The Cost of Summer Camp
A few weeks ago I had the horrible realization that school would be ending in a few short weeks and that meant that I had to find somewhere for my kids to go while I go to earn a living every day. Unlike many who are lucky enough to have a grandparent to hang with the kiddos, I have to find an activity for them to attend.
This is where I am faced with 1 of 2 options — pay a babysitter for my kids to hang around someone’s house and watch TV or maybe play outside or pay for them to attend summer camp. Naturally the choice seems pretty clear; if I’m paying for it either way, I’d rather give my children a summer full of memories and the opportunity to make new friends, try new things, attend field trips and practice team building skills. The problem is that camp is RIDICULOUSLY expensive.
I was chatting with a fellow mommy friend who happens to stay home with her children. She opted to sign her daughter up for a single week of a specialty camp for theater and was going to be forking out close to $200.
That’s when I clued her in to the fact that I could buy a late 90s Toyota Camry for less than the cost to send 2 kids to summer camp all summer long, and I choose one of the more affordable camps. That’s when I got to wondering, does it really have to be so expensive?! What options does a single parent really have if it isn’t to send their kid to day camp for the 11 weeks between school years?
Camps that I priced out range from about $120-$220 per week for a standard day camp with certain specialty camps ranging up to $350. This means that for a single child, you’re looking at a cost of $1,320-$2,420 per summer. With a 12:1 ratio of campers to counselors a parent has to wonder is it really costing $16-30K for a salary and supplies for 11 weeks? If so, maybe I need to rethink my career options!
Despite the deep pains of paying out that outrageous fee, I will dutifully write the check each week, because the thought of them falling behind, or having a mediocre summer doesn’t seem right. Chalk it up to the ever present competitive parenting that slaps you in the face even when you don’t realize it!