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Camp is still affordable in tough times

Date: 3/28/2011

Most families over the last couple of years have become extremely budget conscious. And, like many, you've probably taken some steps to curb any big spending, or you've begun cutting the nonessential "fat" from your budget. But one childhood joy that may still be within reach is a life-changing summer camp experience.

It isn't necessary to break the bank to provide a life-changing camp experience for your child. A number of American Camp Association accredited camps offer value-priced summer camp opportunities.

Some camps offer scholarships or other financial aid.

"Most ACA-accredited camps offer some sort of assistance, so it's worth asking," Bette Bussel, executive director of ACA, New England, said. "And in keeping with our overall desire to see every child experience the magic of camp, ACA New England is working to address the economy-driven financial limitations affecting prospective campers these days.

"It's important when doing your research not to rule out camps that are potentially the best fit in all ways except financially," she continued. "The critical issue is choosing the camp that will best meet your child's current needs and interests. Once you've developed your list of potential camps, ask if they offer financial aid and how to apply. Camp Web sites are each different; but if you search carefully, you'll find information about navigating the financial aid application process."

Bussel does caution against waiting too long to do your research. "The sooner families apply to various camps the better, because there are limited scholarship dollars," she said. These dollars are often promised to campers well before the summer. Financial aid options and cost effective fees put camp within reach for many families.

Additional Resources

If you're just beginning your search for financial aid to send your child to camp, here are some resources to consider also; they might give scholarships themselves or offer advice on where else you can look:
  • Check with your church or synagogue.

  • Get in touch with social services groups and child serving non-profit organizations in your community.

  • Explore local funding streams with your town and school system.

  • Visit individual camp Web sites. Most of them clearly outline whether or not they offer financial assistance for their campers and how to apply.
Provided by the American Camp Association, New England, the region's leading source for "all things summer camp."

For more information, visit or call (781) 541-6080. Find us also at

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