How to pay for summer camp for your child

Financial aid is available but families have to apply and meet deadlines
Posted at 5:32 PM, May 14, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-15 18:17:05-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — It is the time of year when families are signing up their children for summer camp programs - but the cost can be hard to pay for some parents.

According to the American Camp Association (ACA), the costs of overnight summer camp programs can range from under $200/week to over $1,500/week.

The association found that the average cost for weekly, overnight camp programs was $768/week.

Costs for day camps can start under $100/week and exceed $500/week.

How can financially struggling families pay for summer camp?

"We don't want anyone to feel like they can't come because money was an issue," said Alison Wilcox, CEO of Girls Scouts of WNY.

Wilcox said many generous donors allow Girl Scouts to offer Campership Scholarships, which is some cases, can cover most of the summer camp cost.

This year, Girls Scouts of WNY is expanding bus transportation to its three summer camps to make it easier for parents.

The cost of the bus also qualifies for financial aid.

Summer camp supplies can also put a financial burden on families.

Girl Scouts of WNY said it welcomes donations of things like sleeping bags, mess kits and other camping equipment to help those families.

Girls are not required to have previous Girl Scout experience before signing up for summer camp.

"She'll have the wonderful summer camp experience. It is her choice if she wants to continue with Girl Scout programming in the fall," added Wilcox.

Parents are encourage to sign up as soon as possible because some programs are filling up.

You can find more information about Girl Scout summer camp and financial aid here.

The YMCA also runs 23 summer camp locations in Erie and Niagara Counties.

Most of the YMCA programs are day camps, but the YMCA does have two overnight camps.

"We have STEM camps. We have gymnastics camps, arts & crafts and theater camps," said Ryan Ende, program director at the Southtowns YMCA.

YMCA camps accept children age 3 to 17.

"Some families are not in a position where they can pay $150 or $200 on summer camp," added Cait Evans, senior program director at the Ken-Ton YMCA.

To help those families, the YMCA offers scholarships and financial aid that is raised by its fund raising programs throughout the year.

Cait Evans said in years past, the YMCA has given out more than $1 million in aid that has helped thousands of families.

It is important to remember that the deadline to apply for the YMCA summer camp financial aid is June 1st.

In addition, children enrolled for at least one week in a YMCA summer camp can sell candy to help pay their way.

Fowler's chocolate bars are sold for $1/each with 50-cents going toward the cost of the child's summer camp fees.

"If you really want to go to summer camp, we will get you to summer camp," said Ryan Ende, "It is a great experience that no kid should be able to go without."

More information about YMCA summer camps and financial aid can be found here.

7 Eyewitness News 'Making Ends Meet' Reporter Ed Reilly has more in the attached clip.