Dear Mom: Remember last month when I reminded you all about how we needed to book my summer camps now! Well, I am really hoping you did that Mom. I want to get into the same overnight summer camp I did last year with my BFF. It was the most fun event of my entire summer. Oh I enjoyed Canada’s Wonderland too, but nothing will ever top staying up late, crafting all week long, singing songs and making my own dolls and then swimming in a lake and sleeping on bunks away from home. My counsellors were incredible. In fact, I am crossing my fingers the same ones are back this year. Michelle was so nice and she didn’t mind that time we had the pillow fight. I remember having butterflies in my stomach Mom, but this year I think I will be completely okay for the whole week.
Over the next six months I am posting my Camp series here, sponsored by Muskoka Woods. Last month was the first post.
We wrote last month about the need to book your camps now and how fast camps fill up. This month I wanted to share some tips on saving money or getting more bang for your buck paying for camp. There are a lot of Ways to Save Money on Summer Camp sometimes you simply need to get creative.
Five Ways to Save Money on Summer Camp
1. Subsidy: Many day camps and overnight camps offer subsidy to those who need it. If you are looking at camps like the ones run by the City of London, you can access subsidy if your family has a limited income. You just need proof of a bank statement or proof of your earnings. Your last year’s taxes or your bank books will do usually. Gather that information and call up the City of London, or Spectrum, or the summer camp organization, or church camp and ask how to apply for a subsidy. One year we needed subsidy, right after we adopted our youngest whose special needs and demanding medical care and therapy was draining in every possible way, so I applied through the city and took the information over to the Carling Heights community centre. We were able to get my oldest child’s programs reduced. She was able to start a preschool age arts camp which she loved.
(THRIFTYMOMMA TIP: Also, as an aside I know this is an issue of pride for many. Nobody wants to admit they are poor, which is essentially what I had to do, and by the way the lady looking my income over wasn’t sensitive, but when I think about what my child needs in life and deserves in life then my pride is irrelevant. Set aside the pride and do it for your child.)
2. Start Saving Early: Save whatever you can starting right after your child returns from camp this summer. If they are old enough as mine is now, remind her throughout the year that her allowance can also be saved and put towards her camp costs. Save birthday money and tooth fairy money. Budget for a spend in February or March. This is a good way to teach your child about personal finance.
(THRIFTYMOMMA TIP: My daughter paid for half of a SKYPE course she took once by saving $150. It was that important to her. She learned responsibility and she was incredibly proud and committed to the course.)
3. OFFER an exchange: My super creative friend Cyn Gagen over at Creative Cynchronicity suggests offering to volunteer your services in exchange for a discount on your child’s fees. This is another smart idea in the toolkit of ways to save money for summer camp.
“I always investigated the possibility that I could somehow do some work for the camp in exchange for a discount or freebie. Nowadays, I would probably offer to do some social media for them, but back then, it would usually involve me helping with, or running their craft program. I always wanted my daughter to have an independent experience, so for example. I ran their crafts program for a different age group than what my daughter was in. Another time I went in as a cook for a day and then was given a free week of camp for my daughter in exchange.”
4. Sign Up With Friends: My organizing friend and Linked In guru, also a mother of three Margarita Ibbott of downshiftingpro suggests sign up with a friend. The gas savings alone can mean more money in your family budget at end of week. Car pool with another family. Smart ways to save money for summer camp.
5. The Early Bird or Big Family Deals: Jenna Em, another thrifty mom notes that early bird discounts can be substantial. Jenna blogs at http://www.snymed.blogspot.ca/. Jenna also suggests saving by enrolling multiple kids at the same camp and asking for family discount. Kim Logan of Tales of a Ranting Ginger says:”Having four kids, I love it when camps offer discounts for multiple children in the same family.
This is the second post in my 2013 camp series. I am thrilled to be posting this year for Muskoka Woods and, over the next five months, I will share with you the many reasons why camps are great extracurricular options for children of all ages and abilities. I will highlight a few great activities we got to experience at Muskoka Woods when we visited last year and blogged about the experience. I will show you what my kids gain from day camp, and sleepover camp, and horse-back riding camp and so on…I will talk about camps for kids with special needs and getting kids ready for camp and even finding affordable camps and where to look for funding.
Muskoka Woods is a Christian Youth Resort that welcomes all youth to camp experiences that range from full sports immersion to water sports, media and arts and team building programs. All this set on the incredible landscape that is Lake Rosseau. What struck me more than this when I was at Muskoka Woods was how engaged and talented the staff were. The high ratio of staff to children was indicated as the highest level for a residential camp. The camp stated they can provide care one on one for special needs children and they also have a camp doctor and nurse on staff. Every year, this amazing camp also sponsors inner city youth to attend their life-changing camp. Click the badge at the side of my blog to learn more and to register right now.
This post is sponsored. I have been compensated. My opinion is all my own. This camp was so incredibly powerful for me, as a Mom, and such a stellar weekend for my kids I would move mountains to get them there.