public notice that if your child causes issues / problems, they will be sent to room XYZ and you will be called to pick them up. But charging just to avoid folks using it as daycare just rubs me wrong - for many of the lowest income families I know, VBS is often their child's first exposure to faith. VBS gets them to {hopefully} come to Sunday school {our local one always does an invitation to get kids to come to Sunday school to "continue the learning", and tries to organize transportation if that is an issue}, and in turn Sunday school helps them form good morals and 

hopefully help them go on to be better adults. 

We are lucky to have a day camp here for kids ages K-4th grades that runs M-F 9:30am-3pm and costs $25 for the Whole summer...not even a day or a week. The kids all get free lunch as well. They can attend as many or as few days as they want.

 

All VBS on our area are free as well.

 

Our city program does $25 for the entire summer if you qualify income wise. It's K-6th, but it's 7:30-5:30 5 days a week. AND you can't have too many absences or they drop you to open a spot for someone else. But still the same free breakfast, lunch and snack. 

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200-500$ per wek is about the norm here.  They are providing full time daycare for school aged, and younger, kids. That is something that costs a lot.  But what are parents to do? They have to work, the kids are off school and if they are too young to stay home then you have to pay. It is also a major provider of jobs to college aged students.  I've known many people who discovered their career path while working with youth at some summer camp, lol. And a few who learned that they aren't cut out to work with kids, so that is a good thing as well.

 

My mom made me stay home all summer every summer to take care of my younger siblings. They were free to go to friend's homes if they wanted, and I had to walk them to swimming lessons etc. But I had to be available to them at all times.  It was really not good for me. I couldn't see friends all summer, I just sort of sat in the house and watched TV while my two sisters and my brother hung out with friends, went to the park, had swimming lessons etc.  OTOH, what choice did my mom have? The younger kids needed someone to watch them, and she wanted them to know that there was someone in house available if they needed someone. Plus. they were middle school aged, and they really weren't quite old enough to be left alone all day, every day, all summer.

 

We used to have a neighbor who worked at a low end restaurant.  I mentioned that I hadn't seen her 10 year old son all summer. She said that she didn't qualify for a child care subsidy any longer so she just had him stay home and stay inside all day while she was at work.  So, right next door a 10 year old was stuck inside playing video games and watching daytime TV for 8 weeks. 

 

The hardest part in town is when the colleges start up and the camps lose their staff.  Around 8/15 all the summer programs shut down, including those at private schools, like the Montessori, etc.  The city pool also shuts down, right at the hottest time of year.  But school here opens after labor day, so there is a good 3 week with no child care.  My sister has managed to go 3/4 time during the summer, with half of that working from home. It means she also takes a pay cut for those few months.  So her kids are in camps, but she and her husband manage to make it work. My sister works 3/4 time, she uses a most of her vacation and so does her husband. But even they can't deal with no childcare for 3 weeks.  So for the past 5 years my mom has come to live with them for those weeks.  But I wonder what people without a retired grandma around do.

 

There just has to be a better way for working families.

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I am on the board of a summer camp in our area. The most eye-opening expense that I didn't know about is the cost of transportation. We have to pay about $6000 for bus transportation from local areas. That seemed outrageous to me. However, we keep costs down to $95 per week for a 9-3 day camp, including a t-shirt; kids bring their own lunch. Insurance also costs a lot but I expected that. We pay student counselors but the adult staff is all-volunteer.

 

ETA: A different camp that I'm sending one child to (6 nights/7 days) cost $500; finally, 4H camp (3 nights) cost $75. The costs vary quite a bit.

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Camps here vary widely, I agree many are well beyond my means.

In our current circumstance, financial aid availability is a criteria to even look further at most camps.

 

Camps and programs through the city parks and recreation department tend to be lower on cost ever all. Some of the programs are clearly designed to fill a daycare need, others are really good.

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Yeah I've seen the local park camp.  They scream at the kids and they are outside all day rain or shine.  It looks pretty terrible actually.  I won't send them to that one.

 

I'm not upset that they are outside all day, but what I'm saying is they don't have a building to go to. They literally are outside all day because there is no building.  They charge $50 a week for that one though. 

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Yeah I've seen the local park camp. They scream at the kids and they are outside all day rain or shine. It looks pretty terrible actually. I won't send them to that one.

 

I'm not upset that they are outside all day, but what I'm saying is they don't have a building to go to. They literally are outside all day because there is no building. They charge $50 a week for that one though.

 

There are a couple like that here too!

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There are a couple like that here too!

 

Yeah one day we went to the pool at that park and they had them in groups.  So one group was comprised of all black kids, but the counselors were all white.  They just kept screaming at them.  If one kid did some thing wrong in the pool they'd make them all get out and line up and they'd walk up and down the line and scream at them. They must have done this 10 times in one hour. I couldn't even tell what anyone was doing wrong.  The whole thing really rubbed me the wrong way. 

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Hey, I'd like to point out that if you put your kid in a day camp that is essentially day care, you can claim a tax deduction or credit or something.  I should know more about this, but I am too stupid to keep track of what I pay for my kids' camps and give them to the tax guy 1.5 years later.   (Maybe this year I will do it though.)

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