Children are increasingly becoming dependent on TV, game consoles, or other electronic devices for entertainment. Summer breaks often means they’ll spend more time in front of a screen. To get your kids outside in a healthy, natural environment, consider sending them to a summer camp. They’ll spend their days being physically active, participate in fun activities that build self-confidence and self-esteem, become more independent, make new friends, and reconnect with nature.
There are over 12,000 camps in the U.S. of many varieties:
- Traditional camps: Usually family-owned and focused on providing outdoor adventures.
- Girl and Boy Scout camps: Great for children wanting to learn more outdoor skills.
- Underprivileged background camps: For children whose parents cannot afford the usual camp fees.
- Day camps: Children attend for the day and return home at night.
- Not-for-profit camps: Run and funded by organizations and charities, there are fewer offerings than those at more expensive camps, but they’re valuable nonetheless.
- Special Needs camps: Children and adults stay in cabins with accessible living arrangements.
- Specialist camps: Catering to campers wanting to learn and practice specific skills, like horseback riding, soccer, performing arts, or science.
- Faith-based camps: Christian and Jewish camps that celebrate and teach their respective religions.
Costs vary, but many camps offer early enrollment or sibling discounts, and some will arrange payment plans with parents. Every year, 90% of American Camp Association (ACA) camps offer some kind of financial assistance, often called “camperships.”
If you work, are looking for work, or are a full-time student, and your child is 13 years old or younger, you can send him or her to day camp and deduct a portion of the expense from your taxes. The size of the deduction depends on your income or number of children under 13 you have. For more information, see IRS Publication 503, Child and Dependent Care Expenses at www.irs.gov.
It’s always a good idea to save for summer fun so you don’t have to go into debt. Ascentra Credit Union can help you save for camp and other family activities by helping you create a spending plan. Call us today at 1-800-426-5241 or stop by for assistance.