The Cost of Summer Camp

Shelley S
2859 days ago.

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!

summer camp

Mills Properties

Shelley S

Shelley is a St. Louis native, but a nomad at heart and has lived in most areas of the city. She is mom to two miniature versions of herself that keep her laughing all the time. A self-professed fitness and nutrition junkie, you’ll usually find her at the gym or in the kitchen. One of her favorite things to do is take delicious recipes and make them healthy. Known for randomly busting into song and/or dance, Shelley has never turned down a challenge and secretly believes she can do anything.

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