Here’s how much you’ll be paying for summer camp this year. It’s not pretty 2022-05-01 08:30:22


It is expected that some 26 million children nationwide will be registered in camps this year after school ends in a few weeks.

“Demand is very strong for campsites because parents desperately need their children to be in nature with peers and away from technical devices after two years of social distancing,” said Tom Rosenberg, president and CEO of the American Campground Association. – Profitability represents the summer camp industry.

As demand increases, parents should be prepared to pay more to secure a camping place for their children. Rosenberg said camp fees are expected to jump 10% to 15% this summer over 2021.

He added that some of this is demand-driven. The summer camp industry, made up of more than 15,000 camps, was already running at full capacity heading into the pandemic. In 2020, 82% of overnight camps and 60% of day camps did not operate at all. Loss of business forced some camps to close completely. He said demand is now outstripping supply.

The other factor is high inflation.

Just as families pay more for daily goods and services, camp operators said they incur more costs by having to pay more for camp supplies such as food, bus transportation staff and insurance.

The pandemic has added another expense category, too: in-house Covid testing and safety protocols.

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Camp Creek Run is a 50-acre nonprofit campground and nature reserve in Marlton, New Jersey that operates summer day camps for children ages 4 through 12.

“We are a smaller camp, so the demand is always high. But this year was definitely different,” said Kira Gianotti, camp executive and director of environmental studies. “Our vacancies filled up quickly. Some of our age groups filled in within two weeks once registration opened, which has never happened before.”

Camp operators say demand is up this year, and they are paying more for supplies, transportation and staffing costs.

The camp currently has a waiting list for each week and for each age group this year. “We had to close registration a few weeks ago, which we also didn’t do before, [and] “We have canceled two open houses,” she said.

Although the camps did not provide food, Giannotti said costs have risen in other areas, such as supplies, insurance and payroll. Consultants are asking higher salaries In a tight job market.

Camp Creek Run fees are $330 per week this summer, compared to $300 in 2019.

Camp Taunga, a 97-year-old non-profit Jewish summer camp located on 160 acres in the Stanislaus National Forest outside Yosemite National Park, offers summer camps and year-round programs.

Casey Cohen, the camp’s senior director of communications, said the most popular five-day to three-week summer camp programs are full.

“These programs were filled up at the end of last November for the summer of 2022, and the camp opened up waiting lists,” she said.

Its program fees are higher, too: In 2019, a two-week session at camp cost $4,065. Cohen said the same program in 2022 costs $4,850.

Almost all expenses are higher, said Camp Tawonga CEO Jamie Simon, which increases operating cost overall.

“As our fees go up, we are trying to balance this increase with our expanded financial assistance options,” Simon said. “We want to ensure that people can participate in Tawonga’s programs regardless of their financial status. To this end, we provide more than $750,000 a year in financial aid.”

Not every family can afford summer camp. The Salvation Army is one of several organizations that offer free camps.

The organization operates 43 sleepover camps and hundreds of day camps across the country for children ages 6 to 17, according to Salvation Army Commissioner Kenneth Hodder.

Parents are expected to pay 10% to 15% more this summer for campgrounds, according to the American Campground Association.  Pictured is Taunga Camp in the Stanislaus National Forest outside Yosemite National Park.

“These camps are important for families. Parents now are stressed at every step. And since schools are about to close, many don’t have the option to do their jobs remotely and must be at their day job,” he said.

Hodder said demand is up this year.

“80% of our campers don’t pay for the experience we provide, like learning a new skill like swimming, archery or crafts. We also provide campers with three meals a day. Many don’t get that in,” he said.

The Salvation Army relies on public donations to fund its week-long summer camps, which Hodder estimates to cost about $400 a week. “With inflation, it will cost a lot more this year, but that cost varies from place to place,” he said.

Hodder hopes that public donations will continue to help offset the high costs of running the camps.

“I worked at summer camps for eight summers,” Hodder said. “I was a dishwasher and a camp counsellor. I even met my wife at camp.” “These camps are vital for children, and families need to know they have a choice for their children.”