So you survived the school year. You made it through long work days, coming home, and battling through homework packets every night. You made it through getting up early every morning, making sure lunches are packed, and everything is in the right backpack for the next day. How freaking exhausting. You tell yourself every day during the school year “I can’t wait for summer so I don’t have to do all this!” Think you’re done? Nope. Now it is time for the summer camp hunt, don’t worry I got your back. Let me walk you through it.
How to Find Summer Camps
- Utilize your Child’s school– The very first and easiest step on your summer camp hunt is to simply to talk to other parents at your child’s school. Find out where they’re taking their children, where have they already looked into and so forth. Also, ask the school if they have a resources list for their parents as additional help. Ask the school about the business that has reached out for recruitment effort for summer camp enrollment as well.
- YMCA– Generally YMCA will always offer summer camps at an affordable price for members. Wary of membership fees? Think of the benefits they will provide a gym, pools, fitness classes, and extracurricular for the kids! Also , most places now offer memberships based on a family total income and you can even get financial assistance (https://www.ymcatriangle.org/financial-assistance-programs)
- Search local publications– Every city has their own local publications. (For Dayton, Ohio it is called Dayton Parents), published monthly. They will usually provide a list of popular summer camps in the area, along with prices and contact info. (http://daytonparentmagazine.com/summer-program-and-camp-guide-2016/)
Ways to Make it More Affordable
So I’ll cut right to the chase. Summer camp is expensive. Sometimes it can be more than your rent!!! Have no fear, Christina is here with some good information I’ve discovered on beating that upfront price:
- There is the help-The government has initiated assistance for those who qualify under CCDF (Child Care & Development Fund Grant) which allows for states to provide affordable high-quality daycare to low-income families. (http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/occ/fact-sheet-occ) For my Dayton, Ohio readers it’s is called Title XX. The application process is pretty simple:
- Go down to Job & Family services, also known as the Job center, pick up a child care application/packet.
- Research which daycare provide summer camps and if they have open spots for your child according to age.
- Fill out the application and return to the job center, after which it will take 30 days for to approve your application. Once approved, you will get a monthly or weekly co-pay that works with your monthly income. *(Sometimes this process gets confusing and having 3 kids ranging from 3-7 yrs old, has made me a pro at this. So if anyone has any question or concerns, email me in the “Let’s start a conversation” tab and I will walk you through it further)
- Plan ahead-In the beginning of the school year , follow my tips for finding a daycare and be proactive about getting all the cost of the program up front. Then, sit down with a calculator and a plan a realistic savings goal to prepare yourself for this big upcoming expense. Don’t tell me, “Christina I can’t save, I have too many bills.” Because if there is a will there is away! It might require some sacrifice, but that is what comes with being a parent. Heck! If you need help with budgeting and planning there are so many resources that help with that too! Also, generally by enrolling early programs will usually grant an “early bird” discount for you!
- Advocate for yourself don’t be shy!– Once you find a summer camp you like, ask about scholarship opportunities. You will be surprised at how many facilities actually offer these. Also, ask about discounts available as well.
What Your Child Will Need
I have a 7-year-old who is about to start her second year at summer camp, and to be honest I winged it! I told you guys I was a single mom. So a lot of experiences that I’ve dealt with ,I had to learn as they were happening. Same with this summer camp stuff! About a month before she got out of school, I called the school and asked what additional things they recommend I sent with my daughter on her first day. Here’s what are the necessities:
- Swimsuit- Not just one either, I bought my daughter 3. Simply because they went to the pool often and sometimes I’d forget to wash one. So It’s great to have a backup.
- Durable shoes- Summer camp is all about outside play and adventures with friends. Make sure your child has shoes that are durable and support their growing feet as they will be very active. Also, keep in mind the shoes will get dirty. So keep that in mind while shopping.
- A Beach towel
- Swim bag/book bag
- Water bottle
I hope this has been helpful and if you have any question or need additional information email me with your questions!!!!
Slay. Read. Work. Pray.