An Athens parent recently said to me, “The youth of our nation should never have to miss summer camp because they can’t afford to go.” I agree. So, who do you talk with if you need some financial assistance to send your child to a summer camp? Of course, the answer may vary depending on what type of camp you are interested in. But the easy answer to the question is … talk with everyone associated with the camp, and then talk with a few more people.
Here’s the list we put together after asking parents how they have tackled this issue:
- Family. Ask grandma and grandpa, aunts and uncles, especially if their children are grown up. They know the value of summer camps and might be thrilled to have an opportunity to help other children in their families have the same wonderful camp experience.
- Previous camp families. Parents of children who have attended the same camp in previous years will probably know if special pricing or scholarship programs exist. Don’t hesitate to ask; many of them have utilized these programs as well.
- Sponsoring organizations. Universities, high schools, YMCAs and other organizations often have ‘endowed’ scholarships. This means that benefactors have set up funds specifically to provide financial assistance to deserving youth. Criteria can range from financial need to demonstrated skill in one or more camp-related programs.
- Community foundations. Many communities or regions have funds earmarked for youth-related activities such as summer camp. Your city administrator can tell you how to reach your local community foundation executive director.
- Faith-based organizations. Many faith traditions have ‘youth ministry’ funds that can be tapped for financial assistance for sending children to camp. Check with the local leadership of your denomination to see how you might apply for scholarships.
- Camp directors and staff members. Camp staffers want children to participate, so their administrators can sometimes be the best source of information. They will know how every child/family has paid for camp, and they are always willing to share information that can help other children attend.
- Coaches and teachers. If your child wants to attend a camp that is subject-specific, such as sports, art or music, science, math, etc., check with the coaches and teachers of those subjects. They receive brochures year-round from camps and sponsoring organizations, and often will have not only the basic information but also application forms.
- Human services organizations. If your child has an intellectual, physical, neurological, psychological or other challenge, check with your service provider. If you do not currently work with an agency, contact your county department of human services.
A special section about Athens area summer camps is on pages 34-35 of this issue.
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