Especially in today's economy, where everyone's watching each dime that goes in an out, people are sensitive to the price of camp. In my own family (as in most others, I'm sure) we try to limit our spending to what's essential and only buy non-essential items sparingly. It's never easy, when you've got kids, it's reality.
So, the question we're focusing on today is, "Is summer camp essential?" The answer is different for everyone. In families where both parents work, sending your child to camp may very well may be something you need to do; in this scenario you might send your child to camp to fill your child care needs. (Here in Los Angeles, many day camps say one of the reasons they fill up so early each year is because parents arrange their childcare coverage many months in advance.)
On the other hand, for any number of reasons, many families decide not to send their kids to camp. Maybe they assume their kids are too old for camp. Maybe they can't find a camp they like. Perhaps they think they'll have just as much fun hanging around the house as they will at at camp, so why spend the money? Or maybe they feel like they just can't afford it.
As we mentioned, price is a very real consideration for most families. So next time you consider camp for your kids, one of the first things to do is justify whether a camp experience is essential for your family. Maybe it is, maybe not. In any case, you should not feel like you need to spend a fortune for camp because many times the less expensive camps are just as good as those on the high-end. But if you are looking for special environment where every child's accepted, made to feel important and wants to enjoy the best summer of their life, a camp experience could be the best way to go.