What kind of summer camps are out there?
It used to be that when someone thought of a summer camp for kids, it was a village in the mountains or a few weeks with a counselor and some compatriots at a lake. In the past few years summer camps have taken new forms, and there well could be a camp for each and every kid.
Not every family can afford summer camp or chooses to have their children attend. But faced with two long months of vacation from school, what options are there for keeping children occupied during the lazy days of summer?
A top'run, private, sleep'away camp can cost around $10,000 for the season. In today's tight economic climate, many families are choosing to scale back expenses, and that includes pricey summer camp.
However, just because cost is a factor, it doesn't mean that children can't attend camp this season. Parents simply need to do their research or come up with other creative alternatives.
First, investigate the opportunities in the local area. Summer camp doesn't have to mean eight weeks of recreation in the middle of the wilderness. There may be locally run businesses that also offer summer programs. For example, many private day care organizations open up their doors to campers for the summer. They may set a limit on age.
Also, churches, synagogues and other houses of worship may offer a summer recreation program. If you are a parishioner you might be eligible for a discounted rate.
Don't forget to check out the YMCA or other clubs in the area. They typically offer a summer program. Some places offer payment plans to spread out the financial responsibility, while others may offer scholarships based on financial need.
Find out if your child's elementary school has a program for the summer. Some may offer crafts, sports and other activities for a few hours during the day. This is a benefit to parents who have to work and cannot have their children home alone each day. Bus service may be available. The recreation department in Carbon County offers some programs in schools during the summer; check those out.
If you've exhausted other options, get creative. If you have a number of reliable friends or neighbors, you can set up a camp rotation. Each member of the camp group will be responsible for the kids on a particular day. The responsibilities rotate among the other parents. This enables free time for adults during the summer, and the potential to stagger work schedules and accommodate children being out of school.
Older adults, such as grandparents or other relatives, also may be able to assist in "camp" duties during the summer. Children, students and seniors often have a reduced admission rate to museums. Spending time together will help generations bond.
Summer camps can also encompass things you would have never thought of as a child; electronic and computer camps, history camps and camps for kids wanting to be emeshed in certain sports such as football, basketball and other sports.