Here's an article that just came out you might be interested in. It discusses how parents are still sending their kids to camp despite the recession.
February 8, 2009
Going to summer camp is a tradition for many kids, but as parents look at ways to trim the family budget, they must decide if summer camps that cost thousands of dollars are still a priority.
A good indicator of that is how many people attend the area's annual Fun Fair Summer Camp Expo. On Sunday, over 2,000 people swarmed the Doubletree Hotel in Abemarle County looking for camps, and organizers say that's actually more than last year.
7-year-old Ethan Vernatter says he doesn't have much to do in the summer, so he's excited about going to camp for the first time. Ethan's mom, Felipa Vernatter, says sending her son to camp is a priority for her because it enables him to do the outdoor activities like swimming and archery that he loves.
Organizers say the recession may actually be boosting interest. Parents are increasingly busy looking for work or doing extra jobs in the summer.
"We're finding that parents are still sending their children to camps," said Jennifer Bryerton, a publisher at the Albemarle Family Magazine. Her magazine organized the event. "[Parents] need the child care because they're working. There are lots of two-income families."
Camps from out of area like Camp Cheerio on the border of Virginia and North Carolina depend on these expos to get the word out. Their camp costs an average of $1000 a person. So far, parents are willing to pay.
"We are really, really fortunate that so far we haven't seen much of a difference," said Shannan Davis, Program Director of Camp Cheerio.
Some non-profit camps are seeing a difference. Camp Holiday Trails in Charlottesville is a camp for kids with special needs and chronic illnesses. It costs $2500 per child for a two-week session.
"Because of the cost of medical care, most of our families can't afford even close to that, so we offer financial assistance," said Amy Evans, Director of Camp Holiday Trails.
Evans says with the down economy, people are donating less while parents are still sending their kids to camps.
"It's a really phenomenal opportunity for kids to develop a lot of independence and new skills," says Bryerton,"And I think parents plan for that, and that's the last thing parents want to cut if they have a choice."
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